Motor racing: Takuma Sato becomes first Japanese driver to win Indy 500

Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the 101th running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana on 28 May 2017.
Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport celebrates in Victory Circle after winning the 101th running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana on 28 May 2017.PHOTO: EPA
Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport wins the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on May 28, 2017.
Japanese driver Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport wins the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on May 28, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

INDIANAPOLIS (REUTERS) - Takuma Sato fought off a challenge from Helio Castroneves to become the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday (May 28) while Fernando Alonso's Indy adventure ended in familiar frustration.

Sato, who entered the race with one IndyCar victory on his resume, claimed the sport's biggest prize and in the process denied Castroneves a record-equalling fourth Indy 500 win and a place in the Brickyard's most exclusive club.

Twice Formula One world champion Alonso, who skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to make his IndyCar debut, led for 27 laps and looked ready to earn a fairytale victory until he suffered a familiar fate when his Honda engine expired with 21 laps to go.

It was a case of deja vu for the Spaniard, who came to the Indy 500 partly to escape the engine problems plaguing his McLaren Formula One team.