Race Report: Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Race 2
DETROIT June 1, 2014—IndyCar race or bumper car race?
For Takuma Sato, Race 2 of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix was more of the latter. Twice he was punted from behind as he was making his way through the field. The pole winner took off at the start and was cruising when the race was slowed by two full course yellows – the first coming on lap one and the second on lap 10.
With the second yellow, the team decided to pit Sato to get him off of the softer compound alternate tires which were showing wear early. He lost a several spots due to stopping long in the pit box but the team still got him out in 10.3 seconds.
Due to the full course cautions, several fuel strategies were in play. He worked his way back to third before having to pit on lap 30. The ABC crew serviced him in 7.1 seconds, but he dropped from third to 13th as the different fuel strategies surfaced. On lap 35, he was overtaking Jack Hawksworth (who had just exited the pits) when Ryan Briscoe tried to make it three wide by going up the middle in Turn 3 and punting Sato into a spin. Sato never stalled but he lost six spots and a lot of track position.
Although furious that Briscoe wasn’t penalized for avoidable contact, Sato maintained his composure and soldiered on. He pitted 11 laps later and the ABC crew turned in a 6.79-second stop which allowed Sato to gain a spot on the track and move into 15th as cars began pitting. By lap 49, he was in 12th and again chasing Bourdais. He moved into 11th on lap 59 when Bourdais hit the wall which brought out another full course caution.