For the third time during the weekend of testing at ISM Raceway, Takuma Sato led the way in his No. 15 Mijack Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Given that teammate Graham Rahal was fastest during Friday night practice as well, it means that the RLL duo swept the weekend for the Bobby Rahal led team, with one of their drivers going fastest in each session.
Sato’s best lap came in at 189.855 mph, eclipsing his speed from afternoon practice to set the fastest lap of the weekend. He also completed the most laps – 158 – of all 22 drivers who took to the track on Saturday night.
“Wrap up today’s open test, very successful I would say,” Sato asserted in a video posted on RLL’s twitter page. “Lots of things to learn and lots of things that we tried, and I think over the course of two days we learned a lot. A great car, definitely more exercise for the driver, definitely busier (with) low downforce. But, we (completed) qualifying sims, race traffic runs. I think the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team is really strong.”
Behind Sato was Team Penske’s Will Power, who mirrored his performance from Saturday afternoon practice to put his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet in second.
Tony Kanaan put his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing in third, with defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden putting his No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet in fourth for Team Penske. Fifth went to Marco Andretti in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport.
The Saturday night session saw four incidents that brought out caution periods, ending a string of remarkably clean running across the two days of testing. One incident was for Scott Dixon, who drifted high exiting Turn 2 in the final 30 minutes of running. His No. 9 PNC Bank Honda eventually made contact with the wall, enough to damage the car and force Dixon to stop on the track. He climbed from the car unhurt, though he was finished for the session.
The other three incidents were for A.J. Foyt Racing driver Matheus Leist, who drifted high first in Turns 1 and 2 and then two more times in Turns 3 and 4. On all three occasions, Leist made light contact with the wall, but did not incur significant, if any damage, during any of the incidents.
Results for the Saturday night session, the final one of the weekend at ISM Raceway, can be found here.