Continuing his string of pole position qualifying efforts, Indianapolis native Conor Daly, the current series points leader with five wins and seven poles, will start on the inside of the front row for tomorrow's Round 10 of the 20th anniversary 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the 41st annual GP3R at Trois-Rivières. Daly earned his position on the grid with a lap of 1:01.617 in his #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda. Starting alongside Daly, appropriately enough, will be the Norwegian racer who is currently second in the championship battle, Anders 'The Viking' Krohn. He turned a lap just 8/100ths of a second slower, 1:01.698, in his #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda.
Rounding out the top-4 are Brazilian driver Caio Lara (3rd in the championship battle), on the inside of the second row with a lap of 1:01.792 in the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW Mazda, followed by the 'surprise factor' in the race, last year's winner Alex Ardoin of Lafayette, Louisiana who turned a lap of 1:01.830 in the #51 Team GDT / General Data Tech / Oral and Facial Surgery Center Mazda. It is worth noting that Ardoin has not driven a race car since the end of last season, and was in Trois-Rivières as a driver coach for the Team GDT drivers when the team owner and leading Expert Series driver, Texan J.W. Roberts, decided to put him in a car for the race. Although a 3-season veteran of the series and winner of this race in 2009, Ardoin had not driven a lap in anger for the better part of a year. That notwithstanding, the talented young Cajun – resigned to a weekend with friends -- responded to a request from Team GDT by flying up to Trois-Rivières on a moment's notice to coach their drivers. As such situations will, it developed into him entered as the team's third driver for the event.
Home-town hero Mikael Grenier, will start 7th on the grid with a lap of 1:02.097 in the #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda. He was quicker in practice, but his car suffered from a fuel pump failure during the early laps and his time is not really an indicator of his capabilities; look for a charge up through the field from the young Quebec racer who won his first race at New Jersey Motorsports Park earlier in the season and is currently 4th in the points. It should also be noted that Grenier was named the official spokesperson for the GP3R for the next two years at an announcement will be made by GP3R General Manager Francois Bordeleau and GP3R President Joël St Pierre during a press conference in Quebec City, on Tuesday morning.
In addition to young hotshoes from around the globe, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear also features a race-within-a-race for drivers in the Expert (ages 30-44) and Master (45 and older) Series. Last year's Expert Series winner, the aforementioned Texan J.W. Roberts, won his class at the 40th annual GP3R and has continued his winning ways; he is the leading the Expert Series with six in-class wins so far this season driving the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda. He will start 16th in the 18-car field with a time of 1:03.741.
The 18-car field will take the green light for the traditional standing start at 1:00 pm tomorrow. The race is scheduled for 45 minutes and will be broadcast in two different formats; on RDS in Quebec (in HD, tape-delayed until later in the month), and worldwide via streaming video through a pay service offered by the Grand Prix. Please visit PPV.DL2-Timing.com for additional information.
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