INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Japan’s Takuma Sato was unrepentant after blowing his chances of winning Sunday’s 96th Indianapolis 500 when he crashed on the last lap attempting a risky overtaking move.
Sato was running second behind eventual winner Dario Franchitti when the field roared past the finish line for the penultimate time after a masterful drive through the field.
But his chances of becoming the first Asian driver to win America’s greatest race ended when he made a daring attempt to squeeze past Franchitti on the tricky first turn only to spin out of control and smack into the outside wall.
Quizzed about why he made his move with three bends still to go, Sato said he felt compelled to go for broke.
“I was going for the win,” he said.
Sato, who spent seven seasons in Formula One without a win, moved to IndyCar in 2010 and is still chasing his first victory.
The 35-year-old looked to have a great chance of ending his drought when he led Sunday’s race for 31 laps and was still near the leaders when a yellow caution flag was brought out 12 laps from the end.
When the race was re-started with six laps to go, he made a flying getaway from seventh and climbed to second before it all came unstuck and he finished 17th overall.
“I kept pushing and overtaking,” he said.
”On the very last lap, I had a good tow from Dario and I thought I had the job done.
“But he kept pushing and didn’t give me enough room so that I was well below the white line.”
Editing by Gene Cherry