Lat­ifi tops off great weekend for Cana­di­ans

Toronto driver’s vic­tory at Sil­ver­stone ex­tends strong sea­son on F1’s feeder cir­cuit

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - NOR­RIS MCDON­ALD SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

Sun­day was a great day for Cana­di­ans in in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic mo­tor­sport.

At the Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit in Eng­land, Ni­cholas Lat­ifi of Toronto won the FIA For­mula 2 race, the main sup­port se­ries at F1races. Driv­ing for the France-based Driot As­so­ciés Mo- tor Sport team, Lat­ifi won the race held Sun­day just be­fore the Bri­tish Grand Prix.

Lat­ifi, who is spon­sored by the Royal Bank of Canada, said he had to de­fend his po­si­tion early in the race but “once I got my head down, I was able to add to my ad­van­tage while look­ing af­ter the tires. I’m re­ally thrilled to get the win.”

Lat­ifi, 22, has scored nine top 10s in 12 races so far in 2017. He’s fin­ished third three times and se­cond once.

At the Honda Indy in Toronto, in the U.S. For­mula 2000 se­ries, Parker John­stone of Red Deer, Alta., won the race Sun­day – his se­cond trip to the top step of the podium in two days. Driv­ing for Ex­clu­sive Au­tosport, a team based in Saska­toon, Sask., John­stone eas­ily han­dled 17 other com­peti­tors from the United States and else­where.

John­stone, who ac­cepted his tro­phy Sun­day while wrapped in the Cana­dian flag, said the fu­ture looks bright for Cana­dian mo­tor­sport gen­er­ally. “The next decade could be­long to Canada,” he said.

Kevin Lacroix of Saint-Eus­tache, Que., won the NASCAR Pinty’s Se­ries race Satur­day (a Cana­dian se­ries but Adam An­dretti of Nazareth, Pa., fin­ished third) and Scott Har­grove of Van­cou­ver won both Porsche GT3 Cup Se­ries races.

It was oh-so-close but no cigar for Zacharie Cla­man De Melo of Mon­treal, who fin­ished se­cond twice in the Indy Lights races held Satur­day and Sun­day. The Indy Lights se­ries, like F2’s re­la­tion­ship to F1, is the last rung on the “Road to Indy” lad­der sys­tem de­signed to pre­pare racedrivers for the big league.

Said De Melo, 19: “I’ll be back next year and I’ll win next year.”

And James Hinch­cliffe of Oakville fin­ished third in the Honda Indy — his se­cond podium in Toronto in two years.

You can’t do much bet­ter than that.

Ni­cholas Lat­ifi got his first win of the sea­son — but fifth podium fin­ish — on the FIA For­mula 2 cir­cuit.

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