St Petersburg IndyCar: Takuma Sato quickest in final practice

Takuma Sato topped the final IndyCar practice session before qualifying for this weekend's season-opener in St Petersburg

St Petersburg IndyCar: Takuma Sato quickest in final practice

Sato, who is making his debut with AJ Foyt Racing this weekend, moved to the top with a lap of 1m01.5293s less than three minutes before the session ended.

Will Power had previously been the pacesetter, and while the Australian survived a couple of lairy moments in a last-gasp quest for more time, Sato's lap remained unbeaten. It is the first time that a Honda-powered driver has led a session this weekend.

Power was left in second for Penske, his best lap 0.2 seconds down on Sato's, with James Hinchcliffe third ahead of Tony Kanaan, Sebastian Saavedra, and Marco Andretti.

Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay survived a trip down the Turn 4 escape road to post the seventh-fastest lap, leaving Dario Franchitti, Josef Newgarden and early session leader Simona de Silvestro to complete the top 10.

The session was interrupted twice by stoppages, the first coming early on when Newgarden and Ana Beatriz found themselves sharing a run-off area, although neither car appeared to have sustained damage.

It was a different story a few minutes later for EJ Viso. He suffered a suspected right-front suspension failure on the way into Turn 10 and crashed heavily.

The resultant damage leaves the Andretti Autosport team scrambling to get the Venezuelan's car repaired in time for qualifying later on Saturday afternoon.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Takuma Sato Foyt Dallara-Honda 1m01.5293s 2. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m01.7386s + 0.2093s 3. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m01.8971s + 0.3678s 4. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 1m01.9087s + 0.3794s 5. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m01.9457s + 0.4164s 6. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m01.9880s + 0.4587s 7. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m02.0207s + 0.4914s 8. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m02.0490s + 0.5197s 9. Josef Newgarden Panther Dallara-Honda 1m02.0981s + 0.5688s 10. Simona de Silvestro KV Dallara-Chevy 1m02.1157s + 0.5864s 11. Graham Rahal Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m02.1223s + 0.5930s 12. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m02.1459s + 0.6166s 13. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m02.1850s + 0.6557s 14. James Jakes Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m02.2040s + 0.6747s 15. Tristan Vautier Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m02.2576s + 0.7283s 16. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m02.2606s + 0.7313s 17. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 1m02.3027s + 0.7734s 18. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 1m02.3174s + 0.7881s 19. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m02.3795s + 0.8502s 20. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m02.3936s + 0.8643s 21. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 1m02.4715s + 0.9422s 22. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m02.5344s + 1.0051s 23. EJ Viso Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m03.0992s + 1.5699s 24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 1m03.1658s + 1.6365s 25. Ana Beatriz Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m03.3169s + 1.7876s 
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Series IndyCar
Drivers Takuma Sato
Author Mark Glendenning
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