TORONTO – For the second day in a row and the fourth successive race, Aaron Telitz turned in a perfect display to claim victory at Exhibition Place on Sunday and tie Team Pelfrey teammate Pato O’Ward, who finished second, for the Pro Mazda Championship lead.
At stake is a Mazda scholarship to assist in graduation to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the top tier of the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder, in 2017.
O’Ward drove well to make up for a disappointing retirement on Saturday and a poor first lap to finish second, while Nico Jamin continued to be Team Pelfrey’s closest challenger with a lonely run to third for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Telitz made another exemplary start from pole position to grasp the lead into turn one. In effect, he never looked back. Already more than 1.6 seconds to the good after the first lap, Telitz continued to pile on the pressure, posting the fastest lap on six of the first seven laps to open up a commanding 5.1-second margin.
At this stage it was Jamin who led the pursuit, but it wasn’t long before O’Ward came a-knocking on his door for second place. The Mexican teenager had found himself shuffled wide in turn one, falling from second to fifth, but he kept his focus and picked off his rivals one by one.
Finally, on the seventh lap, O’Ward out-braked Jamin in turn one, and for a while he maintained the same kind of pace as race leader Telitz.
But any hopes of wresting away the win were fanciful, at best. Telitz, indeed, had no intention of allowing O’Ward even to come close, and while O’Ward did manage to set the best lap of the race so far on lap 28, Telitz responded a couple of laps later, then bettered his time again on lap 24 to ensure a perfect 66-point haul from the weekend.
“What a weekend. Winning two races at my home track two weeks ago gave me a whole bunch of confidence coming into this race. Momentum is awesome when it’s going your way,” said Telitz. “Starting from pole is the best spot to be able to get away from the rest of the field. I knew Pato would be my biggest competitor so to see him fall back was actually a relief – if he had gotten around for second early in the race, he would have been close for the whole race. I was also glad to get the point for fastest lap. Every point counts in this championship so when my engineer (Tom Knapp) told me Pato had taken the fast lap, I tried to go faster. It’s a huge turnaround but I knew I had to do something to rein in Pato.”
Jamin fell back to a lonely third but remained well clear of an entertaining tussle between Juncos Racing teammates Jake Parsons and Will Owen. Aussie Parsons held sway initially, but Owen finally wrested away the position with a bold pass at turn three on lap 13.
CREDIT: Andersen Promotions