Pagenaud holds off Dixon to take Toronto IndyCar

TORONTO, Canada (AFP) – France’s Simon Pagenaud held off a furious late rally from Scott Dixon to win the Honda Indy Toronto last Sunday.

Pagenaud, who had started on pole, appeared to be cruising to victory through the streets of the Canadian city after dominating almost from start to finish.

However, Pagenaud was made to work hard for his third win of 2019 after New Zealander Dixon closed in following the final round of pit stops.

Traffic allowed Dixon to cut Pagenaud’s lead from five seconds to less than a second.

That meant Pagenaud was forced to manage his fuel carefully to take the chequered flag in the 85-lap race.

Pagenaud later praised his Team Penske crew for setting up the win.

“It’s not the way I love to race, but Chevy did a great job of giving us an update for this weekend and it paid off,” Pagenaud told NBC television.

“On the fuel situation, it was tremendous. The car was fast all day. I never really got in trouble with anyone so I’m just delighted. It was perfect execution from the Penske Team.”

Dixon meanwhile settled for second, and lamented his lack of passing opportunities on the circuit.

“It’s just so hard to pass here,” he said. “We just weren’t able to get close enough to get a good run on the straights.”

Alexander Rossi completed the podium to take third while championship rival Josef Newgarden finished in fourth despite an eventful race which saw him hit a wall with four laps left.

Newgarden remains in the lead of the drivers championship with a four-point lead over Rossi.

Meanwhile, the race had packed an emotional punch before the cars set off, when Canadian driver Robert Wickens took to the track for an emotional warm-up lap.