Formula 1 Racing

Sato leads strong showing by Ganassi on day one of Indy 500 practice

RC Enerson, Abel, Indianapolis, 2023

In the round-up: Two-times Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato led the times on the opening day of practice as Ganassi put in a strong showing.

In brief

Sato leads Indy 500 practice as Enerson completes rookie orientation

After rain tore up Tuesday’s schedule of two practice sessions, the 107th edition of the Indianapolis 500 finally got underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday with eight consecutive hours of track action.

The revised schedule had to accomodate some of Tuesday’s planned activities, meaning the first 75 minutes of practice was dedicated to installation laps for the IndyCar field, then straight after there were 105 minutes dedicated to rookie orientation. Having lapping at the required pace during that period, Abel Motorsports’ RC Enerson was then allowed to participate in the remaining five hours of practice that was open to all 34 drivers.

RC Enerson, Abel, Indianapolis, 2023
Enerson, who missed the earlier test, turned his first laps

Ganassi’s Scott Dixon went fastest almost straight away, immediately beating the benchmark practice pace from 2022 before boost levels were introduced in later sessions. He remained on top for almost three-and-a-half hours before team mate Sato went fastest by 0.0453 seconds, setting a lap in 369.246278kph (229.439mph).

Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson completed a top four of Ganassi’s Honda-powered cars, which was eventually broken with just over half an hour to go by Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian). Santino Ferrucci (AJ Foyt Racing) went third fastest and 0.0792s off Sato ten minutes later as temperatures lowered, making him the top Chevrolet-powered driver.

Callum Ilott had a tough day for Juncos Hollinger, a second off the pace in 34th and last place. Only the top 33 drivers will secure places on the grid when qualifying takes place this weekend.

Rahal’s IndyCar future may lie beyond his father’s team

Graham Rahal prompted speculation over his IndyCar future, having now gone almost six years without a win with his father Bobby’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team.

“Do I see myself leaving at the end of the year? When my deal is up, do I see myself retiring? No, I don’t. But I’m also not going to sit here and not run up front when I know I can compete with those guys. And I don’t say that arrogantly or with over-confidence,” Rahal said on Tuesday.

“I don’t want to sit here and keep running around in 20th. That’s not a selfish thing, it’s actually the opposite because for me eventually…

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