SATO RUNS STRONG ROOKIE RACE SUNDAY IN INDY 500 FOR LOTUS AND KV RACING TECHNOLOGY Pit Problem Halts Sato's Charge to the Top Ten SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 30, 2010) -- Takuma Sato was impressive Sunday in his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in one of...
SATO RUNS STRONG ROOKIE RACE SUNDAY IN INDY 500 FOR LOTUS AND KV RACING TECHNOLOGY
Pit Problem Halts Sato's Charge to the Top Ten
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 30, 2010) -- Takuma Sato was impressive Sunday in his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in one of the hottest Brickyard races in history.
Sato, the rookie driver of the No. 5 Lotus -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine, drove from 31st starting position to as high as sixth in his first appearance on the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval. The air temperature was as high as 97 degrees Sunday with the track surface over 130.
The Japanese driving star had placed third in the US Grand Prix Formula One event on the 2.6-mile Indy road circuit in 2004 but this was his initial showing on the legendary Indy oval. Sato was in his second oval race Sunday as he passed some 20 cars by the halfway point.
On lap 107, Sato was scored in 11th spot when he suffered a pit problem. Due to the difficulty, Sato was issued a penalty that cost him a lap on the track.
He fought back from 28th to 20th at the finish. The Lotus-sponsored driver was the third highest finishing rookie in the 200-lap event.
E.J. Viso, driving the No. 8 PDVSA--KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry, experienced a tough day after high optimism on Carb Day. Viso, the popular Venezuela driver, was sixth fastest on Friday's final practice but his mount didn't handle the same on Sunday. He started 19th and scored as high as 16th before suspension problems on lap 139 forced him to retire his machine.
Mario Moraes, who started 13th in the No. 32 GEICO -- Curb Records -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, was expected to be a contender Sunday after a strong week of practice and qualifying. But an early brush of the wall took his machine to the garage for repairs. He finished 31st after 17 laps.
KV Racing Technology will perform a quick turnaround of the three cars this week at its Indianapolis headquarters before heading to the Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Firestone 550 on the fast 1.5-mile tri-oval north of Ft. Worth.
TAKUMA SATO, #5 LOTUS - KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "This was definitely some experience for me today. We moved up close to the top-ten in the middle of the race. Then we had a problem on a pit stop and we received a penalty. Due to that penalty, we got behind a lap and we could not make it up. The race was very long and there were a lot of difficult situations. I do feel good about finishing the entire race and I learned a lot. The Indy 500 is just a spectacular event. The Lotus -- KV Racing Technology team worked very hard all month and we had a great experience racing here."
E.J. VISO, #5 PDVSA - KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "The conditions were very hard today. We tried a lot of things to get the car right, but the car was just too loose most of the time. Early in the race, John Andretti forced me down into the grass. I had no place to go. That was wild. The heat had a lot to do with the track conditions today. I thought we had a good car going into the race after Carb Day. It felt very good then. But today the car just wasn't handling like on Friday. I clipped the wall on my last lap (139), so I came in. I didn't want to crash. It wasn't the way I want to finish today."
MARIO MORAES, #32 GEICO -- CURB RECORDS - KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "Unfortunately, we had the same problem in the race that we had on Carb Day. It is a shame for me and our KV Racing Technology team. We worked so hard this month. We had a great car up until Carb Day and then something happened with the car. Our team tried to fix it in the garage but it was best to park the car than have the problem continue. We will plan to run better at Texas."