Indy Lights: Third consecutive win for Ed Jones in Long Beach Grand Prix
California, Sun 19th Apr 2015 – Dubai-based Briton Ed Jones took his third victory in as many starts in today’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race in Long Beach, California.Starting from fourth on the grid, a first corner accident for pole sitter Jack Harvey, Kyle Kaiser and Spencer Pigot allowed Jones to take second and then the lead – which he maintained to the chequered flag despite pressure from the recovering Pigot.
Following a front row lock out for the Carlin drivers last time out in St Petersburg, Jones and Chilton were left with more work to do today as the only Indy Lights race of the weekend got underway. Starting from fourth on the grid, Jones had three cars ahead of him as opposed to clear track. Team mate Chilton meanwhile, who had just touched the wall while pushing hard in qualifying yesterday, had to sit out the majority of qualifying and therefore started 10th.
Making the customary rolling start, the field formed well in a two by two formation with Jack Harvey leading the field across the line. Only seconds later though, a three car tangle involving Harvey, Pigot and Kaiser caused chaos, with Jones somehow making his way through unscathed although behind Felix Serralles who was now leading.
With the safety car now neutralising the racing action, Jones was in second while Chilton had also managed to stay clear of accidents and was seventh from his tenth place grid slot. After a couple of laps, the green flag was shown again and racing was underway. Jones wasted no time in attacking Serralles for the lead, snatching first place straight away despite some wheel to wheel action with Serralles who tried to fight back.
By lap 17, Jones still led the pack, while Chilton had made up more places and was fifth. While the Carlin driver held onto the lead, there was a change of position behind as Serralles was passed by a charging Pigot who took second place, three seconds behind Jones.
Another incident brought out the yellows once again which bunched up the field and reduced Jones’ advantage to nothing. At the restart, Jones was under attack from Pigot with the duo wheel to wheel for several corners. Pigot in fact would keep Jones under pressure for the duration of the race, but Jones drove faultlessly to maintain his position.
Chilton who has yet been able to show his potential in race trim, was fifth at the flag while Jones went on to take Carlin’s third Indy Lights win.
Speaking after the race Jones said, “It was a close race and the tyres were starting to go off and I think I touched the wall a couple of times but I had to push that hard as Spencer [Pigot] was so close behind me. You can’t always be fastest at every circuit but you’ve got to be ready to make the most of every opportunity and I think we did that today.”
“I knew it was going to be a bit hectic at the start because the temperatures were cold, the tires were cold. I didn’t get the best start and dropped back to fifth. But then I saw the collision happening up front, so I braked a little bit earlier, took the inside and got around to the left. I got around Felix on the restart and we had a good battle for the next few laps. Then I had to deal with Spencer. You don’t want to make any mistakes, but you have to push really hard. It’s hard, because if you’re too conservative, you’ll get caught. It was difficult; I risked it a bit but fortunately, I didn’t make any mistakes and that’s what kept me the lead. We struggled with pace this weekend. We didn’t have the fastest car so to come away with the win is fantastic.”
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors will return to action next weekend with two more races when the entire Mazda Road to Indy runs once again in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.