21 April 2013
IndyCar Long Beach 2013: Sato makes history with maiden win
"We had a good race going and I was set for a fifth-place finish until Servia took me out with half a lap to go," said Kanaan. "It's really frustrating ... I was the leading Chevy car out there and it was looking like a good points race for us. I'm really disappointed on how it turned out."
"With two laps to go, I had a run on Tony," explained Servia. "I was on the push to pass, I don't think he saw me coming. I got in his inside and he closed the door. I was there. I cannot disappear!"
Servià initially had 30 seconds added to his final race time for causing the crash, dropping him from sixth to 18th place in the final results - a very costly penalty indeed - but this was rescinded after the team appealed the decision, with Servia vehement that he hadn't been to blame and that the clash didn't merit a penalty.
"It was one of those deals where you both want the same space in the corner so you crash," he said. "I'm angry with him, he's angry with me. That's what happens in racing."
Despite Kanaan's parlous position stuck in the tyre wall, the race director opted to keep the yellows limited to a local caution for just long enough to put Sato onto the final lap. When the full course caution did come out it confirmed Sato's maiden IZOD IndyCar Series victory over Rahal by a nominal 5.3612s, with Wilson in third making it the first all-Honda podium since last June at Detroit.
Team manager Larry Foyt praised Sato's perfect drive while lamenting that his father, motor racing icon AJ Foyt, wasn't able to be present at Long Beach to see the team's first win in almost 11 years as the 78-year-old was at home in Texas preparing to undergo surgery for ongoing problems with sciatica.
"I wish he was here, we hate it because he is definitely our big leader and he is the big boss man. This is for him," said Foyt. "Takuma made it look too easy. It made me so nervous watching it out there. He just drove a flawless race - I've never seen a race like that, just a perfect race. And the car was great, the engineers did a great set up - and what a pit crew!"
AJ's absence didn't dampen the celebrations in victory lane one bit, however, as the team celebrated Sato rewarding Foyt's faith signing him as the team's lead driver. In the process he'd become the first Japanese driver to win a race in the US open wheel series. "Just fantastic," said Sato afterwards. "An incredible feeling ... Put it this way, it was an easy win," he added, praising the car which had been perfect to drive all afternoon.
"It was just a perfect weekend to be honest. The team did a tremendous job. Pit stops, right calls, the power was great and I was comfortable in the car and able to push everything," he added.
Previously runner up at Edmonton in 2012, Sato has also come tantalisingly close to winning in 2011 at Sao Paulo and memorably last year in the Indy 500 when he wrecked at the start of the final lap while challenging Dario Franchitti for the lead. As luck happens these are the next two venues on the calendar over the coming month.
Tagged as: James Hinchcliffe , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Dario Franchitti , Graham Rahal , A.J. Allmendinger , Justin Wilson , Will Power , Mike Conway , Sebastian Saavedra , Takuma Sato , AJ Foyt , Long Beach , tony kanaan , Tristan Vautier , Oriol Servià
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