AIM Autosport scored its third-consecutive Star Mazda Championship podium finish on Saturday -- an even sweeter result because it was in front of the team's hometown crowd during the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto. Devin Cunningham of ...
AIM Autosport scored its third-consecutive Star Mazda Championship podium finish on Saturday -- an even sweeter result because it was in front of the team's hometown crowd during the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto.
Devin Cunningham of St-Bruno, Que., started the No. 33 Discovery Channel Canada Pro Formula Mazda from fifth on the 22-car grid. He gained three positions on the second race restart after a caution period and challenged for the lead on three subsequent restarts, but ultimately settled for second place.
"I was confident coming into the race," he said. "We knew that we had a top-three car, so it was just a matter of pushing and avoiding the accidents in turns one and three. It was about who could make the least mistakes and get the car set up right. The Discovery Channel AIM Autosport car was just bang on and we almost had a fight for the lead, but as the tires heated up, we lost a bit of momentum.
"At first I thought it would be a bit of a distraction racing at home, but it was a confidence booster. One of the reasons I was so quick this weekend was because I pushed every aspect of the car every session. Ultimately, it was a big learning weekend for me."
Natacha Gachnang of St-Gingolph, Switzerland, finished sixth in the No. 35 AIM Mazda after struggling with horsepower on the 1.755-mile street circuit. She started 12th, then alternately gained and lost positions through the 27-lap race.
"We had some problems on the straight. I don't know why; we have to look at that for the next race. It was up and down -- I could go up to sixth, then back to 12th," she said. "There were a lot of crashes and some guys behind me went on my wheels and some guys in front locked the wheels, so I was happy I didn't crash because it was very tight with the walls and there was no place to go. At the end, the car was better, so I just kept going."
AIM co-owner Keith Willis was happy with the team's results.
"It was a great weekend -- it's nice to be at our home track and do really well," he said. "Devin did a fabulous job -- [race winner Dane] Cameron was 'way ahead of the field and Devin was the only one who was keeping close to him. Natacha struggled a little bit with horsepower. We're not sure what is was, we were just down on straight-line speed all of a sudden. Her race pace was excellent as usual. We're going to get her to pick lottery numbers for the team because she's so good at finding her way through the field. It was a great result with her finishing sixth and Devin second."