By Steve Wittich
The lone Indy Lights practice session of the wekeend began under overcast skies. The ambient temperature was 68F and the track temperature was 75F.
The first red flag of the session came out 10 minutes into the session. The No. 11 of Garth Rickards spun in Turn 11, and came to a stop just off the track surface. At the same time, Dalton Kellett made contact with the tire barriers. The Carlin machine of Rickards was restarted and he was able to drive back to pit lane on his own, but the No. 28 Andretti Autosport car of Kellett needed the attention of the Holmatro Safety Team, and a tow truck.
Santiago Urrutia’s lap of 74.7710 seconds led the way, and was followed at the top of the timing and scoring screens by Neil Alberico, Nico Jamin, Kellett, and Shelby Blackstock, who made up the top five lap times.
The green flag came back out with just under 30 minutes in the session, and the 2.258-mile, 13-Turn natural terrain road course, but nobody was able to turn a hot lap before the red flag flew for the second time when the No. 11 came to a stop in The Carousel with reported fuel pressure issues.
The green flag came back out with just over 20 minutes left in the 45 minute session, and most teams and drivers put fresh sticker Cooper Tire rubber on their twin-turbo charged Mazda powered Dallara race cars. It took a few laps for the tires to come up to temperature on this overcast day, but as soon as they did, the lap times started to quickly drop.
Nico Jamin, and Neil Alberico were able to sit a top timing and scoring for a few seconds before Urrutia was able to go back to the top of the charts.
For the majority of the session, current points leader Kyle Kaiser was mired around the 10th spot, but with five minutes left in the session, the 21 year-old jumped up to fourth, and continued to get quicker ending the session in fourth – six-tenths of a second behind Urrutia.
Nobody could touch Urrutia, who’s quickest lap of the session of 71.9455 is just a few hundredths of a second shy of the track qualifying record set by the Uruguayan last year. The Belardi Auto Racing Indy Lights sophomore who won both races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports last year, was a full half-second ahead of Jamin, who was followed in the top five by Claman DeMelo, Kaiser, and Alberico, who were all within one second of Urrutia.
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda practice #1
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||LAPS TURNED|
|3||13||Zachary Claman De Melo||1:12.505||0.5597||23|