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Takuma Sato becomes 1st Japanese driver to win Indy 500

Spaniards Fernando Alonso and Oriol Servia had to pull out of the race with 21 and 17 laps remaining.

IANS | Indianapolis |

Takuma Sato, driving for Andretti Autosport, became the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500, prevailing at the 101st edition of the iconic IndyCar Series race.

Sato sped to victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday ahead of Brazil's Helio Castroneves, with Team Penske, who came within a whisker of his fourth Indy 500 win, and newcomer Ed Jones, with Dale Coyne Racing, a Briton born in Dubai, reports Efe.

Spaniards Fernando Alonso, with McLaren Honda Andretti, and Oriol Servia, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, had to pull out of the race with 21 and 17 laps remaining, respectively — the former due to engine failure and the latter as the result of an accident.

With Sato's win, this is the second consecutive victory at the Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport and the team's third first place finish there in the past four years.

With just seven laps to go in the race, Castroneves zipped by Sato on a bold overtaking move, but the Andretti Autosport driver returned the favour just two laps later and maintained the lead from there until the finish line.

A spectacular crash between Scott Dixon and Jay Howard came in the first half of the race, with Dixon's vehicle flying through the air after colliding with Howard's.

Howard's car had gone into the wall and rebounded into Dixon's path and when the two collided the latter's vehicle flipped into the air and into the wall. Both drivers walked away from the crash, but the race was halted temporarily while the debris was cleared.

Multiple crashes led to several cautions during the race's second half, with the most stunning of the collisions occurring on the next-to-last restart when James Davison and Servia made contact and Josef Newgarden, Will Power and James Hinchcliffe became involved in the tangle.

Meanwhile, Alonso, Spain's two-time Formula One world champion driving for McLaren Honda Andretti, had to abandon the race with 21 laps remaining when he blew out his Honda engine during his first-ever appearance at the Indy 500.