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Rain forces cancellation of Saturday race 1

The first race of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader has been rolled over to Sunday because of treacherous wet conditions.
The Verizon IndyCar Series fought a valiant battle against the forces of nature on Saturday afternoon, but in the end the rain won the day and forced the cancellation of the first race of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader.

The series will now try and run two complete reconfigured races on Sunday instead, one in the morning at around 10.30am local time (3.30pm BST) and one in the late afternoon at 4.15pm (9.15pm BST). The first race will use a rolling start with the grid set by Saturday morning's qualifying session, while the second will utilise a standing start and set the order according to driver championship points. Both races will be 75 laps in duration rather than the originally planned 85 laps.

The news came after a frustrating day for officials, drivers, team members and of course race fans in Toronto. Race control initially tried to get the race underway on schedule, sending the cars out to circulate behind the safety car in the hope that it would create a dry line around the 1.7-mile, 11-turn street circuit. However, drivers soon reported that visibility in certain parts of the track was down to zero, and with no sign of a break in the persistent rain in sight on the weather radar the pre-race track activity was red flagged and the cars ordered back to pit road.

"They can race in the rain, but it's once they get up to speed and the spray. You can't see anything and it would be mayhem," explained team owner Michael Andretti

Race control gave it another go just under an hour later, with the provisos that the planned standing start would be replaced by a rolling start behind the safety car and the event shortened to a 65-lap (or 90-minute) race. However, even this proved impossible to achieve: on the formation lap, Ryan Briscoe aquaplaned off into the tyres in turn 5, and moments later the pace car itself (driven by none other than Arie Luyendyk) spun off in turn 3.

The final straw was Will Power losing the back end of his Penske and spinning into the barrier on the frontstretch, even before the green flag had been shown to the drivers. Power's car suffered left front and left rear suspension damage and was rolled back to pit road, where he was soon joined by the other 22 cars as the race was once again red flagged without having turned a single official lap.

The cars remained there for another hour - long enough for the Penske team to repair Power's car and also address an electrical issue that had arisen on Juan Pablo Montoya's car in the meantime. They would have to start from the rear alongside Briscoe, but at least they were back in the race.

Except there was no race. Although the rain started to ease off, the radar was showing more inclement weather on the way. With the time already ticking past 6pm and the dwindling daylight starting to become an issue, and with drivers out of the car shivering in sodden overalls and scrounging food wherever they could find it, it was apparent that the race simply wasn't going to happen especially once the TV broadcasters started to cut away to other programming.

The official word was given at 6.15pm (11.15pm BST) with confirmation that the planned qualifying session for the USF2000 support race had also been cancelled for the day.

"We went as late as we could before we called it to do our best to get the race in," explained IndyCar's President of Operations and Competition Derrick Walker. "It would have been crazy to start the race today. I don't think we did the wrong thing.

"I'm here to tell you we do race in the rain, but we also think of our drivers' safety. You can't throw people into those conditions," he added.

"Obviously, we all wanted to get the race in today, but this was the correct call," added Castroneves after activity was suspended for the day. "We really tried to start the race but it was clear that we were going to wreck a lot of cars."

The weather could still prove an issue on Sunday, with a 50 percent chance of precipitation forecast for the area in the afternoon.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rain drops on a space nose cone for Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Cars on track at a wet Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones  for IndyCar Media)
The track layout for the 2016 Grand Prix of Boston. (Illustration courtesy IndyCar Media)
The track layout for the 2016 Grand Prix of Boston. (Illustration courtesy IndyCar Media)
The track layout for the 2016 Grand Prix of Boston. (Illustration courtesy IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Mark Miles and Derrick Walker announce the addition of Boston to the 2016 IndyCar Series itinerary. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
#GetWellSoonHinch on scoring pylon at IMS -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Marco Andretti and Sage Karam at IMS (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Walter Kuhn)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Mike Harding)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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