March 19, 2009 - Sebring, Florida: It has been an interesting week for the AIM Autosport Star Mazda crew. In town since Monday (16th), test sessions were going well and the team was able to make decisions on the new aero package that had each...
March 19, 2009 - Sebring, Florida: It has been an interesting week for the AIM Autosport Star Mazda crew. In town since Monday (16th), test sessions were going well and the team was able to make decisions on the new aero package that had each driver running a slightly different mix. By the first official practice on Wednesday though, some gremlins crept in that mostly affected rookie driver David Ostella (CAN) while Peter Demspey (IRL) and Jorge Goncalvez (VE) experimented with setup issues.
Goncalvez continued to improve through morning practice on Thursday, sitting top five in the early going. Dempsey was fourth when an off-track excursion damaged the floor of the car and he would complete only seven laps. Ostella's gearbox problems persisted and he too would end the session early.
A flurry of activity under the AIM tent and the cars would get to the grid for afternoon qualifying with everyone confident of a good run. Both Goncalvez and Dempsey showed improvement over their morning times with Jorge sitting fourth and Peter fifth. Ostella meanwhile, was having a good run without any issues and was as high as tenth. Once they were comfortable with their cars, all three drivers came in for a set of sticker Goodyear tires.
Dempsey completed 17 laps with his best, a 2:01.198 on lap eight, right after going to fresh tires, good enough for fifth on the grid. Goncalvez would settle in to eighth spot with a 2:01.393 which he recorded on his next to last lap. Ostella recovered nicely and will start the race from the inside of row seven (13th). He recorded a lap of 2:02.098 and was back where he had been running in the test days earlier in the week.
Aim Autosport team manager Keith Willis had these comments. "After all the little problems we had with David's car, we are pleased with the outcome. He was up in the top ten early in the week and he is close to that with much improved times."
"Peter is there, although we would have like to be on pole, although top three would have been nice. It is tough out there this weekend but we are feeling good for race day."
"As for Jorge, we are very pleased with his progress. He has been getting stronger through every session and the payoff is a top ten in qualifying. This is a good result for the young rookie and he should have a very good race."
Willis continued, "This is the first race of the season and the first race for this entire driver/crew combination so we are all still learning. We are looking forward to the race tomorrow and hoping for a good result for each of our drivers."