Three AWR Drivers Are in Top Six In Star Mazda Action at Mosport BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 3 - Andersen Walko Racing's Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa. finished second in the Star Mazda race at Mosport International Raceway here Saturday.
Three AWR Drivers Are in Top Six In Star Mazda Action at Mosport
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 3 - Andersen Walko Racing's Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa. finished second in the Star Mazda race at Mosport International Raceway here Saturday. Two of his teammates - Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio and Pablo Donoso of Santiago, Chile - finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
The fourth driver for the team, which is based in Fairfield, N.J. and North Versailles, Pa., - Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill. - was involved in an accident on lap 11 of the 28-lap race while running 12th and ended up 30th in the final rundown.
With his second-place finish Pecorari unofficially breaks the tie for second in the overall point standings and holds that position on his own with 362 points to the leader's 387. Rahal is fourth, Donoso is sixth and Klein is tied for 13th with two races left in the 2005 season. They will be held at Road Atlanta Sept. 28-30 (part of the Petit Le Mans) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Oct. 13-15.
Pecorari's second-place finish was as good as a victory. Although British invader Jay Howard actually won the race in his series debut, he's not entered in the overall championship this year so Pecorari pocketed 44 points for second instead of the 40 that the runner-up usually receives. That practice continued down the roster.
The top six on Saturday were Howard, Pecorari, point leader Raphael Matos, polesitter James Hinchcliffe, Rahal and Donoso. Hinchcliffe led in the early going before Howard got the lead on lap six. Howard led the rest of the way and he had a 1.085-second advantage over Pecorari's SAI Hydraulics No. 23 at the checkered.
Pecorari qualified fourth but moved into third at the start. He passed the eventual winner for second place by the end of the first lap around the 2.49-mile road course. He held second through lap four before Howard got by him to push him to third. Howard passed Hinchcliffe for the lead on the next lap and Pecorari followed them both until lap 19 when he got by Hinchcliffe to seal up the runner-up honors.
Rahal qualified sixth in his car, which is sponsored by The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, Bosch, Renier Construction and Norwalk Furniture. He ran in seventh until lap 17 when he passed Marco Andretti, and he got fifth with five laps to go by passing Donoso.
Donoso qualified seventh in his Cristal Beer entry. He had the best start of the group, vaulting three positions to fourth by the end of lap one. He ran in fourth until lap 22 when Matos got around him. Two laps later Rahal did the same to push him to sixth at the finish.
Klein was in the top four during the test day on Thursday. He qualified 12th Saturday morning in his car, which is sponsored by Nexus Distribution Corp., Midwest Steel & Services, Ironclad Performance Wear and ProStar. He held that spot until he and Sean Guthrie tangled on a restart on lap 11 to bring out the second and final yellow in the race.
A total of 31 drivers competed in the event, which was presented by Goodyear and was a support event for the Labour Day Grand Prix of Mosport American Le Mans Series headliner.
Robbie Pecorari: "I got a great start and was able to move into second place, fell back to third when Jay got past me, and then went wheel-to-wheel with James as we came into turn eight and was able to move into second. Once clear, the car was really good the first couple of laps and then I started pushing too hard coming through five onto the backstraight and the car got loose so I couldn't close the gap."
"That's pretty much all there is to say. The car was good. We had some understeer in a couple of places, but other than that it was good."
"We still have two races left, and now I think I'm just 25 points behind Raphael. I think we have a good chance for the championship if we don't make any mistakes."
Pablo Donoso: "The race was OK. I had a really good start. I got past Marco [Andretti] in turn three, but after that I couldn't catch Robbie. I had a problem with something in the engine and Matos passed me, and after that I touched the dirt. Then Graham passed me and I finished sixth. Our cars were very close. He passed me when I touched the dirt."
Graham Rahal: "I kind of had a bad start, and Pablo got around me. Then I went down out of turn three and Matos pulled me into the grass, and that let Andretti get by us both."
"Then I was just trying to make my way back up. I got Andretti going into three. I got a good run on him and just passed him. Then I caught Pablo and snuck by him on the backstraightaway."
"The car was pretty good. We're struggling with a few things. We don't quite have the straightaway speed we need, but other than that it was pretty good. We need to find some things, but we'll get there."
Jonathan Klein: "I had a problem at the start with another driver. He moved me over, and I had to go up and over a curb. I got up in the air, and when it came down it bent something. Rossella [Manfrinato] and Scott [Gates] had done an excellent job with the car, but I was battling handling problems because of that incident. It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't right either."
"Then we had a yellow, and when the race went green again Sean Guthrie was sleeping or something; he wasn't on the gas as much as I was for the green. He clipped my left front, and that was it. It was another disappointing weekend."
"I'm looking forward to Atlanta; I usually do well there. I know Rosella and Scott will do a great job, so I have high hopes for Atlanta."