Friday, July 20, 2012
The Usual Suspects, and Some not so Much: Hawksworth Quickest in Star Mazda Practice 1
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Coming off an Indy Toronto weekend in which he won two races in a row from the pole, it's no particular surprise to see English racer Jack Hawksworth - the current championship points leader - at the top of the time sheets in Star Mazda Practice 1 at this weekend's Edmonton Indy. His lap of 1:28.923 in the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda was the only lap in the 28's, with second-quick Sage Karam's fast lap in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda 0.734 sec. slower at 1:29.657. Third quick was Cabby Chaves, with a 1:29.797 in the #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda.
Where it starts to get interesting is the 4th spot on the time sheet, occupied by local driver Stefan Rzadzinski, a regular top-10 finisher so far this season, but here showing the value of lessons learned in his foray into Indy Lights at this event last season. He turned a lap of 1:29.814 in the #93 JDC Motorsports / PoweredByAlberta.com Mazda.
Back to the usual suspects in with Juan Piedrahita 5th fast in the #9 JDC Motorsports / Petrosur / GFK Motors Mazda with a lap of 1:29.971 and in 6th, with Martin Scuncio turning a 1:30.162 in the #22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus / Gobierno Regional del Bio-Biol Mazda. Back to surprises in 7th with Ashley Freiberg turning a 1:30.163 in her #91 JDC Motorsports / TrueCar Mazda.
The other 'local' driver, 53 year-old Alberta businessman/racer Blair Robertshaw, an accomplished amateur racer making his professional open-wheel debut here this weekend, was 18th-fast with a lap of 1:34.899 in the #42 Robertshaw Racing / SEKO Construction / Web Mechanical Mazda.... an entirely reasonable first effort for the circumstances, and he brought the car back all clean and one piece, not necessarily the usual outcome for a driver in his position in his first-ever time on track with the 'fast boys.'
"I quite like this track; it's a very interesting mix of street course and airport circuit, bumpy but very fast," says Hawksworth. "I think there's quite a bit of time left in both the cars and the track and I wouldn't be surprised to see a pole time in the 27s or lower during qualifying tomorrow morning. I think it's likely that this weekend's races will differ from Toronto with less yellows; the track is a lot more open and there are less places to stick a car in the wall, but there are also a lot of hard braking zones where passing is possible, so it should be very competitive."
Continuing the run of hard luck that plagued him at Toronto, Connor De Phillippi, winner of two races so far this season and second in the championship, sat out the practice session with an ignition problem on his #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda. With two years of experience in the series so far, no doubt he will be at the sharp end by the end of the time sheet by the end of this afternoon's practice, but it will be an uphill climb for a deserving young driver who could use a change of fortune.
TORGOEN Swiss Watches/ EXA Networks
West Yorkshire, England
Claro/ Marca Colombia / Tecpro
Petrosur / Colombia es pasion / GFK Motors / Lamd Link
Homer Glen, IL
K12.com / Zakosi Data Backup
Mazda Road to Indy
Team Viso Venezuela
Coto de Caza, CA
Team Viso Venezuela
Rogers TV / Motorola Mobility Canada
Oyster Bay, NY
GrupoKriterion.com / DataFile.com.co
Robertshaw Racing / Seko Construction / Web Mechanical
Connor De Phillippi
ModSpace Racing / One24
San Clemente, CA
Star Mazda on-track action and the Edmonton Indy continues with a second 30-minute practice session from 1:45-2:15 this the afternoon. Qualifying for the PEAK Performance pole will take place 11:00-11:30am Saturday, July 21, with Race 1 of the weekend's double-header taking the green light for the series' spectacular standing start at 2:30pm. Race 2, with the grid set according to the fastest lap turned by each car in Race 1, will take the green at 9:30am Sunday, July 22.
Star Mazda Championship cars all carry two Replay XD1080 cameras to provide exciting driver POV footage for races that are part of the Mazda Motorsports Hour broadcast tape-delayed on Discovery's Velocity Channel in the U.S. and globally on ESPN International. In the U.S., the race will air on Velocity at 12 Noon, Saturday, August 25. In Canada, the Mazda Motorsports Hour airs on Rogers Sports Net; please check your local listings for date and time, or go to http://www.sportsnet.ca/tvschedule.
About Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear
The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is a part of the Mazda Road to Indy, the official driver development program for IndyCar. The 2012 schedule currently includes 17 races on 10 weekends, most with IndyCar. Rising stars from around the world will compete on road courses, street circuits and ovals in front of more than a million fans as they compete for prizes valued at $1.2 million, including a scholarship to move up and race in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights series. Drivers 16 and older are welcome to compete and the Star Mazda Championship also features the Expert Series for drivers 30 and older. The Star Mazda Championship features standing starts, wheel-to-wheel racing at 160 mph and budgets a fraction of other top open-wheel ladder series. For more information on the Star Mazda Championship please visit www.starmazda.com.
For more information on the Star Mazda Championship and its drivers, as well as the Mazda Motorsports ladder system, please visit www.starmazda.com and www.mazdausa.com.
For information, interviews and photos, please contact Star Mazda Communications Director Peter Frey at (818) 398-5733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.