February 28, 2018

Powerful Phoenix Test: Rahal now wants to clear the air

Once Indy-500 victory and IndyCar title please: Graham Rahal is motivated like never before into a new season after the strong performance of RLL in the Phoenix test

Given the “all-new”principle of the IndyCars before the 2018 season, it is hard to imagine that anyone would have needed an extra portion of motivation. But the Rahal team has definitely got it: After Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato set the tone for the test drives at the ISM Speedway in Phoenix, the motivation is enormous. The tenor is clear: 2018 is the biggest opportunity we’ve ever had.

“I have no doubt that this team can win the title,”says Graham Rahal to’ Motorsport-Total. com’,”I don’t even think that we are incapable of doing so. The staff are champions and I think we have the best. It’s about working together as a group and showing strength on a broad scale, I think we’re doing it.”

Not only in the championship he wants to have a say, but also in the Indianapolis 500 the son of team owner Bobby Rahal has a lot of catching up to do:”This will undoubtedly be a strong year for us in Indy. Last year we were already ahead of Takuma (Sato; later winner; Note d. Red.) and Helio (Castroneves, who finished second) and were on the same strategy when we had the puncture.”

“If we can get a third car on the starting grid, we can take on Penske and Andretti. That’s what we’re here for. Of course it’s gonna be hard to beat her. but I see no reason why it shouldn’t happen. Like I said, I think we could have done it last year, but we got in the middle of the puncture.”

Team colleagues make many things easier

In the past, Rahal often argued with the fact that he lacked a teammate. When he met a set-up for a course from the outset, he conjured up astonishing victories from the hat, as in 2017 with his double strike in Detroit. If it doesn’t fit, he hardly had a chance to catch up on the gap over the weekend. Too many two-digit results were the deciding factor that he has not yet won the title.

Now he has a team mate – the reigning Indy 500 champion of all people “There are many areas where Takuma and I match. Then there are a few where we have different views. But in general, I would say that our common ground is sufficient to say that it is helpful to have a team mate,”says the 29-year-old. The pair is likely to be one of the most interesting for the coming IndyCar season.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL), like all Honda teams, benefits from the new universal Aerokit, which eliminates the aerodynamic weaknesses of the Honda aero package. Despite this disadvantage, Graham Rahal was the title candidate in the three years of the manufacturer’s aerokits until just a few races before the end of the race and was responsible for the team’s biggest successes since Buddy Rice’s time. His team’s only title was still won by Bobby Rahal himself – in the first season in 1992.

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