Max Chilton made his way through the field this afternoon in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race in Mid-Ohio. The British racer started from sixth but took second in an eventful race for the championship leaders. Team mate Ed Jones crossed the line ninth, but recorded the second fastest time to claim a front row grid slot for race two tomorrow.
After Jones showed impressive pace in practice yesterday, it was a slightly disappointing qualifying session for the Carlin team this morning. Chilton managed to qualify in sixth while Jones was 10th, with neither driver completely happy with car set-up.
As the racing action got underway this afternoon though at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was Jones’ championship rivals that suffered misfortune, both Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot making contact and falling out of potential podium finishes and down the order. With his rivals in the pits for repairs, Jones had plenty to do running in ninth.
Chilton meanwhile, fresh from his Iowa win was making up places, the Brit had moved up one place at the start and was up to fourth after Harvey and Pigot pitted. Chilton closed on third placed man Shelby Blackstock and passed the American at the restart after a full course yellow for the stranded car of Ethan Ringel. Now running in third, Chilton was about to make up another place as Felix Serralles pulled off track with an apparent mechanical problem, and duly took second behind leader RC Enerson.
Jones meanwhile had a championship on his mind and running in eighth place was racing a race of strategy. With neither of his championship rivals scoring big points, Jones had little to lose, so pitted for new Cooper Tires in an attempt to better his grid slot for tomorrow’s race two.
With starting positions for Sunday’s race set by today’s fastest laps, Jones wasted no time in making good use of his new tyres and was on a mission to put himself at the front of the field. Still running in front of Harvey who was several laps down Jones set the second fastest lap of the race, although pole for race two went to the recovering Harvey.
At the front Chilton crossed the line to take second with no pressure from behind. Speaking about his race, the Carlin man said, “It was a fun race. I really enjoy this track, it’s quite like a British circuit in many ways; you can’t afford to go off and there’s lots of undulations, it’s a bit like Oulton Park. We’ve struggled a bit with the set-up this weekend but the track seems to have changed a little this afternoon and the car came to me. It was one of those races where everything goes to plan, the car felt good and I made a couple of good overtaking manoeuvres. It was an enjoyable race.”
Race two will conclude the Indy Lights action this weekend at 10:30 local time tomorrow.