DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES STAR MAZDA ROOKIE TITLE CHASE WITH TOP-FIVE AT AUTOBAHN MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver remains third in Rookie of the Year title chase after Illinois doubleheader JOLIET, ILL. (August 4, 2010) - Connor De ...
DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES STAR MAZDA ROOKIE TITLE CHASE WITH TOP-FIVE AT AUTOBAHN
MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver remains third in Rookie of the Year title chase after Illinois doubleheader
JOLIET, ILL. (August 4, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi continued his quest for top rookie honors in the highly competitive Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear this past weekend (July 31-August 1), with an up-and-down affair at the Autobahn Country Club. The highly rated Californian was on pace to keep his superb run of seven of top-10s alive in Illinois, however contact in Round Eight relegated him to 14th at the stripe. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver however rebounded in Round Nine with a strong fifth place result, keeping him third in the Rookie of the Year standings.
As followers of De Phillippi have come to expect, the JDC MotorSports racer wasted little time getting up to speed when the Star Mazda field first took to the technical Autobahn road course via a Thursday track test day. Despite primarily focusing on finding the right balance for his No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports entry, De Phillippi topped the final test run. The reigning Skip Barber National title holder continued to show good speed in Friday's practice sessions, posting the fourth fastest time in the dry morning run.
After a wet second practice session on Friday, De Phillippi was again greeted by less than ideal wet conditions on Saturday morning for Round Eight qualifying. While the combination of traffic and slick conditions prevented the young up-and-comer from challenging for the pole position as desired, he did earn a row three starting place for the afternoon race, ensuring he was well placed to challenge for top honors.
De Phillippi got away cleanly when the lights went out on a dry track, settling into a fast but comfortable rhythm. With passing difficult on the twisty 3.56-mile road course, the California teenager was made the most of every opportunity to work his way forward within the top-10. Unfortunately his chances at a strong result ended, when contact with another car damaged his JDC entry. Battling the injured and overheating car all the way to the checkered flag, De Phillippi was classified 14th at the stripe.
While De Phillippi was still disappointed in how race one of the doubleheader had played out when he returned to the track on Sunday, he put it behind him as he strapped into his MAZDASPEED Motorsports-backed car for morning qualifying session. Battling traffic and a car handling not quite right, De Phillippi ended the session with the eighth fastest time.
Determined to re-fire his Rookie of the Year chase, De Phillippi got a good launch when Round Nine commenced, rapidly becoming one of the lone front-runners able work his way forward. The JDC MotorSports driver, showing good speed, skill and racecraft, steadily advanced up the scoring charts as the 45-minute race progressed, eventually taking the checkered flag in a well deserved fifth place, his fifth top-five of the season.
"This weekend was definitely up and down," stated De Phillippi. "We showed good speed, but struggled to find that last little bit of time. An off early in Saturday's race forced me to pit due to overheating, and it really went down hill from there. We moved onto Sunday and focused on that podium that we've been wanting. In the end we recorded another solid top-five run, and will move onto the next race with hopefully an even better car."
De Phillippi returns to action on August 14-15, with Round 10 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear taking place on the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Que. The Californian makes his first visit to the historic street circuit lying third in the Rookie of the Year chase, and seventh in the overall title fight.