Thursday, July 19, 2012
Hawksworth Quickest in Star Mazda Friday Practice for this Weekend's Edmonton Indy
EDMONTON, Alberta -- With the second half-hour practice session of the day completed, English racer Jack Hawksworth has officially topped the time sheets in both sessions; driving his #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda. He was the only driver in the morning session to set a time in the .28's (1:28.923), and was the only driver in practice to shave more than a full second off his time and dip into the .27's (1:27.887). It seems his prediction after this morning's session that he wouldn't be surprised to see a pole time in the low 27's or high 26's was on the mark. Championship leader Hawksworth is coming off two wins from the pole in the last race at the Toronto Indy and has scored four wins, five poles and six fastest race laps so far this season.
Second-fast, as he was in the morning, was 2011 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year Sage Karam, turning a 1:28.654 in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda. But the pleasant surprise was provided by local hotshoe Stefan Rzadzinski, who turned a third-fast lap of 1:28.865 in his #93 JDC Motorsports / PoweredByAlberta.com Mazda. He was 5th-quick in the morning session, and credits his improvement to his familiarity with the track from his Indy Lights adventure here last year, and the power of the 'home town advantage.'
"Sure, knowing the track from last year helped a bit, and racing in my home town in front of all my fans and sponsors is a boost, but I really think I turned a corner in Toronto, though the results might not have showed it," says the 19 year-old Edmonton native. "I gained a lot of confidence that I could run with the fast guys in Toronto, and with the great car that JDC Motorsports is giving me, I'm able to show that here. There's a lot of pressure because unless more funding comes through from my sponsors, this might be my last race, and I've been incredibly busy with marketing, pr and merchandising for the last couple of weeks leading up to this race, but it all goes away when I get in the car. I love driving open-wheel cars and to be running at the front of a field as competitive as this one is a tremendous feeling. I think my pace from today is real, that I can duplicate it tomorrow and carry that into the race."
Rounding out the top-5 were Martin Scuncio with a lap of 1:28.875 in the the #22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus / Gobierno Regional del Bio-Biol Mazda, and Gabby Chaves, who turned a 1:29.005 in the #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro 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 19th-fast with a lap of 1:32.608 in the #42 Robertshaw Racing / SEKO Construction / Web Mechanical Mazda.... fully two seconds quicker than his time in the morning session.
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, but recovered to turn the 13th quick time in the afternoon with a lap of 1:29.864.
Connor De Phillippi
Star Mazda on-track action and the Edmonton Indy continues with qualifying for the PEAK Performance pole at 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.