By Steve Wittich
Colton Herta, Patricio O’Ward, and Colton Herta improved the quickest lap a total of seven times in the final five minutes of qualifying, but in the end, it was Urrutia who will start this afternoon’s race on pole.
It’s the first time that Urrutia will start on the pole this year, and is his fifth career Indy Lights inside front row start.
Urrutia’s lap at 63.971 was one-tenth of a second ahead of O’Ward. Herta was only five-hundredths behind his teammate.
Herta will start third, but on his final lap, the second-generation driver clouted the wall with the left side of his No. 98 Andretti Steinbrenner Racing race car in Turn 9. The left front of the car has significant damage.
Herta was checked, released and cleared to drive by INDYCAR medical.
The first track activity, after a one-hour session of two-seater/event car rides, on the final day of the Honda Indy Toronto was a half-hour Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires qualifying session.
The sun was attempting to poke through the haze, and the air temperature was already a sticky 78F, with the track temperature at 93F.
Six of the drivers immediately took to the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit on scuffed tires to get a feel for track conditions. Cars started to come to pit road, and at the half-way point of the session, everybody was on pit road. The Soul Red No. 23 of Victor Franzoni was the only car that sat out the first half of the session.
Santi Urrutia was the quickest driver at the half-way point of the session with a lap time of 64.6353. Race #1 winner O’Ward was only four-hundredths back.
Franzoni was the first car on track during the second half of the 30-minute session, but the Brazilian told the team on the radio that he didn’t want to be on track.
Unfortunately, the prize for winning the Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire championship is only enough to pay for close to 70% of a full Indy Lights budget, not including any crash damage. With a big hit against the concrete wall in Turn 5 during yesterday’s race, Franzoni is facing enormous pressure regarding the budget.
With eight minutes remaining, Dalton Kellett used the Turn 8 run-off but was able to keep the No. 28 running and the track remained green.
It took three or four laps for the Cooper Tires to find the optimal operating range and with seven minutes left Urrutia was the first driver to go quicker and improve his provisional pole time.
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products Unofficial Qualifying Results For Race #2
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