Carlin’s Matheus Leist claimed pole position on Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires return to Road America, Elkhart Lake today, and will be joined on the front row by team mate Neil Alberico. Garth Rickards was 12th while Zach Claman de Melo was unable to repeat his front running pace in practice after an engine failure left him unable to complete a flying lap.
In the early stages of the 30-minute session, Rising Star Racing backed driver Alberico was a front runner, lying second in the first few minutes, with Freedom 100 winner Leist close behind in third. The duo would remain closely matched throughout the session, with Leist then taking the top spot.
Following a strong result last time out on the historic Indianapolis circuit, Rickards was building up the pace in 11th place, but it was a case of misfortune for Claman de Melo who lost oil pressure after just one lap.
Responding to his team mate’s provisional pole time, Alberico bettered Leist’s lap with a 1.53.381 only for Leist to go quicker two minutes later to snatch back the top spot. In an impressive display by the Carlin duo, it was Leist who claimed the pole as the flag fell, with Alberico second. Rickards was 12th, while Claman de Melo will have his work cut out after being forced to sit out the session and will consequently start race one from 14th.
Speaking about his session, Leist said, “The car was very good again today; but I was a bit frustrated as I made a mistake at the last corner. In fact on my two fastest laps I made mistakes, so I try to correct that for tomorrow and fight for the pole again and the race wins. I’m very happy for the team and think we are in good shape.”
Team mate Alberico added, “I’m stoked to be on front row for the first time, my best qualifying performance of the year. If I’m going to lose to someone it’s going to be my team mate – so a Carlin 1-2 is a nice result. It’s a good way to start the weekend.”
Qualifying for race two will take place at a bright and early 07.50 local time tomorrow with the first race of the weekend at 12.00. Race two will complete the weekend’s Indy Lights running at 08.45 local time on Sunday.