After a rough start to the 2017 Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment season, two-time defending series champion Jake Wright broke out in a big way Wednesday night at Imola. Starting from the pole, Wright only fell behind during pit stops, leading 30 laps on his way to a win in the HPP Simulation Grand Prix of Imola, the inaugural event for the series at the historic Italian circuit.
“I was very nervous going into this race, everyone was extremely quick leading up to the event,” Wright said from the virtual victory lane. “A very stressful race because of the track and pace, but an amazing win.”
Wright cruised to a win by over 6 seconds on Travis Jegerlehner, who was so excited with his second place run he skipped the post race media session to celebrate.
Points leader Andrew Kinsella held off Michael Gray in a furious battle over the closing laps to take third, with Brian Yaczik coming home fifth.
“I’m happy with that podium,” Kinsella said. “Just settled in and raced my own race. I’m not sure how I finished third but I’ll take it.”
Gray was disappointed he couldn’t run down Kinsella at the end.
“Those curbs, I tell ya, they just love to spin,” said Gray, who lost it on lap 20 and fell back from second.
Two major incidents ended the race for drivers in contention for strong finishes. On lap 14, Dustin Wardlow and Jason Galvin made contact while slowing to avoid a spinning Jack Bogan. Wardlow’s race was done, and Galvin limped home in 14th with a heavily damaged car.
Ian Adams, who showed great pace all week, wrecked out in spectacular fashion on lap five, and finished in last place, 39th.
Contenders Dan Geren and Pierre Daigle were also disqualified for too many incidents throughout the 33 lap event.
Michael Goodman, James Krahula, Jason Robarge, Jonathan Goke and George Adams brought up the back half of the top ten after strong runs and avoiding the many off-track incidents throughout the race.
Kinsella opened his points lead to 16 points over Gray after race 3 of 24.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads back to the ovals, this time in Japan for the Twin Ring Motegi 150 Wednesday, April 5 at 10:40 p.m. EST. As with every Lionheart race, the action can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.