St. Petersburg, FL (March 9, 2018) – Rookie Zach Claman De Melo took part in his first Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying on a street course on Saturday at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg placing 22nd on the grid for Sunday’s season-opening race.
Claman De Melo recorded a quickest lap of 1:01.8567 around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course aboard his #19 The Paysafe Car in the Group 2, Round 1 session that was marred by a red flag in the final minutes. When qualifying resumed with just over a minute to go, the young Canadian was unable to improve on his lap time.
“It was a tough session. We worked on the car all day. We struggled a bit in the morning practice and there are some places that I need to work on as well,” said the rookie. “That said, I’m confident we’ll be fine for tomorrow. I’m always better in the race. And judging by how the team did last year with the team starting in the back and Seb managing to win it and his teammate was third for a lot of the race, so I’m confident we’ll be ok.”
The driver of the #19 Dale Coyne Racing entry will be making his first Verizon IndyCar Series start in St. Petersburg, after taking part in four Indy Lights races at the Florida track. He’ll have one final 30-minute warm up session to fine tune his Paysafe Car at 8:45am Sunday morning.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will go green at 12:40pm on Sunday, March 11 with the race being broadcast live on ABC from 12:30pm ET.