Brabham scores another Pro Mazda win
Matthew Brabham continued his domination of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires this afternoon with a perfect script in Race 1 of the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres. The Andretti Autosport driver started on pole, managed a perfect getaway in only the second standing start of the season and led all 40 green-flag laps to claim his 10th win of the year. Adding an exclamation point by posting the fastest lap of the race aboard the #83 MAZDASPEED entry, the 19-year-old came away with maximum points to extend his championship lead to 73 points over Diego Ferreira of Juncos Racing.
Ferreira, who has been doing everything in his power to slice into Brabham’s points lead, came across the line in second to post his 10th podium of the season. The Venezuelan talent dropped back to third at the start, losing a position to teammate Scott Anderson, but regained the spot five laps later. Ferreira then drove a flawless race – and set the second-fastest lap – but he was unable to make up any ground on Brabham, who extended his margin in the lead to 10.8 seconds by race end.
The most hotly-contested battle in the closing stages was between JDC Motorsport’s Juan Piedrahita and Anderson. Piedrahita, who started fourth, managed to pass Anderson for third on Lap 11 and generate a gap but Anderson was able to make up ground and the pair ran nose to tail as the checkered flags loomed. Piedrahita held on to earn his third podium of the season.
Spencer Pigot of Team Pelfrey was the biggest mover in the field. After gaining two positions at the start, Pigot faced off with Shelby Blackstock in a spirited duel for fifth position, eventually passing the Andretti Autosport driver on Lap 17 for his ninth top-five result of the year and earning the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award in the process.
Additional contingency awards included the PFC Award to the winning team of Andretti Autosport and the Staubli Award to Stefan Rzadzinski of Team Pelfrey. The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda driver made his first Pro Mazda start of the season today, finishing eighth.
In the Expert Class, Bobby Eberle notched his second win of the season driving for World Speed Motorsports.
With his win today, Brabham is in a position to clinch the Pro Mazda championship in Race 2 at 9:00 am ET tomorrow if he can finish 65 points clear of Ferreira as only two rounds remain on the schedule with a maximum of 65 points available.
Matthew Brabham, #83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport (Andretti Autosport) – First: “It has been an absolutely fantastic weekend for us. My dad has been here before so he was coaching me along although the track has changed a bit since he was here. I was ready for the lights, had a great start and managed to begin pulling a gap. I was the opposite of Diego [Ferreira] in that I was hoping a yellow flag wouldn’t come out. It didn’t and I managed to post consistent laps, keep it off the wall and bring it home. It was a great race for me.”
|Brabham (C) flanked by Diego Fereira (2nd) and Juan Piedrahita (3rd)|
Diego Ferreira, #57 Team Viso Venezuela/Mindeporte (Juncos Racing) – Second: “I am really happy to get another podium. I made a mistake at the start. I wasn’t ready when the lights came and lost two positions. I was able to pass and get back up to second place. I was waiting for a yellow flag but it never came.”
Juan Piedrahita, #9 Petrosur/Sisolec/GFK Motors/Red Line Oil (JDC MotorSports) – Third: “I am happy to be here. Yesterday we had a really hard day. We had a problem with the car in qualifying. From the first laps today, my car was really fast and it was so nice to drive. I passed Scott [Anderson] and then just pulled away. By the end, I was struggling a little bit but I could keep it on track and hold on for third place. I want to thank the team for all the hard work.”
Bobby Eberle, #13 GOPUSA.com/MSR Houston/Method Evolution (World Speed Motorsports) – First (Expert): “I really enjoyed today. It was my first street course, my first standing start – a lot of first’s this weekend. The track is awesome. You get used to it as you go along. In the first practice on Friday, I thought there was no way you could go through some of those corners fast. We were able to get quicker and quicker and I had my best laps at the end of the race. I felt really good about it and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”