Indy Lights: Hildebrand increases championship lead

By Andy Darley

CalendarSaturday, July 25th, 2009

 
 

JR Hildebrand led every lap of an uninspiring Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton to win from pole and extend his championship lead to 69 points over team-mate Sebastian Saavedra.

“I was just trying to run the same lap time from start to end and the car came to me a little bit as the tyres went off, so I didn’t have to take too many risks to accomplish that,” he said. “We were running our own pace and I think the other guys started to fall off a little bit.”

Saavedra took third, with rookie Richard Philippe splitting them. Vision’s James Davison started third but faded during the race, finally dropping to 10th after clashing with Ana Beatriz.

Pippa Mann was the top-placed of the three British drivers, finishing 11th. She said on Twitter later: “Car was best it’s been all weekend. Guys did a good job. I however have a hole the size of a golfball in my palm from driving this place.”

Her Panther team-mate Martin Plowman was making some headway through the field from a poor starting position when he was forced to pit for a new nose.

He ended up 13th of 16 and said: “Hats off to my engineer Al. We started the weekend with possibly the worst car I have driven, but for the race he worked some voodoo magic and gave me a car that came alive.

“We were having a brilliant race until we had to make an involuntary pit-stop for a cracked wing. Starting P13 we passed five cars and were all set for a top six result. The bad luck continues, but I’m proud of the turn around the team have made.”

Northern Ireland’s Ali Jackson spent most of the race near the tail of the field and was forced to retire with mechanical problems with six laps remaining, to be classified 15th.

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