Sato Excels In The Rain For IndyCar Pole
“I made sure that the 27 crew has our work cut out for us, that’s for sure,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’m really mad at myself. Conditions were obviously tricky, but I just lost it. It’s a real shame because the guys have done such a good job, we were quick in the dry, quick in the wet until my spin, the United Fiber & Data Honda deserved to be higher up today. But when the going gets tough, the tough get it done anyway. We’ve got the pace so hopefully some good strategy will see us come good tomorrow.”
Dixon begins his quest for a fourth IndyCar Series title on a track where he has often struggled.
“It’s been a tough place for me here,” Dixon said. “I think the qualifying today, it was a lot of fun actually with changing conditions and trying to time things right. Q2, we had to really string it together on that last lap. That got us in. Q3 we went out on old, put in a lap, then came in and switched over.
“I think kind of best timing for us might have been when T.K. was off in one, so we had to slow down on that lap. Whether that made any difference or not, I don’t know.
“It was a good comeback for the Target team, T.K. starting on the front row, we’re on the inside of the third row. Considering how the weekend has been going, I think we’ve made some good improvements. Hopefully we race a little bit better.”
After spending hours watching the weather pour buckets of rain many of the drivers were convinced the session would be rained out – but not one of the drivers that lives in Florida.
“That’s Florida weather,” said Hunter-Reay, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. “One thing about Florida weather: as soon as it does one thing it’s going a change. I thought they were going to cancel it, but glad they didn’t.”
And Sato is glad it wasn’t canceled either because the starting lineup would have been determined off last year’s points standings and he would have been mired back in mid-pack.
“I think it’s great,” Sato said. “We had a great season to start last year. The second half of the season was a lot of unfortunate problems and troubles. Everybody caught up. We were on the lower side of development through the season. We had a tough time together.
“But I think all the members in the team never doubted, and we should have ability to win the race. Indeed we did at Long Beach. We trust ourselves, believe ourselves, try working on the issues or address the things that we think we have some weak point, and then just continue working.
“That’s one of the great things over the course of the winter, the team member is no changing. 100 percent we have same members, same engineers. Everybody working really hard. Obviously the regulations changed now. Honda has a twin turbo for the first time. HPD did a great job. Because of that we had more testing going compared to last year. Last year my first test was the end of February with the team. So it’s a very short time to be preparation.
“But this year really the winter testing started from December, so effectively more than two months ahead of what we were last year. We know what we doing through the season and we review a lot. Hopefully we have a good consistency as well as competitiveness through the second half of the season.
“To be start from the front row in the new season, that’s obviously the best way to start, so I’m very, very pleased.”