A race that Alex Tagliani appeared to be in control of went south after a spree of late-race cautions allowed Andrew Ranger to close in and win the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto.
The win was Ranger’s 24th of his career and second in a row after taking the rain-shortened victory at Autodrome Chaudiere in Quebec.
Tagliani led 35 of 37 laps until a caution for Kevin Lacroix caused an overtime finish that Ranger capitalized on.
“A lot of caution, caution and then another caution. The only chance I had was trying on the inside of corner number one and that’s what I did,” Ranger said after the race. “It was definitely a tight move but it was my only opportunity. After that, we kept the lead until the end.”
On the final restart, Ranger, who restarted second, made a bold move and muscled his way around Tagliani to take the lead. When Ranger was able to clear Tagliani, J.F. Dumoulin did the same thing after making contact with the No. 18 EpiPen/Rona Chevrolet. Tagliani passed Dumoulin back to finish second.
“It was a great race for us again. Never been happy to finish second in my life,” Tagliani said during his media availability. “I thought we were not going to finish the race again. [At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park] we were leading with three to go, we had mechanical issues. This one was really important to finish.”
And while Tagliani finished second and was happy to finish, he wasn’t happy with third-place finisher J.F. Dumoulin. After Ranger was ahead of the No. 18, Dumoulin made an aggressive move making contact with Tagliani.
“If I would have been in Andrew [Ranger]’s place, I would have done the same. His pass was good, it was tight. It was door-to-door. The [No.] 04 though, that was a big bang. Damage on our car. We couldn’t really run Andrew down afterwards. The rear end was upset and the right rear was rubbing on the inside of the car. I was just hoping it would last to the checkered.”
Dumoulin didn’t feel the same way, though. In the press conference he said there’s “two [sides to the] story.”
“I followed Andrew in corner one and was pretty close to him. Then Alex goes back down. Yes, we touched, but we touched front wheels. It knocked him off wider. If he gave me more room, I guess we wouldn’t touch,” Dumoulin told OnPitRoad.com after the race.
When asked if he felt like the contact would result in a rivalry with Tagliani that would carry over to other road courses events, Dumoulin had one simple answer.
“For sure, 100 per cent,” he said.
Gary Klutt and L.P. Dumoulin finished fourth and fifth with Marc-Antoine Camirand finishing sixth.
James Vance, who was involved in a caution for an accident with Kerry Micks, finished seventh after sustaining damage in qualifying and having to start from the back of the field.
D.J. Kennington, Donald Theetge and Pete Shepherd rounding out the top-10.
Defending race winner Kevin Lacroix, who crashed his primary car in qualifying on Friday, finished 16th in the race after wrecking late in the race.
With the win Ranger takes over the points lead in a dead heat with L.P. Dumoulin. Ranger takes the points lead by virtue of having two wins. Camirand, Powell and Kennington round out the top-five in the standings.