Rasmus Lindh took his first victory on the Road to Indy ladder in the first Indy Pro 2000 race at Indianapolis, holding off old rival Kyle Kirkwood.
The Swede finished second to Kirkwood in USF2000 last year, but Kirkwood’s domination of the championship meant he never visited the top step of the podium.
Juncos Racing driver Lindh started the weekend with pole, and was supposed to have RP Motorsport’s Kirkwood alongside him at the start.
Kirkwood jumped the start though, leading to it being waved off, and when the race started proper on lap three Kirkwood was at the back of the order as the discretion of the race directors.
There was chaos immediately at the first corner though, with several drivers spinning off. This immediately promoted Kirkwood to sixth, just behind championship leader Parker Thompson.
Exclusive Autosport driver Thompson had struggled to 12th in qualifying, and both he and Sting Ray Robb had conceded positions to Kirkwood by the end of the second lap of racing.
Kirkwood passed Exclusive Autosport’s Nikita Lasotchkin the next time by, leaving just his team-mate Danial Frost and leader Lindh ahead.
Lindh had made an instant lead at the start, helped by Kirkwood’s absence, and extended his lead to 1.4 seconds in the first eight laps. The gap decreased in the middle of the race, but as Kirkwood closed in on Frost it expanded once again.
Second place was taken by Kirkwood with five laps to go, but his battle with Frost had put him 2.33s behind Lindh. He set fastest lap in his pursuit, but couldn’t track down the Swede quick enough and finished 0.88s behind.
Frost took an easy third? place, with Sting Ray Robb and Thompson completing a very distant top five. Despite his struggles, Thompson was still able to hold onto the championship lead, although he is now just four points ahead of Lindh.
Lastochkin sank down the order, and lost sixth in the final yards of the race to Jacob Abel. Measured to four decimal places, the gap between the pair was 0.0365s.
The Texas-based JDL Racing team made its debut with Jacob Loomis, and looked set for a top eight finish until Loomis slowed and then pulled into the pits in the second half of the race.
He was still classified three laps down, while Italian Formula 4 regular Ian Rodriguez only made it to the first corner on his maiden appearance with RP Motorsport.
Race results (25 laps)
|1||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Racing||35m46.642s|
|2||Kyle Kirkwood||RP Motorsport||+0.8798s|
|3||Danial Frost||Exclusive Autosport||+3.1521s|
|4||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||+16.2860s|
|5||Parker Thompson||Abel Motorsports||+19.8023s|
|6||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||+26.2882s|
|7||Nikita Lastochkin||Exclusive Autosport||+26.3247s|
|8||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||+32.3377s|
|9||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing/JHDD||+39.0682s|
|10||Charles Finelli||FatBoy Racing||+1 lap|
|11||Jacob Loomis||JDL Racing||+3 laps|
|12||Phillippe Denes||FatBoy Racing||+4 laps|
|Ret||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing|
|Ret||Ian Rodriguez||RP Motorsport|
|Pole: Lindh, 1m18.8931s? ? ? Fastest lap: Kirkwood, 1m19.333s