Birmingham, AL (April 23, 2018) – After a rain delay postponed the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, the race finally reached its completion on Monday with Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman De Melo showing his pace and registering the fastest race lap in a 19th place finish that wasn’t indicative of his performance.
The race initially started under wet conditions on Sunday afternoon with Claman De Melo taking the start from the 16th position. With zero visibility for the drivers and the rain picking up in intensity, the race was red flagged twice before finally being postponed to Monday morning.
The DCR rookie was 21st when the race resumed, having lost two laps following a penalty for a debatable call during the first red flag period on Sunday. With nothing much to lose, being two laps down to the leaders, the Canadian showed off his talent behind the wheel of the #19 Paysafe car passing the likes of Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud amongst others.
“Yesterday was tough with all the rain and I think it was a good call to postpone the race to today,” said Claman De Melo. “With the two-lap penalty that we received yesterday, we knew we were already at a disadvantage. So, the main goal today was to show my race craft aboard the #19 Paysafe car, show that my pace was there and to show that if we would have been on the lead lap that we could have definitely fought for a top 10 position. I think we did that with how I was able to pass other cars on a track that is known to be difficult for passing. We had good pace, and the fastest race lap, so it was a positive weekend overall even if it didn’t go our way.”
The driver of the #19 Paysafe car registered the fastest race lap on Lap 54 with a time of 1:09.818, nearly two tenths quicker than the second fastest car. Had it not been for the two-lap penalty, Claman De Melo would have been on his way to his best career IndyCar finish.
The team now has a couple of weeks to prepare for the next round of the Verizon IndyCar Series that will take place on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12. Pietro Fittipaldi will be back behind the wheel of the #19 Paysafe entry for the next two rounds on the schedule with Claman De Melo returning for Detroit in June.