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Hinchcliffe targets Toronto after 'bizarre exit' at Glen

Despite being a proud Canadian, James Hinchcliffe was still hoping for some Independence Day fireworks in Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen International. Sadly, the event proved to be something of a damp squib as he made an uncharacteristic early exit.

A promising start from third on the grid, despite battling a suddenly loose #7 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, looked set to pave the way for a bid on the lead, but the 22-year old rookie's race ended abruptly just seven laps into proceedings when he was pitched into the wall at turn six as the result of a sudden brake bias issue.

“It was just a bizarre way to exit the race,” claimed a still perplexed 'Hinch' upon his return to his native Toronto, “Normally when you spin out of a race like that, you know that either something broke on the car or you messed up, but that wasn't the case this time round and I was a little bemused sitting in the car post-incident.

"We ended up looking over all the data and it turned out that, for some reason, the brake bias had switched from the front to the rear of the car as I braked into the turn, meaning I locked up the rear wheels. That's what pitched me suddenly into the spin and, ultimately, out of the race.”

Points leader JR Hildebrand went on to claim a second win of the season, and now has a healthy 58-point lead over second-placed Mario Romancini after coming home ahead of polesitter James Davison and debutant Felipe Guimaraes. With Romancini and Wade Cunningham both joining him on the sidelines, however, Hinchcliffe knew that an opportunity to advance his own claims to the title had gone begging.

“It's pretty frustrating, simply from the point of view that other than JR scoring well, the rest of the guys around me in the standings didn't fare too well, so it would have been an opportune time to collect some decent points," he sighed.

"I was fighting a pretty loose car out there, but had it under control - I'd actually just set the fastest lap of the race before exiting dramatically. The good news is that I don't have long to dwell on Watkins Glen as we're back racing again this weekend and, better than that, we're back home in Toronto!”

Round nine of the Firestone Indy Lights Series is the first to run outside the confines of the USA, as the championship breaks new ground - in its current guise at least - to join the IndyCar Series on the streets of Hinchcliffe's home town.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe - Sam Schmidt Motorsports   [pic credit:IRL/Garrett]
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

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