Qualifying Gamble Doesn’t Pay Off for Claman De Melo in Toronto

Toronto, ON (July 14, 2018) – Mother Nature decided to play a part in qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday with rain mixing things up for the drivers who had practiced in dry conditions all weekend. Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman De Melo took a gamble in the changing weather conditions but unfortunately it didn’t pay off for the Canadian who will be starting his home race in 23rd aboard his #19 Paysafe car.

Claman De Melo, who took to the track in Group 2 of Round 1 of qualifying, elected to head out on Firestone Red tires on what was a drying race track while all, but two other drivers, were on wet weather tires.

The gamble paid off initially for the rookie who sat in the top-two of the 12-car group for the majority of the session. However, with the track continuously drying and other cars switching to dry tires, Claman De Melo’s advantage evaporated, and he would find himself in 12th place with a fastest lap of 1:00.6416 when the checkered flag flew.

“We made the right call by going out with the Firestone Reds on our #19 Paysafe car immediately at the start of qualifying,” said Claman De Melo. “There were only a few of us on dry tires and the times were definitely faster on those. Unfortunately, everyone else had the time to come in and change tires and we ended up at the bottom of the time sheet when all was said and done. That said, it’s been extremely fun to drive an Indy car here at the Honda Indy Toronto. The fans are great, the course is great and I’m really excited for the race tomorrow.”

Claman De Melo will get one final 30-minute session on Sunday morning to fine tune his #19 Paysafe machine in the morning warm-up at 11:40am.

The Honda Indy Toronto goes green on Sunday, July 15 at 3:42pm ET and will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 3pm ET in the United States and on SportsNet in Canada. The race can also be heard on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network, including SIRIUS/XM 209/214.

The warm-up session will be streamed live on racecontrol.indycar.com.

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