Zachary Claman de Melo to stand in for Pietro Fittipaldi at Indy 500

Tom Errington
Autosport
Claman de Melo lands vacant Coyne Indy seat
Claman de Melo lands vacant Coyne Indy seat

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.

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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

1

Josef Newgarden

Penske

Dallara-Chevrolet

3

Helio Castroneves

Penske

Dallara-Chevrolet

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

12

Will Power

Penske

Dallara-Chevrolet

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

22

Simon Pagenaud

Penske

Dallara-Chevrolet

23

Charlie Kimball

Carlin

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

59

Max Chilton

Carlin

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


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