Indy 500: Takuma Sato triomphe, Fernando Alonso termine 21e

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Takuma Sato claimed the second victory of his Indy 500 career after passing longtime leader Scott Dixon in a tense and dramatic 200-lap race at Brickyard.

But Fernando Alonso’s quest to complete the final leg of motorsport’s Triple Crown continues after finishing 21st after suffering clutch issues in his McLaren.

Former Jordan and Super Aguri F1 driver Sato first won the flagship race in 2017 and becomes the 20th driver to triumph more than once around the oval in the 104th edition of the event.

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Watch a nasty double crash involving McLaren’s Conor Daly and Oliver Askew midway through the Indy 500

Watch a nasty double crash involving McLaren’s Conor Daly and Oliver Askew midway through the Indy 500

Graham Rahal, Sato’s teammate, took third place after a strong eighth performance on the grid, with former Haas F1 test driver Santino Ferrucci fourth. Rookie of the Year honors went to Pato O’Ward, who was an impressive sixth in the lead car Arrow McLaren SP.

The 500 mile race featured seven yellow flag periods and a number of serious crashes, with the race ending cautiously after a huge crash for Spencer Pigot with four laps to go.

Pigot lost control of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car at the exit of the last corner and hit the outer barrier, before crossing the track in a strong impact with the end of the wall at the entrance to the pit lane.

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Dramatic wheel fire took James Davison to the start of the Indy 500 to cause a yellow over a full course

Dramatic wheel fire took James Davison to the start of the Indy 500 to cause yellow over full course

A total of seven drivers crashed – while James Davidson was the race’s first retiree when his car’s front right wheel caught fire.

Alex Rossi had been in contention for the win alongside Dixon and Sato but his race went spectacular after half a distance. The American was initially relegated to the back of the pack as punishment for a dangerous exit from his pit in a collision with Sato, before crashing as he tried to restore order.

Indy 500 result
1. Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
2. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
3. Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
4. Santino Ferrucci. Dale Coyne Racing
5. Josef Newgarden, Penske team
6. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
7. James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport
8. Colton Herta, Harding Steinbrenner Racing
9. Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing
10. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
Selection of others
11. Helio Castroneves, Penske team
13. Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport
17. Max Chilton, Carlin
21. Fernando Alonso, Arrow McLaren SP
22. Simon Pagenaud, Penske team

Sato holds up despite strong pressure from Dixon

Dixon, five-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner, started second behind poleman Marco Andretti, but immediately took the lead in the first corner of the race.

The 40-year-old New Zealander had appeared at the helm for most of the race, leading for more than 100 laps, but was passed by Sato after the penultimate period of caution.

The Japanese rider came under heavy pressure in the final laps as the leaders cruised through traffic before the Pigot crash effectively sparked the battle for victory.

” I can not find the words! Said a cheerful Sato next.

“Obviously, three short laps [with the yellow flags] and we knew that in terms of fuel strategy, it was a bit tight. I couldn’t use full power so I had to rock back and forth. Scott was getting to turn four, but I just held on. ”

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