Takuma Sato’s return to Portland International Raceway where he won on the NTT IndyCar Series return in 2018 was less than kind. Trailing past the pits early in Friday’s opening practice session, the Japanese driver’s No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda sounded like it was running on less than six cylinders, and with the unexpected malfunction slowing his progress, he coasted into the pits and came to a stop with a silent engine.
With just three laps turned and the best of the three more than 23 seconds shy of session leader Alex Palou, the RLL team wasted no time in rolling the car under the No. 30’s test to start the process of installing a fresh 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 motor.
Owing to the short two-hour gap between practice and qualifying, Sato’s crew leapt into action and should have the No. 30 ready to go in time to take part in setting the grid for Sunday’s 110-lap race.
However, the change means Sato will be required to serve a six-spot grid penalty this weekend, as will Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing.