Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2012:8. Takuma Sato

Birthplace: Tokyo, JapanBirthdate: January 28, 1977Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing2012 starts: 15Poles: 0Wins: 0Top 5: 2Top 10: 5Championship points: 281Championship position: IndyCar Driver of 2011 position: 15th

After years of finding innovative ways of crashing out of races in various championships, Takuma Sato has been on the verge of a real breakthrough in the past couple of years and it's great to see voters recognise that with a big hike in his Driver of the Year standing in 2012.

Last year he became the first Japanese driver to claim a pole position in IndyCar (and he did it a second time to show it was no fluke.) This year he moved to Rahal Letterman Lanigan and got his best race results in the series to date, with third place in Sao Paulo soon eclipsed by the runners-up spot in Edmonton.

But an outright win still eluded him, with his best chance coming in the biggest race of the year. He went into the final lap of the Indianapolis 500 battling for the lead with Dario Franchitti, but ended up in the outside wall as the Scot went on to claim victory. If things had gone differently then our view of Sato would have been transformed overnight, but maybe he'll pull it off in 2013?

Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2012 results so far:8. Takuma Sato9. Justin Wilson10. Dario Franchitti



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