TORONTO, Ontario – Kyle Kirkwood claimed a hard-earned third Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires victory of the season on Sunday.
The win was his third in as many starts at the unforgiving 1.786-mile Exhibition Place street circuit.
Kirkwood, who also won last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 championship, was pushed every inch of the way by Canadian favorite Parker Thompson. Championship leader Rasmus Lindh finished close behind in third for Juncos Racing.
The top three were separated by no more than a few car lengths throughout a gripping 30-lap race, which was interrupted only briefly by an incident on the opening lap in Turn Four involving Saturday winner Danial Frost and local driver Antonio Serravalle.
The crash ended with Serravalle’s car making solid contact with the wall.
Kirkwood, who defended his pole position perfectly on the run toward turn one, maintained his lead at the restart but was never able to eke out any breathing room at all.
The top five cars – driven by Kirkwood, Thompson, Lindh, Sting Ray Robb and Frost – remained in a snarling high-speed train for the first 20 laps, with each of them trading fastest laps on a consistent basis.
All five were clearly very closely matched, but with overtaking no easy task on the Toronto streets, each of the protagonists knew they would require a mistake from the driver in front in order to make a pass for position.
The pace continued to intensify, with Lindh finally recording a new lap record of 1:07.0213 (95.934 mph) on the penultimate lap, but Kirkwood was flawless and his victory – and RP Motorsport’s third PFC Award of the season – was assured.
A last-ditch effort by Lindh to find a way past Thompson on the final lap saw Kirkwood cross the line with his biggest margin of the race, 1.7233 seconds over Thompson, whose fourth consecutive podium finish enabled him to move back to second place in points.
Frost finally found a way past Robb for fourth after 20 laps.
Guatemalan Ian Rodriguez couldn’t find quite the same pace as yesterday but still finished a solid sixth ahead of Jacob Abel, who earned his second Tilton Hard Charger Award in as many days after starting 12th on the grid.