AJ Allmendinger scored his third win in succession for Forsythe Racing with another hard fought performance in Sunday's Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.

In an exciting and entertaining 86-lap battle around Toronto's 1.755-mile Exhibition Place street circuit Allmendinger had to cope with a number of different challengers as well as several different fuel strategies as he continued his red-hot streak with Gerald Forsythe's team.

But when the chequered flag flew Allmendinger had not only asserted himself as the dominant driver on the day but had also moved into second place in the championship standings only 23 markers behind early season runaway leader Sebastien Bourdais.

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From the outside of the front row of the grid Allmendinger went one better than the last race in Cleveland as he negotiated the opening lap unscathed but soon found himself running mid-pack after an early race caution period saw most, but not all teams pit for fuel and tyres.

The early pit strategy shuffle promoted Nelson Philippe into the lead and the young Frenchman held on to the point until he made his first stop on lap 35.

By this time Allmendinger had long since worked his way passed polesitter Justin Wilson and moved into the lead when Philippe stopped. After being held up behind the CTE Racing-HVM machine for many laps, AJ showed his true pace as soon as he was in clean air and extended the gap to his nearest pursuers from two to seven seconds over the next seven laps.

Behind Allmendinger at this point a terrific tussle for what had become second place was brewing between Wilson, Bourdais and home crowd favourite Paul Tracy. Sensing that Allmendinger was escaping to victory Tracy put on a street circuit passing clinic as he dispatched Bourdais and Wilson on successive laps in turn three to take second spot on lap 42 and soon set about catching his teammate.

By lap 51 the gap between the first two had shrunk back to just two seconds but in the laps following their second pitstops, which came shortly after the 50-lap mark Allmendinger was able to extend that advantage to more than three seconds.

While the lead shifted back to Oriol Servia, and then Philippe again during the pit stop window Allmendinger and Tracy found themselves comfortably ahead of the rest of the field when the order finally settled down.

After resuming in the lead on lap 63 Allmendinger caught something of a break when Tracy was briefly slowed behind the lapped car of Andrew Ranger but as the final stint wore on Tracy began eating into his lead once again and was within two seconds of the leader when the yellow flags came out on lap 77 for a nasty looking crash involving Servia and Philippe at the end of the main straight.

Both drivers involved were uninjured in the crash, which occurred when the chasing Philippe appeared to misjudge his braking and rode over the right rear tyre of Servia's PKV Racing entry while the two were scrapping over fifth place.

The third and final caution of the afternoon not only wiped out any lingering fears over fuel mileage but it also wiped out Allmendinger's lead although due to the amount of debris left by the two participants the field was only left with a four lap sprint to the chequered flag.

Allmendinger's restart was nearly perfect and he avoided a Tracy assault into turn three on the restart lap. Although the 2003 champion briefly looked like a threat on lap 84 Allmendinger extended his advantage over the final lap and a half to take the chequered flag 1.8-seconds ahead of his teammate and take second place in the overall standings from his former RuSPORT teammate Justin Wilson.

Although Wilson held second at the 40-lap mark, his #9 CDW backed Lola went off the boil in the second half of the race and after succumbing to Tracy on lap 42 he also let title rival Bourdais slip through at the same point five laps later. The lanky Englishman would eventually finish fourth, one place behind Bourdais, who now holds a 23 point lead in the standings over Allmendinger and a 26 point margin over Wilson.

Cristiano da Matta emerged from relative anonymity to take fifth place in the closing stages after Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira delayed one another. Tagliani would finish sixth on an afternoon where he executed clean passes on both Newman-Haas Racing cars in the tricky turn five area, with his Team Australia Will Power the leading rookie in seventh.

Junqueira completed the lead lap finishers in eighth position with Charles Zwolsman and Andrew Ranger rounding out the top ten.

There was double disappointment for the two British rookie drivers as Katherine Legge retired from 13th position with gearbox problems and Dan Clarke spun into early retirement and was classified 17th and last.