EJ Viso has lashed out at fellow second year IndyCar Series driver Mario Moraes following not one, but two, incidents of contact between them during Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto.
Despite starting a disappointed 16th on the series' first visit to the former Champ Car venue, Viso's HVM team kept the #13 Dallara-Honda competitive throughout and a second top ten finish of a troubled season appeared to be in sight. Viso was running in seventh position with just 13 laps of the 85 remaining when he pushed into the wall as Moraes tried to dive to the inside of turn three, and the collision also left the #13 with a right rear puncture, forcing the team to make an unscheduled third stop.
“We were a bit scared at the start because we didn't test [in the warm-up] and we had plenty of changes to the car because we had a [driveshaft] failure mechanical failure, but we were having a good race," Viso fumed, "I need to say that the changes were all positive, everything was going good and we had a good strategy. Everything was paying off - then I had a big hit on the rear tyre, and I got a flat because Moraes got into me in the braking of corner three. That's disappointing. That's what put me in position 13."
What really incensed the Venezuelan, however, was a second altercation between the pair after the chequered flag
, prompting him to refer to his assailant in a Facebook
update as 'a monkey with a bag of money'.
“The race was over - I already had my visor open, I was drinking water - and, you can see it in the video, he came once more," Viso confirmed, "He just hit me and spun me in the back straight. I can't understand what he was thinking. The race was over.”
HVM team principal Keith Wiggins was equally frustrated by the earlier incident, feeling that a season-high result may have gone begging.
“We worked on developing the set-up of the car over the course of the weekend and we were confident we would have a good car for the race," he said, "Once again, we were focusing on the race strategy, which was playing out well until the incident with Moraes. That, unfortunately, took us out of a top six finish.”
Moraes has already attracted criticism from other sections of the IndyCar field, most notably from Marco Andretti after the pair clashed on the opening lap of the Indianapolis 500 in May [see story HERE
]. Continuing his Toronto race with a front wing clearly damaged in the contact with Viso, he became embroiled in the lap 75 tangle as Tomas Scheckter, trying to pass on the inside of turn three, was collected by Alex Tagliani. Moraes eventually finished eleventh.