Toronto: JK Vernay race report

JK tightens the noose! Frenchman, Jean-Karl Vernay once again drove a perfect race in the streets of Toronto. He set pole and scored a flag-to-flag victory, his fourth in the seven rounds in which he has competed. Thanks to this success he ...

JK tightens the noose!

Frenchman, Jean-Karl Vernay once again drove a perfect race in the streets of Toronto. He set pole and scored a flag-to-flag victory, his fourth in the seven rounds in which he has competed. Thanks to this success he has almost doubled his lead in the Indy Lights Championship.

There are no home races for Vernay this season as he is competing on the other side of the Atlantic in the Indy Lights Championship. Six months ago, he knew neither the car not the circuits. The victory he has just scored in the capital of Ontario has a special psychological importance. He won on the home turf of the driver who is lying second in the championship, James Hinchcliffe. The latter had sworn to take his revenge after being beaten by the Frenchman two weeks ago on the Watkins Glen circuit.

Hinchcliffe knew the track like the back of his hand and was quicker than the Sam Schmidt driver in the two free practice session by 5 and 3/100s respectively. But Vernay had the last word, and snatched pole by 4/100s from the Canadian on the second-last lap of the qualifying session.

Although the flag-to-flag win looked easy, the pressure put on Vernay by his main challenger for most of the race should not be underestimated. "At the start I suffered a bit of wheelspin and Hinchcliffe and I went through the first two corners side by side. As the track surface was slippery we rubbed wheels, which twisted a suspension component slightly. The car became difficult to control in the right-handers. I slackened the anti-roll bar to make it handle in a more predictable and smoother fashion, and I controlled my speed so as not to degrade the tyres too much." Until half distance, JK's lead was barely one-and-a-half seconds.

Then the safety car came out twice in quick succession, and this enabled Hinchcliffe to close the gap to his rival. Not until the end of the race was the driver in the no.7 Dallara-Honda in the Lucas Oil colours able to give himself a little breathing space. "With ten laps to go, the car was handling well and I felt that the tyres would last till the end so I was able to increase my lead." Lady Luck waited until the last lap to provide the final twist. Hinchcliffe was embroiled in a battle with four pursuers stuck to his gearbox; he lost two places after making a mistake in corner no.2 and then retired a little further on after a collision!

"It was a really great race, especially because of the Indycar Series guys (the top single-seater championship in the USA), who are watching closely what is going on in the lower formula. This circuit requires enormous concentration each time you brake, each time you change down as it's very bumpy and slippery. It was so easy to make a mistake." JK's victory was also his sixth podium finish for Sam Schmidt Motorsport. For the first time, his lead is now greater than the 50 points attributed to the winner of each race. Next weekend (24-25 July), he will be again be competing in Canada in the eighth round in the streets of Edmonton.

-source: www.jkvernay.com

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Jean-Karl Vernay