Bobby Rahal: Consistency key to strong 2019 results
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal has told Indycar.com that his team can “have a great year” if they can extract more consistency from their Honda-powered IndyCar package.
Last season didn’t feature too many high points for the Brownsburg, Indianapolis based team. A win for Takuma Sato at the penultimate round in Portland added to a third place finish for the Japanese driver at Iowa, whilst team-mate Graham Rahal only troubled the podium once at the season opener in St. Petersburg, the 30 year old American going without a race victory for the first time in four years.
Bobby Rahal said of son Graham; “He’s very brave, much braver than I ever was. If we give him the [right] car, he’ll win a lot of races. We did a test at Indy at the end of last year with five other drivers... and Graham was quickest.”
However, that speed is of limited use if qualifying positions are poor. Having seen Graham having to charge through the field on several occasions in 2018 after starting towards the back of the grid, the three-time CART champion singled out two main areas to improve upon.
“We’ve just got to be more consistent, that’s number one,” said Bobby Rahal, adding that; “We’ve got to be right up front [at the start]. That’s number two.’
To help with this aim, the team hired respected engineer Allen McDonald at the back end of 2018. McDonald has over 30 years experience in race engineering in both Formula One and IndyCar, taking James Hinchcliffe and Ed Carpenter to pole position at the Indianapolis 500 in recent years. Bobby Rahal says “He is one of the best engineers in the series. I think he is already bringing new thoughts in, and we are seeing them.”
For 2019 the driver line up remains unchanged, and Bobby Rahal is setting his sights high. “I think we have good reason to think we can have a great year, but now we have to go out and do it. I know we have speed and good drivers.”