On his 18th and final lap of the session, Graham Rahal went to the top of the time sheets in this morning’s warmup before the Sao Paulo Indy 300 (11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network/NBC Sports Live Extra) with a lap of 1 minute, 21.2494 seconds in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. If there are no late penalties to alter the starting grid, Rahal is expected to start from 19th position in today’s race.
Front row starter E.J. Viso continued to show speed in the 30-minute warmup, going P2 with a time of 1 minute, 21.2920 seconds in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet. Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was third-fastest (1 minute, 21.3284 seconds), followed by Panther Racing’s J.R. Hildebrand in fourth (1 minute, 21.3911 seconds) and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden in fifth (1 minute, 21.4902 seconds).
Amongst the other notables: Three-time defending Sao Paulo champion Will Power was sixth-fastest, Long Beach winner Takuma Sato was 18th, and today’s pole sitter, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was 22nd.
James Jakes warmed up in a backup No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda after his primary entry caught fire during yesterday’s qualifying session. Per Patrick Stephan of Trackside Online and the IMS Radio Network, Jakes’ issues on Saturday were caused by a cracked exhaust header, which led to the fire damaging some of the bodywork on the car.
However, the original engine survived the ordeal intact, so while the Englishman is in a new machine, he won’t be subjected to any grid penalties.
Watch today’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 online and on your mobile device.
Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.
Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.
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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.
Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.