AIM Autosport was poised for a strong Star Mazda Championship race in Trois-RiviÃ¨res, Que., on Sunday, but both team cars were zapped by a multi-car crash on the first turn of the 39-lap race. Devin Cunningham of St-Bruno, Que., started the No.
AIM Autosport was poised for a strong Star Mazda Championship race in Trois-Rivières, Que., on Sunday, but both team cars were zapped by a multi-car crash on the first turn of the 39-lap race.
Devin Cunningham of St-Bruno, Que., started the No. 33 Discovery Channel Canada Pro Formula Mazda 13th on the 26-car grid after a difficult qualifying session that held his fastest lap to one minute 3.637 seconds on the 2.433-km street circuit. With setup changes made after qualifying, he charged ahead at the race start, gaining seven positions. His progress was for naught, though, as he had contact with a spinning competitor and lost the car's left-rear suspension. He watched the rest of the race from pit lane.
"It's a great track," he enthused. "It's pretty difficult to set the car up; it's an unconventional setup. It changed a lot from last year, so the old setups were sort of thrown out the window and we had to come up with something.
"I had a great car for the race. It's just unfortunate I got taken out by somebody else. It ripped my rear wheel off -- it went flying in the air -- so I just pulled over to the side of the track and had to stop. The half-shaft came out, everything came off. I felt that the car was pretty good; I'm pretty sure it would have been a podium [finish]."
Natacha Gachnang of St-Gingolph, Switzerland, qualified the No. 35 Mazda ninth in 1:03.168. She rocketed away from the green flag, quickly earning four positions. However, she, too, was caught in the melee and limped back to pit lane with extensive damage to the nose of the car. With the bodywork caught under the car, she couldn't turn, so lost a lap in pit lane. Back on track, she ran faster than the leaders, but couldn't overcome the lap deficit. She finished 13th.
"The start was pretty good. I started ninth and at the end of the straight, I was fourth or fifth, so it was a really good start," she said. "But then [Jonathan] Goring touched my wheels and I did a half-spin and then Nick Haye arrived and took my nose. I had to go to the pit and change the nose, so when I got back on track I was one lap back. But the car was really good; I was really happy it was fast."