INDIANAPOLIS – Takuma Sato received a lot of grief following a five car melee on the opening lap of Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway. See, Sato was at the center of the controversy as most pointed to him as the one that sparked a frightening crash that saw Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Felix Rosenqvist and himself collected.
Sato, ended up upside down and Rosenqvist partially skating the fence in Turn 2. The blame went towards Sato as they all said that the dangerous crash could have been avoided if Sato didn’t come down on Rossi.
But, Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing issued a rare statement on Tuesday evening showing that they stand behind their driver and that they have proof that Sato didn’t come down on Rossi.
“Following the events on Lap 1 of Sunday’s INDYCAR race at Pocono Raceway, we are relieved that all drivers emerged unhurt from the crash,” the statement read. “Normally in a situation of this nature it is not necessary for a team to comment but following the accusations levied at Takuma (Sato) and after reviewing Takuma’s onboard data and camera, we feel that a clarification is necessary. The data and video clearly shows that Takuma did not turn down the track into Alexander (Rossi) in this incident and in fact the first steering wheel movement made by Takuma was to the right, as he tried to correct his car after the initial contact.
“This sort of accident is part and parcel of this type of racing and with track position being vital at every stage of each race is, in our view, a part of the sport. It’s a racing incident and we as a team wish to publicly state that we stand behind our drivers and have absolute faith in their ability to race and perform at the highest level for RLL.
“This was a racing incident which unfortunately may have some championship implications. A crash at Pocono impacted our title aspirations in 2015 while second in the standings so we know the frustration drivers and teams experienced. As always, we are thankful for the quick response of the AMR Safety Team.”