Zach Claman de Melo took Carlin’s second podium of the weekend today, in race two of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series in Toronto. The young Canadian put in another impressive drive to take third place today after a strong second in race one on Saturday. Team mate Matheus Leist managed to salvage a fifth place from a difficult weekend by his standards, with Garth Rickards crossing the line in eighth. Neil Alberico failed finish after finding himself the innocent victim in an opening lap incident which put him into retirement.
It took two attempts for the field to get away cleanly today and a chaotic start soon delivered retirements as Shelby Blackstock ran over the back of another car. The ensuing concertina affect meant contact was made between several cars, with Leist, Alberico and Rickards having to pit with damage.
While Alberico was forced to retire with damage to his front left suspension and a broken front wing, Leist and Rickards were able to re-join the field under yellows. At the restart Claman de Melo was quick to make progress, moving up to third while Leist ran in eighth and Rickards ninth.
Not content with third, Claman de Melo was pushing Kyle Kaiser hard in the fight for second. Leist meanwhile suffered more misfortune, running wide and having to reverse to make his way round the corner, losing positions in the process.
A full course yellow was needed when Santiago Urrutia stopped on track, moving Leist and Rickards up a position. As the track went green again Claman de Melo lost third place to Aaron Telitz, while Leist was eighth and Rickards ninth. After a couple of uneventful laps, the order changed again when leader Colton Herta retired with damage. That elevated Claman de Melo back up to third, Leist seventh and Rickards eighth on lap 28.
Demonstrating again the challenges of the bumpy street circuit, Dalton Kellett made contact with the wall on lap 33 with Leist moving up to sixth Rickards seventh as Claman de Melo continued in third. The Canadian was still chasing second though, filling Telitz’s mirrors with his Carlin Dallara IL-15.
Leist meanwhile was looking to recover as many places as possible in his fight back, chasing Ryan Norman for fifth place as the race entered the final stages. After several laps running on Norman’s gearbox, Leist made a stunning move to take fifth place with four laps to go.
Claman de Melo was still running close to Telitz, but wasn’t able to make a move, and crossed the line third to take his second podium of the weekend. Leist took fifth while Rickards stayed clear of trouble to take points for eighth.
Speaking about his race, Claman de Melo said, “It’s great to get two podiums here in Toronto. I feel like things are really coming together now. There’s more consistency and while the speed has always been there, qualifying higher up the field means we’re in a much better position at the start of the races. I was able to challenge Kyle [Kaiser] at the start but just didn’t have the pace later on. We will be working hard to maintain this momentum into Mid-Ohio.”