NASCAR

Japan's Sato signs with Bobby Rahal

Indy Car Series driver Takuma Sato
Takuma Sato joins a new IndyCar team for 2012.
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TOKYO (AP)

Japanese driver Takuma Sato, who competed in Formula One from 2002-08 before moving to IndyCar in 2010, signed Friday with IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Cream of the crop

Who picked up an IndyCar race win in 2011?

Sato spent one season with Jordan, three with British American Racing and three with Super Aguri F1. He drove for KV Racing Technology the last two seasons in IndyCar.

''Rahal Letterman Racing has a proud tradition and I look forward to driving for them,'' Sato said at a news conference. ''I wasn't able to get a win last season but look forward to winning this year with this new team.''

Although he went winless, he won two poles in 2011, at Edmonton and Iowa, and finished the season ranked 13th in the Izod IndyCar points standings.

Team owner Bobby Rahal has teamed with Honda as he tries to return to a full-time IndyCar schedule for the first time since 2008. The team focused on the ALMS Series the last three seasons and ran only four IndyCar races last year. Rahal won the ALMS championship the last two years.

''We anticipate having a very strong season together,'' Rahal said in a statement. ''While we were determined to have an experienced driver for this season, we also needed someone that knew how to get to the front and Takuma has shown that he can do that, and we expect to have a great opportunity to win races this year.

''He has made great strides through the last two seasons in IndyCar and I have no doubt that we can produce a strong effort with him leading the team.''

RLL hopes to be ready to test the Dallara DW12 at the IndyCar Series open test at Sebring in March. The team is also working on a second entry it would like to take to the Sebring test. No driver has been announced for the second car.

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