Rahal Letterman Lanigan to run 3rd car for Indy

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan will add a third car for the Indianapolis 500 alongside full-time drivers Graham Rahal and James Jakes (pictured).

“The driver and the sponsor are to be announced,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal told Autoweek last Friday at Barber Motorsports Park. “But we’ll have three.”

Last year at Indy, RLL ran a second car for Michel Jourdain, Jr., who drove for Rahal as a Champ Car full-timer from 2002-2004. The Mexican racer finished 19th in his first “500” since 1996, and if the rumblings are correct, he may be a prime candidate for another run at the Brickyard with RLL this May.

According to Autosport‘s Mark Glendenning, Rahal’s move for an Indy-only program would make his squad the fourth to commit to one for this year’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Conor Daly has signed on for the “500” at A.J. Foyt Racing, while Firestone Indy Lights driver Carlos Munoz will be in a fifth Andretti Autosport ride. In addition, Ryan Briscoe is expected to do a one-off at IMS with Chip Ganassi Racing.

RLL will field a third car for England’s Mike Conway at the next IZOD IndyCar Series race on the streets of Long Beach, California (Apr. 21, 4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.