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.
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.