St Petersburg Indy Lights: Zach Veach claims first victory
|By Mark Glendenning||Sunday, March 30th 2014, 18:17 GMT|
Zach Veach took the first Indy Lights win of his career with a dominant performance in St Petersburg.
The Andretti driver, who was one of only three non-rookies in the field, passed polesitter and fellow veteran Gabby Chaves at the first corner, and never looked back.
He crossed the line five seconds clear of Chaves, who in turn had a 16s buffer over third-placed Jack Harvey.
It was the battle for third that provided most of the race's interest. Early on the position was occupied by Matthew Brabham, who looked a threat for second during the opening laps before he clipped the wall at Turn 3 and was forced to pit with a punctured left-rear tyre.
That promoted AutoGP champion Vittorio Ghirelli onto the provisional podium, but he was never able to open a gap over the group of cars pursuing him and was eventually beaten with a great move around the outside of the last corner by Harvey.
"I went into the corner on the high side and there's not much grip put there to be honest," Harvey said. "I was just hoping he'd give me enough room, and to be fair, he did."
Ghirelli had a bigger scare a few seconds later when Alex Baron clipped his rear, although Baron was the only one to sustain any damage; the Belardi driver retiring with a broken front wing.
The race's only interruption came right at the start, when Scott Anderson crashed heavily at Turn 3 on the opening lap and prompted a five-lap spell under caution while the mess was swept up.
Results - 39 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Zach Veach Andretti 50m16.8989s 2. Gabby Chaves Belardi +5.4610s 3. Jack Harvey Schmidt +21.4809s 4. Vittorio Ghirelli Moore +35.8865s 5. Luiz Razia Schmidt +36.1328s 6. Juan Piedrahita Schmidt +37.3858s 7. Juan Pablo Garcia Schmidt +38.2814s 8. Zack Meyer Moore +44.5079s 9. Matthew Brabham Andretti +1 lap Retirements: Alex Baron Belardi 25 laps Lloyd Read Herta 15 laps Scott Anderson Fan Force 0 laps