Carlin: Fourth for Alberico at Barber
 April 25, 2017| 
  • Team News
LEEDS, Ala. - Neil Alberico followed up his race one podium with a strong fourth place in the final Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.  Matheus Leist claimed a well fought seventh place, Garth Rickards was 12th while Zach Claman DeMelo retired with a bent push rod after a lap one incident. 
 
After qualifying was rained off earlier today, the grid for race two was set by championship order, which didn’t reflect the pace of the Carlin cars at the Barber Motorsports Park this weekend.  Nevertheless, unable to show what they were capable of in qualifying, Alberico started sixth, Claman DeMelo eighth, Leist 11th and Rickards 15th for the 400th Indy Lights race.  
 
By the time the drivers entered pit lane the track had dried completely, allowing for slick Cooper tires.  Two laps behind the pace car allowed the drivers to familiarise themselves with the newly dry conditions.
 
As the racing finally got underway there was some chaos in the mid field.  DeMelo and Pato O’Ward made contact in the first half of the lap while fighting for sixth, with O’Ward left stranded in the gravel which brought out a full course yellow.  Under yellow, DeMelo entered the pits for his team of mechanics to check over his Dallara IL-15 and took on new Cooper tires. 
 
As the race restarted, Alberico was fifth and challenging for fourth place from Aaron Telitz.  Leist had made a lightning start and was running in eighth place in a close pack of cars while Rickards was 13th, the recovering Claman DeMelo running in 14th. 
 
Leist was keen to show the pace of his Carlin machine, the Brazilian was pushing Nicolas Dapero for seventh place; while Leist was looking to make up places, DeMelo’s race came to an end after the Canadian was forced to pit again and finally retire with a bent push rod following his lap one incident.
 
A fantastic move by Alberico on lap eight put the Rising Star racer in fourth place, following a pass on Telitz.  Team mate Leist was still filling the mirrors of Dapero in the fight for seventh.  The Carlin man moved up to seventh on lap 18, after passing Dalton Kellett and was still chasing down Dapero who had also passed the Andretti Autosport driver.
 
In the second half of the race, Alberico was shadowing Nico Jamin in the run for the final podium position.  At the chequered flag though, Alberico had to be content with fourth, Leist took a competitive seventh and Rickards 12th. 
 
Alberico said, “All weekend long the Carlin guys have given me a rocket ship to drive! It’s great to bring home a pair of top-five finishes and have a strong race today after a podium finish yesterday. I think we’re in a strong position before we head to Indy for the month of May.”
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