Takuma Sato led the Honda-powered field in qualifying Saturday for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and will start on the outside of the front row, second, in Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series season opener on the downtown street circuit.
After leading the final practice session prior to qualifying, Sato advanced through the first two rounds of “knockout” qualifying to the final “Fast Six” session, but was edged in the final round with a new lap record run by last year’s pole qualifier, Will Power.
Making his IndyCar debut for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 2012 Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier also made it through to final qualifying, and will start sixth; while former series champion and St. Petersburg race winner Dario Franchitti rounded out the top-10 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Sunday’s 110-lap Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will start at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Takuma Sato (Driver, #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara) qualified 2nd for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: “This is a great result for us. I’m really proud of the whole team, not just for the work we’ve done this weekend, but for the preparations we made all winter long. I tried everything I could, and so did the team. We have good balance on both types of tires [primary “blacks” and the softer “reds”] and a good Honda engine, so I think we’re ready for the race.”