Hawksworth Wins Again in Star Mazda Race 1 at Trois-Rivieres
Well, if you're going to start from the pole, never put a wheel wrong and pull out a 24.394-second lead over your nearest competitor by the time the checkered flag waves, then you're going to have a lonely race. But, on a track that demands a surgeon's precision, it was also a magnificent race as English rising star Jack Hawksworth dissected the competition to score his seventh win from his eighth pole driving the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda. And, given that he turned the fastest lap of the race - for the 9th time this season - he will start from the pole in tomorrow's Race 2.
Finishing 2nd, 24.394-second back, was Sage Karam, who started third on the grid after qualifying just 2/10ths of a second off Hawksworth's pole time in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda. Crossing the line third was Connor De Phillippi in the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda. If scarcely happy - young men with a champion's temperament are rarely happy unless standing on the top step of the podium - he did at least seem to break the streak of bad luck that had dogged him relentlessly for the past several weekends.
And special notice must be taken of the drive put in by Alex Ardoin, the racer from Lafayette, Louisiana, who after two years out of a race car, joined his old team for this one race and, after qualifying 8th, brought the #51 Team GDT Mazda home in 4th place. An almost magical achievement given the depth of talent in this year's field, and a sad testimonial to a tremendous talent going to waste for lack of funding.
"The Pelfrey team gave me a very well-balanced car for the race, which is critical here, because the roads that make up the circuit are so heavily crowned that a foot one way or another in apexing a turn can completely change the balance of the car," said Hawksworth (center), who, it must be admitted, doesn't look particularly lonely in the victory photo. "According to the weather man, there's a 90 percent chance of rain tomorrow, and that will throw a cat in among the pigeons, since no one has raced in the rain here, but we have a good program for quickly finding grip under any conditions, and finding it ahead of everyone else will tell the tale."
The race started with a bit of a flub as, for the second time in three weekends, the #33 Team GDT / Rogers TV / Motorola Mobility Canada Mazda of Ryan Tveter failed and left him stranded on the starting grid. This brought out a full-course yellow that only lasted one lap - the only full course yellow of the race - and when racing resumed on Lap 3, it was Hawksworth again quickly in the lead and pulling out a gap at the rate of nearly a second a lap. Lap 8 saw the lone Quebec racer, Jerimy Daniel, pulling his #10 The Racing Company / FixAuto / Sherwin-Williams Mazda into the pits with mechanical problems, and on Lap 11, Diego Ferreria put his #57 Juncos Racing / Team Viso Venezuela into the tires - but both were handled with local yellows.
By Lap 16, the race had developed into the lone Hawksworth out front, Karam several seconds back and also running by himself in second, and then the 'gang of four,' including De Phillippi, Ardoin, Gabby Chaves (#19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda) who went on to finish 5th, and Petri Suvanto in the #81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda. Suvanto, the 2011 USF2000 Champion who is racing in Star Mazda this season with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy, eventually brushed the wall on lap 33, deranging his front win and dropping him to a 14th.
||Connor De Phillippi
Star Mazda on-track action at the GP3R at Trois-Rivières continues with Sunday's Race 2, featuring the series' spectacular F1-style standing start scheduled for 11:00 am on Sunday, August 5. The grid will be determined by the fastest lap turned by each car in Race 1, which means Hawksworth will start from the pole and will be joined on the front row by his Team Pelfrey teammate, Petri Suvanto.
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, September 1. 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.
Trois-Rivieres is the final event of a three-weekend swing through Canada, including the Toronto Indy, Edmonton Indy and GP3R. The next event on the schedule is the Indy Grand Prix of Baltimore on September 1-2.