Felix Rosenqvist certainly has a knack for unique street circuits. The reigning FIA Formula 3 champion added a second winners trophy on the bumpy 11-turn, 1.786-mile Exhibition Place temporary street course to trophies from: the street/airport circuit in St. Petersburg, the street circuit in Pau France, and the Guia Circuit in Macau.
When the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire series headed “North of the Border” to Toronto, Carlin sophomore Ed Jones held a 23 point lead over Dean Stoneman, and despite a sixth and fifth place finish and no road or street course podiums since the first race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May, the 21 year-old Jones heads to the next event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a larger 24 point lead.
After a fifth place finish on Saturday, Andretti Autosport’s Stoneman was not able to start Sunday’s race and was only able to score seven points.
Andretti Autosport told TSO that the crew is still trying to determine the cause of the issue and they might not know what the problem was until getting the car back to the shop in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Stoneman, the 25 year-old, has fallen to third in the standings, 31 points behind Jones.
Moving into the second spot behind Jones is the reigning Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire champion Santiago Urrutia.
Kyle Kaiser, the Juncos Racing sophomore scored his third straight podium moved back into championship contention and is one of five drivers within 35 points to leader Jones. The Santa Clara, California based driver told TSO that he’s not thinking about the championship and is only concentrating on finishing as high as he can each weekend.
For the second straight race in Toronto, Belardi Auto Racing rookie Rosenqvist took the field of turbo-charged Mazda 2.0L powered Dallaras to the green flag to begin the 45 lap Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto.
Behind Rosenqvist, chaos ensued.
Yesterday’s second place finisher Felix Serralles was able to move ahead of outside front row starter Andre Negrao in Turn 1, but Negrao was able retake second place with a pass into Turn 3.
Further back in the field, Ed Jones, Juan Piedrahita, and Zachary Claman de Melo jostled for position with the drivers bouncing off each other through the Turn 4 and Turn 5 complex. Claman de Melo was the biggest loser after being forced to pit for a front wing. Piedrahita was also a big loser, falling all the way back to 13th from his ninth place starting spot.
On Lap 2, Shelby Blackstock nosed into the tire barriers at Turn 3, but he was able to re-fire his Mazda engine and continued. The 26 year-old Andretti Autosport driver recovered to claim a top 10.
After the chaotic opening five laps, the drivers settled down into a rhythm. The best battle on track was for second, third and fourth between Negrao, Kaiser and Santiago Urrutia.
Going into Turn 3 on Lap 11, Urrutia took a look on the outside of Kaiser and almost misses the corner and hits the tire barriers on the outside of the slowest corner on the track and fell back to regroup.
Meanwhile, Kaiser was able to make headway and put pressure on Negrao for second. That threesome of Negrao, Kaiser, and Urrutia continued a race long back-and-forth battle. For a few laps Kaiser would pressure Negrao, and for the next few laps the action would shift to Urrutia pressuring Kaiser.
With only 3 laps to go Urrutia was really pressuring Kaiser through Turn 10 and Turn 11. The No. 18 Juncos Racing of Kaiser had the rear-end get loose and almost made contact with end of the concrete wall at the end of Turn 11. Kaiser was able to hold on for his second straight podium of the weekend, and sixth of the 2016 season.
Negrao was able to hold onto second place, matching his best finish of the year from the Sunday race at Road America.
Mid-way through the race, Zach Veach and Canadian Garett Grist were fighting for sixth when the Team Pelfrey No. 3 brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 1. Grist fell further behind Veach, but was able to match his seventh place finish from Saturday, once again carrying the Maple Leaf as the top Canadian finisher.
With only five laps left in the race, Neil Alberico was pressuring Canadian Dalton Kellett for eighth when the Toronto, Ontario native
Rosenqvist’s final gap to Negrao was 7.6 seconds.
TSO did ask Rosenqvist if he has any other Indy Lights scheduled for this year, and at this point he is not scheduled to be back in the Belardi Auto Racing No. 14 for any of the final five races.
However, the Stefan Johansson mentored and managed 24 year-old will be sharing a Verizon IndyCar Series test with Scott Dixon in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto – Sunday Race #2 results
|1||Felix Rosenqvist||45 Laps|
|9||Shelby Blackstock||– 1 lap|
|10||Felix Serralles||-1 lap|
|11||Dalton Kellett||-2 laps|
|12||Juan Piedrahita||-3 laps|
|13||Zachary Claman De Melo||-11 laps|
|14||Dean Stoneman||-45 laps|
Unofficial Top 5 in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire points after Toronto Race #2
1 – Ed Jones —> 268
2. Santiago Urrutia —> 244
3. Dean Stoneman —> 237
4. Felix Serralles —> 236
5. Kyle Kaiser —> 233