IndyCar Series 2012
After running near the front of the IZOD IndyCar Series field throughout the early season – but with scant reward – Takuma Sato led the Honda-powered field Sunday with a third-place finish at the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Starting on the back row of the grid after missing qualifying Saturday due to an engine change, Sato also received a drive-through penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit during his first stop. As a result, he was still only in 20th place after 25 of the scheduled 75 race laps.
But excellent strategy by his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team and several opportunistic passes moved Sato up the order to eighth place on Lap 56, and fifth with just 10 laps to go. On the final Lap 71 restart, Sato got the jump on both third-place Dario Franchitti and fourth-running Helio Castroneves, passing them both with a single move that netted the Japanese driver his best finish of 2012.
For his part, Franchitti survived a hit from behind that spun the defending series champion out of second place on a Lap 26 restart. Falling to the rear of the field, Franchitti and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team also used a mix of strategy and speed to move into third place before the final restart, and a fifth-place finish at the checkers.
Teammate Scott Dixon ran near the front of the field throughout the first 50 laps, and then led eight laps before a late-race stop for fuel dropped him down the order. Along with several other Honda-powered drivers, he was caught up in a multi-car crash on Lap 67 that dropped him a lap off the lead pace and resulted in an unrepresentative 17th-place finish.
Charlie Kimball had his best result of 2012, and second top-ten result of the season, with an eighth-place run in his Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-Dallara. Josef Newgarden had the consolation of running up front early and setting fastest race lap, before being one of several Honda-powered drivers caught up in collisions today. Simon Pagenaud, Mike Conway, Graham Rahal and James Jakes all had potential top-10 finishes spoiled by contact.
After four road races to start the 2012 season, the IZOD IndyCar Series now returns home to the U.S. for the season’s signature event: the Indianapolis 500.
|1||Will Power (Team Penske)|
|2||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)|
|3||Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)|
|4||Helio Castroneves (Team Penske)|
|5||Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|6||James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport)|
|7||JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing)|
|8||Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|9||E.J. Viso (KV Racing Technology)|
|10||Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology)|
|12||Simon Pagenaud-R (Sam Schmidt Motorsports)|
|15||James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|16||Graham Rahal (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|17||Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|19||Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|22||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|23||Josef Newgarden-R (Sarah Fisher Hartman)|