Qualifying Report – Grand Prix of Baltimore
BALTIMORE Aug. 31, 2013—Takuma Sato will start 10th in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT; it is his best start in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda since qualifying seventh at Pocono in July.
Had there not been a red flag with just two minutes to go when Sato was about to put down his best lap of the day, he might have made it into the Firestone Fast Six. As it was, Sato’s quick lap in the first round of qualifying (93.741 mph) was the third quickest lap overall in all of the qualifying sessions which bodes well for the race.
"We had a difficult morning session but we made a good recovery in qualifying,” Sato said. “The ABC car is working well, it's a shame our second segment was stopped by a red flag just as we were going for our best lap. In the end, finishing in the top 10 is not too bad. Hopefully we'll find more performance in the morning practice and have a good race tomorrow."
The red flag was brought out by Graham Rahal’s slide into the tire barrier in Turn 8 where he was joined by rookie Tristan Vautier moments later. The penalty for causing a red flag is losing your two quickest laps, which sent Rahal to last in the group of 12 in Round 2, and bumped everyone behind him up one spot, including eventual pole winner Scott Dixon.
“I think the potential was there to be even better and we got caught out by the red flag, an untimely red flag,” said Larry Foyt. “I think if Takuma could have had one more lap, he had a good chance to make the fast six. But it’s good to be starting towards the front of the grid, we can definitely show well and maybe win the race from 10th place. It’s a tough race track to pass on and I’m sure there will be some tricky restarts but Takuma has been pretty good at them all year."
Dixon won the pole with a speed of 94.053 mph. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were: Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Justin Wilson, Josef Newgarden and Tristan Vautier.
There is a 30-minute warmup Sunday morning. The 75-lap race will be broadcast live starting at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.