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Zachary Claman de Melo will replace the injured Pietro Fittipaldi for the 2018 Indianapolis 500 in the #19 Dale Coyne Racing-run IndyCar entry.
Fittipaldi was ruled out of the Indy 500 as a consequence of his World Endurance Championship crash at Spa earlier this month and is not expected to return to IndyCar competition until July’s Mid-Ohio race.
With Fittipaldi having been slated to ride-share the #19 car with Indy Lights graduate de Melo, team boss Dale Coyne had been reluctant to allow the inexperienced de Melo to drive at Indy or the Texas oval.
Coyne spoke to drivers with backing over standing in for Fittipaldi, but no deal materialised other than de Melo – whose sponsors pushed for him to get the seat.
De Melo will now undertake his rookie orientation programme at Indianapolis later today.
“I’m very much looking forward to turning my first laps aboard the #19 Paysafe Indycar on the oval at Indianapolis,” said Claman De Melo.
“It’s an iconic venue and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to drive here.
“Again, it’s unfortunate that it’s under these circumstances with Pietro’s injuries so I realise how lucky I am to have this chance.
“I want to thank Dale [Coyne] and [sponsor] Paysafe for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get on track to complete my rookie orientation program.”
Drivers including Katherine Legge and Sebastien Saavedra had previously been linked to the drive.
2018 Indy 500 entry list
|4||Matheus Leist||AJ Foyt Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|5||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara-Honda|
|6||Robert Wickens||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara-Honda|
|7||Jay Howard||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara-Honda|
|9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|10||Ed Jones||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|13||Danica Patrick||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|14||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|17||Conor Daly||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|18||Sebastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|19||Zachary Claman de Melo||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|20||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|21||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|24||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|25||Stefan Wilson||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|
|26||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|
|27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|
|28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|
|29||Carlos Munoz||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|
|30||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|32||Kyle Kaiser||Juncos Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|33||James Davison||AJ Foyt Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|60||Jack Harvey||Schmidt/Michael Shank Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|63||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara-Honda|
|64||Oriol Servia||Rahal/Scuderia Corsa||Dallara-Honda|
|66||JR Hildebrand||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|88||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||Dallara-Chevrolet|
|98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Dallara-Honda|