TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It is a fantastic result. I am very pleased for the team and very proud of our effort today. It wasn’t an easy race. Tagliani made a great start and I was in fourth but then I overtook Ryan (Briscoe) in the hairpin and settled in third which was great. The first and second stint was all about saving fuel but driving as fast as possible. It was a very controlled race for us.

Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda

Photo by: Covy Moore

"I had a great battle with Dario. I could see he was pushing really hard and sliding. You could slide. I had an opportunity and overtook him which was great. The last stint was very exciting. We had a battle with (Alex) Tagliani and then Helio. I had to go as fast as I could; I pushed as much as I could and tried to get an opportunity to pass Helio but it was just not quite there yet. I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the push to pass. I used it bit by bit, but also he’s reacting all the time the last few laps and he used it every single straight. It was very difficult to catch him. Once we were very close, but it was not close enough to make a maneuver.

"After May we had some difficult races and came back very strong and made good progress and shall keep our head down and do the job for the next four races which will be very exciting. I’m very happy for second place today.”

This was Sato’s third race in Edmonton. He started third and briefly ran fourth on the opening lap but regained third when he passed Briscoe and held the position until his first stop on Lap 26 of 75. Eventual winner Castroneves passed Sato in the pits and Sato ran fourth until he passed Franchitti on Lap 36 for third. He passed Tagliani for second after the final pit stop on Lap 52 and proceeded to close a 3.2-second gap to race leader Castroneves to 0.5 seconds by the end of the race but was unable to get close enough to make a pass. He took the checkered flag in second place for his best series finish to date.

BOBBY RAHAL, Team co-owner: “Takuma did a very good job and the whole team did a good job. It just shows you that if we can help him in the races, the guy has got the speed. It’s just a matter of us collectively understanding the flow of the race. The pit stops were good, he drove well and we’re obviously very pleased with the outcome. It looked to me like Helio was a little stronger than we were under braking. Either he was able to put the power down a little bit better, or something, to gap us enough that we couldn’t really get close enough on the straight. It was a great battle though.”

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engineer for Sato: “Whilst it’s disappointing that we still haven’t managed to be the first to take the checkered flag, I think there are a lot of positives that we can take from the race today. Everything went very smoothly from the pit wall. Our pit stops were better than we’ve seen in previous races and I was happy in terms of the performance of the prime and option tire. Clearly everybody was running to fuel targets in the first two stints and Takuma did a very, very good job certainly in the first stint following Dario and going as long as Dario, stopping at the end of Lap 26. I think we could not have asked any more from Takuma; he did a very good job today. We just weren’t quite quick enough to make a pass on Castroneves and make it stick but we can be very proud as a team today.”

Source: RLLR