IndyCar Series 2013
In an epic battle, Honda-powered Takuma Sato fought tooth-and-nail with fellow Honda driver Josef Newgarden and Chevy’s James Hinchcliffe, with only a last-lap, last-turn pass by Hinchcliffe preventing Sato from winning his second consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series race Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Starting 12th, Sato took advantage of continued excellent pit work from his A.J. Foyt Racing team, jumping from 10th to fourth among the “in sequence” group that pitted on Lap 21. That became an actual fourth on the race track when the out-of-sequence runners pitted just 10 laps later. Passes of local favorite Tony Kanaan and defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay put Sato in the lead, as the Japanese driver sought to follow up his Long Beach victory two weeks ago with a second consecutive win.
Electing to pit out of the lead on Lap 36, Sato then committed to running the remaining 39 laps on a single set of soft compound “red” tires, making just a quick final pit stop under caution on Lap 51 to topoff his fuel supply. Resuming in fourth place on the Lap 54 restart, Sato quickly passed both Marco Andretti and Hinchcliffe, then took over at the front when leader JR Hildebrand pitted.
Starting last in the 25-car field after mechanical problems in practice on Saturday, Newgarden took his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda through the field, going “out of sequence” and pitting on Lap 6 during an early caution, and making the strategy pay off as he emerged in second place behind Sato when the green flag waved for the final time on Lap 59.
Matching Sato move for move while searching for his first IndyCar win, Newgarden repeatedly challenged the leader around the 2.54-mile Sao Paulo street circuit while Simon Pagenaud, running third for Honda in his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports machine, faded to a ninth-place finish with handling issues.
As Pagenaud dropped back, both Hinchcliffe and Andretti closed on the leaders, with the first four cars taking the white flag side-by-side and nose-to-tail. As the quartet headed into the final hairpin corner, Hinchcliffe moved to the outside of Sato, then ducked inside in a classic “over/under” pass to claim the victory by just over three-tenths of a second. At the same time, Newgarden was unintentionally caught out in the last-turn shuffle, and dropped to an unrepresentative fifth at the checkers, still the best career finish for the second-year IndyCar racer.
After four road and street-circuit races to start the 2013 season, the IZOD IndyCar Series now returns to the U.S. for the season’s signature event: the Indianapolis 500, where Honda will be seeking its 10thconsecutive victory. Practice gets underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Opening Day on Saturday, May 11. The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26.
|1||James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport)|
|2||Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|3||Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport)|
|4||Oriol Servia (DRR Panther Racing)|
|5||Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman)|
|6||E.J. Viso (Andretti Autosport)|
|7||Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|8||Simona de Silvestro (KV Racing Technology)|
|9||Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton)|
|10||Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|12||Alex Tagliani (Barracuda Racing/BHA)|
|16||Tristan Vautier-R (Schmidt Peterson)|
|17||James Jakes (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)|
|18||Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi)|
|19||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|22||Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)|
|25||Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing)|