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"Qualifying was difficult because this morning we didn’t have a chance to see how the car was overnight due to the fog that cancelled the session," said Sato. "We went straight into qualifying without running at speed today, and it looks like the red alternate Firestone tires have great grip but a short life so you have to get your quick lap time done within two laps.Once I was on track and up to speed, unfortunately on my first lap I caught traffic and that was it.The balance wasn’t great but I think we would have been able to go to Round 2 so I am extremely disappointed because this track is very difficult to overtake on. Tomorrow’s warm-up will be very important to see how both the red and primary black tires effect because it looks like managing the tires correctly will be a key factor in the race.”
“It was a very productive day," said Sato. "After the test here in late February we came back with a much better understanding. Today the conditions were a lot warmer than in February so the car responded different.I was reasonably happy with the balance and hoped that we could improve in the afternoon but unfortunately it rained during the second session and we only ran a couple of laps. We made some changes to the car between sessions and although it was wet conditions, it felt better so I hope we have a strong package tomorrow.”
The 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will mark the first IndyCar Series race for the team at BarberMotorsportsPark. It will be Takuma Sato’s third event at the track.In his first race here in 2010, he progressed to the Firestone Fast Six round with a sixth place qualifying position and finished 25th after an incident in Turn 13 hindered his result.In 2011 he qualified 11th and finished 16th.
“It was an exciting race!" said Sato. "I’m very pleased to put the Rahal Letterman Lanigan car in that position for their return to IndyCar and it was something I never imagined would happen today; especially after struggling in the practice sessions.But we made a good improvement in the warm-up today. It was damp conditions so it was hard to know just how good the car was but it did feel good; I was comfortable. I really enjoyed racing today, battling through the field to come up to the front.Every restart there was lots of overtaking and the guys did a great job and made a good call. I am so disappointed that we had a mechanical failure and couldn’t get the resulted we worked hard for.But, it was encouraging though.”
“We made progress after the practice this morning and found some things to improve the handling of the car but we weren’t able to go to the next stage of qualifying which is disappointing," said Sato. "The race will be interesting because it will be the first time competing together with the new racing package. We will gather data tonight to give us an idea of what to expect in race trim and will know more at the warm-up.”
“It was the first day of the season and basically it was a trouble-free day which is very important," said Sato. "We collected as much data as possible and had a long list of things to do today but the learning process was quite good.It was good to see the boys able to work on pit stops in a race environment for the first time too. We will continue to work hard tomorrow.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will begin their 21st consecutive season of competition in 2012. This season marks the team’s return to fulltime participation in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the first time since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay drove for the team and finished the season ranked eighth after a win in Watkins Glen. The team entered cars in the Indy 500 each year since then and will prepare the No. 15 entry for a full season of competition for Japanese driver Takuma Sato in 2012.
Sebring, 17th March 2012. BMW Team RLL had an excellent start to the 2012 American Le Mans Series season. At the 60th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring (US) the no. 56 BMW M3 GT claimed overall victory in the GT class after 307 laps of the “Sebring International Raceway” and a dramatic final stage of the race.
Sebring, 16th March 2012. BMW Team RLL completed the first qualifying session of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Sebring (US) today. Joey Hand (US), at the wheel of the no. 56 BMW M3 GT, set the third-fastest time of 1:59.776 minutes in the ALMS GT category. Jörg Müller (DE) came sixth in the number 155 car. Pole position in the ALMS GT field went to Chevrolet’s Jan Magnussen(DK) in a time of 1:58.996 minutes.
BMW Team RLL launches the defence of its titles in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at the 12 Hours of Sebring (US) this Saturday. The “Sebring International Raceway” is the oldest circuit in North America and this year hosts the spectacular endurance race for the 60th time.