Takuma Sato has broken through to claim his first IndyCar Series win

Former F1 driver Takuma Sato has finally broken through to claim his first IndyCar Series win, and become Japan’s first winner of a major open-wheel race in the United States.

After starting fourth in the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the diminutive driver took his AJ Foyt Dallara Honda into the lead at the race’s halfway point, and when the frantic race ended with a late accident for Tony Kanaan, the win was guaranteed.

Completing an emphatic Honda 1-2-3-4 were Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and polesitter Dario Franchitti.

Takuma Sato took the lead on Lap 30 and never looked backThe victory ended a winless drought for both Sato and Foyt’s team that has lasted for well over ten years – Sato’s last win came at the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix way back in 2001!

After a troubled start to the 2013 season, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team claimed a podium finish with Graham Rahal finishing in second place, while Wilson climbed an incredible 21 positions from his 24th-placed starting position to finish third.

Fourth-placed Franchitti had controlled proceedings early on, but lost the lead with a fumbled pit stop when his car was dropped off its air jacks minus one wheel. But after successive DNFs in the opening races at St Petersburg and Alabama, a fourth-placed finish would have almost felt like a win.

The top Chevrolet driver, in fifth place, was JR Hildebrand – a driver not known for his street circuit prowess – who kept his head while several lost theirs to give the Panther team a top-five finish,

Despite contributing to Tony Kanaan’s crash on the penultimate lap of the race, Oriol Servia finished sixth in the sister Panther/DRR car, while Michael Andretti netted himself another top-ten finish, despite losing time early on to have a damaged front wing replaced and having to start from a lowly 25th on the grid.

Aside from Andretti’s top-ten finish, it was a race to forget for the Andretti Autosport and Team Penske squads.

Teammate and winner of the previous race in Alabama, Ryan Hunter-Reay, crashed out of proceedings, while James Hinchcliffe also fell foul and managed to involve teammate EJ Viso as well!

Over in the Team Penske camp, open-wheel returnee AJ Allmendinger retired retired after suffering wing damage and a broken gearbox. Will Power also had an off day, falling down the order after getting hit by Tristan Vautier in the pits, for which the Frenchman copped a drive-through penalty.

2013 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach Final Classification (80 laps):

No. Driver   Entry / Team Laps Result
1. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda 80 1:50:08:7155
2. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 80 + 5.3612
3. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 80 + 8.2386
4. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 80 + 12.3573
5. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing – Chevrolet 80 + 28.2402
6. Oriol Servià Panther / D&R – Chevrolet 80 + 29.4683
7. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 80 + 30.2703
8. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda09 80 + 31.8674
9. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 80 + 33.1224
10. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet 80 + 33.4118
11. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 80 + 33.6278
12. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 80 + 35.0645
13. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda 80 + 35.8945
14. Ana Beatriz BRA Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 80 + 36.3442
15. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 80 + 36.5936
16. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet 80 + 43.0022
17. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda 80 + 51.7961
18. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 80 + 56.4533
19. Alex Tagliani CAN Barracuda Racing – Honda 79 + 1 lap
20. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 78 + 2 laps
21. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 78 + 2 laps
  Not Classified          
DNF. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet 53 Damage
DNF. AJ Allmendinger USA Team Penske – Chevrolet 51 Gearbox
DNF. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 49 Accident
DNF. Mike Conway Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 38 Mechanical
DNF. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 34 Accident
DNF. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1 Accident

Youth Without Borders

Matthew Lennon
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.