Carlin's Leist converts pole to victory at Road America
 June 24, 2017| 
  • Team News

Carlin’s Matheus Leist took a brilliant lights to flag victory at Road America in the opening race of the weekend in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series. Leist, who secured pole position yesterday, was completely untroubled and led all 20 laps to take back to back victories following his Freedom 100 win last time out at Indianapolis.

Having lined up alongside his team mate on the front row, Rising Star Racing driver Neil Alberico was unlucky to sustain contact and damage on the opening lap and crossed the line in seventh. Zach Claman de Melo also had a recovery drive to tenth while Garth Rickards crossed this line in 13th position. 

As the cars lined up in formation for the start the two blue Carlin cars of Leist and Alberico looked strong and steady at the front – ready to race at the four mile long Road America circuit. When the cars made their move it was Leist who easily held on to his pole position as the field streamed through the first corner however for team mate Alberico it was an unlucky start as he came under pressure from Ryan Norman with the former pushed wide following slight contact – this in turn left the Carlin racer down in ninth on the opening lap. Further back, Claman de Melo and Rickards had also maintained their starting positions and were running in 13th and 14th respectively. 

Meanwhile at the very front Leist found himself in clear air and pulling a gap, partly in thanks to the battling cars of Norman, Santi Urrutia and Kyle Kaiser who were all running wheel to wheel in their pursuit of a podium position. As a result, the Freedom 100 race winner was able to steadily extend his lead over the rest of the field – soon pulling out a gap of nearly three seconds. 

Over the next few laps the Carlin drivers began to make progress with Alberico moving up to eighth before passing Dalton Kellett a few laps later in a stunning move for seventh despite damage to his front wing. Claman de Melo, who yesterday had been unable to show his true pace in qualifying after an engine failure, was soon all over the back of Colton Herta who he blitzed past on lap eight. Rickards looked to follow his team mate through however despite running wheel to wheel, the Carlin man was unable to make the move stick. Claman de Melo’s progress continued over the next few laps and he was soon right up behind Aaron Telitz as he looked to steal the position away – managing to pull a great move the Canadian took 11th as his own. 

However at the front Leist was completely untroubled in his efforts – eventually pulling a huge lead of 6.1667 seconds as the flag fell marking a supreme victory; dominating at Road America and coming under no pressure throughout. Alberico crossed the line in seventh, Claman de Melo in tenth and Rickards in 13th. 

The amazing result sees Leist move up to second position in the Championship order; the Brazilian said of the race, “It was an amazing race today, the car felt perfect and we were able to keep the lead from green to the flag. I’m so happy for the team because they’ve worked so hard for this. It really is a great momentum now as we look to keep this going and fight for the championship win which I know we can do because I have a great car underneath me. I pushed hard over the first two laps to pull a gap and then everything just went well. It felt amazing out there today.”

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