Daniel Di Leo Dominates in Sebring Opener Pole, fast lap, track record and victory in Pro Mazda debut. March 20, 2004 Sebring, FL -- Less than two weeks after signing with the Star Race Car team, Markham, Ontario's Daniel Di Leo (Star ...
Daniel Di Leo Dominates in Sebring Opener
Pole, fast lap, track record and victory in Pro Mazda debut.
March 20, 2004 Sebring, FL -- Less than two weeks after signing with the Star Race Car team, Markham, Ontario's Daniel Di Leo (Star Race Cars, Select Auto Collision, WTF Solutions, Autosports Media) scored his first career Star Mazda Pro Series victory in impressive style scoring a perfect weekend. After qualifying pole in the early morning session, Di Leo went on to win the first event of 2004 in dominating fashion.
Di Leo started the race day in fine form by out pacing all 33 competitors during the morning qualifying session. Setting a new track record with the quickest lap of the weekend, the 21-year-old would bring the field to the green flag in the afternoon race.
"The start was a little dicey," explained Di Leo. "I didn't get the best jump and with such a competitive field that cost me the lead. When all was said and done I was just happy to have made it through the first lap and I knew if I ran a clean race and just got into my groove everything would sort itself out."
On lap 7, Di Leo found himself trailing by more than five seconds, yet the composed Canadian stuck to his game plan and began running down the leader. Di Leo put his head down and began to turn some fast and consistent race laps outpacing the leader and closing the gap with each and every passing circuit. A bold move down the inside of turn 1 saw the talented Canadian take the lead and never look back. Using his experience in high-speed winged cars, Di Leo worked through lapped traffic with ease on route to his first major victory of 2004.
"I am so happy for the team," stated an excited Di Leo. "We have done very little testing, and I just met the guys last week. The car was prepped immaculately and I couldn't have done it without these guys."
In the debut race for the new Pro Mazda machines, series officials managed to work through minor problems to start an astounding 33 car field at Sebring International Raceway during the American Le Mans weekend. All in attendance were extremely impressed with the performance of the cars and drivers alike. With 10 weeks off until round 2 at Mid-Ohio, several teams and drivers including the Star Race Car Team have scheduled test days to further develop their cars.
"I'm really looking forward to this year's battle," commented Di Leo. "With such a big break early in the season, and with the championship lead, I'm really going to buckle down on my fitness program, and use my testing opportunities to come out even stronger for round 2."
For series information, race results, up-to-date points and press releases, please visit the Star Mazda Series website at www.starmazda.com
For more information on Daniel Di Leo, sponsorship opportunities or his Star Mazda Pro Series program, please feel free to contact Autosports Media at 416-678-4939 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org