Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing released a statement Tuesday (Aug. 20) on Sunday’s violent IndyCar Series crash at Pocono Raceway, an incident that saw Felix Rosenqvist’s No. 10 get into the catch fence and Takuma Sato’s No. 30 machine flip over.
The team has issued a statement in regard to the opening lap crash at Pocono Raceway.
The statement can be found here: https://t.co/5Nc7HWIS8y
We stand behind our drivers and have absolute faith in their ability to race and perform at the highest level for RLL. pic.twitter.com/8WusnDI6bJ
— Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (@RLLracing) August 20, 2019
The initial reaction from viewers and social media blamed Sato for the incident – he, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay were three-wide on the straightaway when Sato and Rossi made contact, turning both cars down into Hunter-Reay’s machine.
Sato and Hunter-Reay slid down to the inside wall, sliding back up into traffic, where Rosenqvist became involved – clipping Sato and lifting Rosenqvist into the air, where his car caught the catch fence.
The team’s statement addressed the criticism pointed at Sato, also including Sato’s raw on-board footage of the crash.
“Normally in a situation of this nature it is not necessary for a team to comment but following the accusations levied at Takuma, and after reviewing Takuma’s onboard data and camera, we feel that a clarification is necessary,” the release said. “The data and video clearly shows that Takuma did not turn down the track into Alexander 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.”
The team attributed the crash to being a part of the series’ racing, deeming it a “racing incident.”
Rossi’s involvement in the crash caused the driver to lose valuable championship points to standings leader Josef Newgarden, and this was a primary crux of the criticism – the championship implications of the wreck.
“This was a racing incident which unfortunately may have some championship implications,” the statement said. “A crash at Pocono impacted our title aspirations in 2015 while second in the standings so we know the frustration drivers and teams experienced. ”
The team closed the statement by thanking the quick responders on the AMR Safety Team at the track.
IndyCar’s next event will be on Saturday, Aug. 24 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Motorsports Park, starting at 8 p.m.