Takuma Sato, RLL, IndyCar, Barber Motorsport Park, 2019

Sato thrilled by first “pole to win” drive in 18 years


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Takuma Sato described his IndyCar victory at Barber Motorsport Park yesterday as particularly special because it was his first win from pole in the series.

The former Formula 1 driver controlled proceedings at the Alabama track, leading 74 of the 90 laps on the way to the fourth victory of his 10-year IndyCar career.

The 42-year-old, who scored the biggest victory of his career in the Indianapolis 500 two years ago, said his latest win was also significant among his past successes.

“Every single win is so special and you can’t really directly compare here to there,” said Sato in response to a question from RaceFans. “Of course the Indy 500 win, no doubt about it, it is significant.

“But today [from] my whole career I think this was such an exciting win because what I’ve done, from pole to win, I have to go back to the British Formula Three back in 2001.”

Sato last won from pole position in the final round of his title-winning 2001 British F3 championship at Silverstone.

“Since then of course I won [at] Long Beach, other races, got a pole eight times,” he continued. “But the last seven races I don’t think I won it from the pole position.”

“To be able to nail it from pole to win is such a special feeling,” Sato added. “Obviously I was calm, not the most exciting race perhaps, in a good meaning, but I take this as very special. Especially my first career road course pole position in the IndyCar Series.

“And bear in mind, this is officially my first IndyCar test track back 10 years ago, back in 2010. So it took long to come to here, but that is why to me it’s a special story, special memory, and this is definitely one of my greatest ever wins.”

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Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Sato thrilled by first “pole to win” drive in 18 years”

  1. José Lopes da Silva
    8th April 2019, 11:46

    And such a cool track… way to go, Takuma!

    1. I hadn’t realised how European this track was until I saw the race yesterday! Looks a lot of fun, and could have been anywhere in Germany/Belgium/France!

  2. I just want to live to see Heidfeld win a race…. Great job Takuma.

    1. I agree with everything you said, and your user name

  3. Goes to show age isn’t much of a problem in top level motorsport, as long as you have a good car. My man kubica is 34, but has a bad car. Raikonnen is going well at 40. Wasn’t Mansell considering another f1 comeback at 44 or 45?

  4. And I was going to add, indycar is quick enough to be very similar to the demands of f1 physically, but drivers don’t have to do so much travel like in f1 so is more tolerable.

  5. This track seemed to be incredibly hard for the drivers with very few straights, in an interview before the race Marcus said that even the 12 practice laps were exhausting, and he is probably among the fittest in the line up. Without power steering they seem to be tougher to the upper body strength and stamina compared to F1, but G forces are lower then of course. Loved the track, i wish all tracks were like this, not forgiving at all outside of track limits(grass and gravel, not walls or asphalt) and with a nice scenery and elevation changes, tilke must really hate this track though :). There were plenty of overtakes, even though it was said to be a hard track for that.

    1. Loved the track, i wish all tracks were like this, not forgiving at all outside of track limits(grass and gravel, not walls or asphalt)

      @maisch Couldn’t agree more. And to think, it was originally designed as a track for motorcycle racing!

  6. “….. in response to a question from RaceFans.” the above is a blatant lie

    1. No it isn’t – the question was asked by Josh who was there on our behalf.

  7. Great to see an aggressive Marcus, starting from 20 and end up at P7. Finally!

    1. @freguz second race i row with a very impressive climb up the field, great passes to see!

      Have to mention Newgarden aswell, who also made a heroic climb up the ranks..

  8. Gavin Campbell
    8th April 2019, 13:21

    Was one of those that doesn’t sound like a good race but it was on paper.

    Some good pit stop work, different strategies, on-track overtaking. It worked well because people ended up doing 2,3 or 4 pit stops and it was difficult to overtake so they have to do some brave passing to make it all work.

    Good win for Sato – his one last year was a little streaky. It was also good that they allowed the pits to stay open for everyone to come in although it was a little surprising considering Chilton was punted off into the barriers on pit entrance. I wouldn’t of blamed race control at all if they threw a yellow and closed the pits at that point.

  9. Marcus Ericsson advanced 13 places to 7th

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