Apr 19, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Takuma Sato has not perhaps gotten the credit he’s deserved for his fast start to the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season with A.J. Foyt Racing.
With a front row start in St. Petersburg and what would have been a second straight Firestone Fast Six appearance in Barber, before a penalty for blocking, Sato’s been one of the quickest drivers to start the year.
There’s still more room for improvement, though, he admits.
“We’re all pushing the max all the time,” he said Thursday. “It’s good the field is so competitive. The team is finding extra bits, and going to the limit. It shows we are really pushing each other.”
On paper, the combination of the legendary Texan owner and the diminutive veteran Japanese driver seems the “odd couple,” but Sato and team have gelled well.
“We have had good integration from the first test at Sebring, which was very successful,” Sato said. “We built our relationship. It’s been very smooth at St. Pete. After then we knew what to do better, because the speed was there.”
A year ago in Long Beach, Sato was on course for his first career podium in IndyCar before contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay on the final lap. With a good street course package, Sato looks to complete the deal this weekend.
“It’s just faster now, and we like it,” Sato said of Firestone’s 2013 tire compounds. “There is some little construction change, and a balance shift we have to accommodate. We find good pace on them and still looking for extra pace from tests. We just need to make sure there is no bad luck happening and compete really well!”
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