Sato ran for the Team Penske-Chevrolet pair of Scott McLaughlin and Will Power, as well as for the car of Andretti Alexander Rossi, the group tried to get enough division on turn 10 before starting flight lanes.
Conor Daly had just taken his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet off the line when Grosjean arrived for the lap. Apparently caught by surprise with cars in front, despite having a good view after a fracture on the back straight, he closed in and knocked down Sato’s # 51 Dale Coyne Racing from RWR-Honda – ironically, Grozhan was driving .
The back of Sato’s car was lifted high into the air in a shunt, and damage brought both cars out of the session.
“It’s a shame, isn’t it?” Sato told Marty Snyder on NBC. “Everyone was trying to make a gap, and rightly so.
“Okay, no one wants to have a situation like that, but we just slowed down. I had to press the brake after driving [Turn] 9A, which is a small fracture, but you still have almost half a mile, you can see the cars slowing down, so I braked. So is Conor Daly behind me.
“And Grozhan came hot. I don’t know what he was thinking. He was reckless.
Right in the early morning he hit [Helio] Castroneves on the outer wheel, the mounting wheel, already. I don’t know what he was thinking.
“He could clearly see that the cars were twice as wide … I don’t know, I can’t understand him.”
Asked if he knew anyone was coming from behind quickly, Sato replied, “I see he’s going hot, but I had a car in front, I also had a car on the left, so I couldn’t go anywhere. And I didn’t want to intentionally hit the car in front to avoid it, so there was nothing we could do.
“You know, it’s just practice, it’s just the third lead after the yellows. It just doesn’t make sense to be so hot.
“We lost all the time. I didn’t even wear a red tire [Firestone’s alternate compound]. It’s annoying. “
Sato, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, must get his 200th IndyCar will start tomorrow, will be especially upset that before that there was only one test day and one training session in the Coyne car.
The clash between Grosjean and Sato caused one of the three red flags in the session, the others were for Jack Harvey and Alex Pal. Harvey’s right front trimmed the top of the wall at turn 9, sending # 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda into the outside wall at the corner exit. The reigning champion Palu also came into contact with the inner wall on the T9, but was bounced away from the line, so the angle at which he hit the outer wall was much more obtuse and therefore vicious.