Takuma Sato’s first qualifying attempt was voided by the NTT IndyCar Series after the two-time Indy 500 winner was determined to have impeded Marco Andretti during the Andretti Autosport driver’s qualifying attempt.
He remained on track in Turns 3 and 4 instead of moving onto the pit entry lane, per the rulebook, as Andretti was winding up to start his four-lap qualifying run. The move caused Andretti to hit the brakes at an inopportune time as he was trying to build momentum.
Sato’s 232.196mph average was erased by the series and he will need to run again to qualify for the race.
“Now we can get back up to P1, which is where we were all week,” said Sato’s team owner Dale Coyne. “Disappointed with what happened there. He’ll be fine. [Sato] knows his way around this place.”
Despite penalizing Sato for his interference, IndyCar did not deem it worthy of giving Andretti a new opportunity to run and replace his speed after his car experienced an electrical issue during the four-lap attempt that was unrelated to the block and caused his average to be well off the pace.