Sato soaks up home pressure

BAR ace Takuma Sato made his first public appearance of the week in Japan with a promotional tour of Tokyo on Monday - as he vowed to harness the massive local interest to fire him to a podium at Suzuka on Sunday

Sato soaks up home pressure

The Japanese ace is expecting the busiest week of his season with his fans whipped up into a state of delirium about their new hero - and his hectic schedule kicked off on Monday with media interviews, photo opportunities and television appearances.

Sato admits that the interest in him cannot but help affect his build-up to the weekend - but he is determined to use the attention as a positive rather than let it affect his performances on the track.

"Obviously I have to do a lot of PR activities and interviews before the race weekend and sometimes it is difficult to fit that into my training schedule," said Sato. "But the team are very good at making sure I have a good balance between doing the interviews that I have to do and ensuring that I still have time for my training and physical conditioning, so it doesn't really worry me too much. It's just really busy."

When asked whether the attention affected his focus, he said: "Not really. There's a bit of extra pressure but there's also a lot of extra energy as well. You really feel how positive the atmosphere is, not only for me but also for the whole team."

Although Ferrari is favourite for victory in Japan, a new 'Suzuka Special' engine from Honda which is set to give it a 30bhp step and aerodynamic improvements to the BAR006 should give Sato a shout of challenging for best of the rest.

"I've had a great result in Japan so far and with the package we have this year, we should be strong again," said Sato, who has finished in the points on both his appearances at Suzuka. "We will be aiming for a podium finish, which would be a great result for me in front of a home crowd."

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