DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES LATE SEASON STAR MAZDA CHARGE WITH PODIUM FINISH AT MOSPORT Californian MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver remains Rookie of the Year leader following second consecutive top-three BOWMANVILLE, ONT. (August 30, 2010)...
DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES LATE SEASON STAR MAZDA CHARGE WITH PODIUM FINISH
Californian MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver remains Rookie of the Year leader following second consecutive top-three
BOWMANVILLE, ONT. (August 30, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi has established himself as the rookie racer to watch in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, earning a second consecutive podium finish on Saturday afternoon (August 28) at Mosport International Raceway. The highly rated Californian, who is a member of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder program, impressed everyone in Round 12, charging from sixth on the grid to third at the checkered flag. De Phillippi as a result enters the season-finale in a month's time leading the Rookie of the Year title fight and fourth in the overall standings.
Mere days after an inaugural Star Mazda podium finish at Road America, De Phillippi was greatly looking forward to taking to the Mosport road course in Canada for the penultimate race of the season. The talented 17 year-old, having visited the historic track just once previously, was set to challenge for top on the high-speed road course. This was particularly evident after three promoter's test day sessions on Thursday, and the two practice runs o Friday, as the 2009 Skip Barber National series champion ended both days P2 on the speedcharts.
Given De Phillippi's early results at Mosport and his recent podium finish in Round 11, everyone was expecting the No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports car to challenge for the pole position in Saturday morning qualifying. Unfortunately the setup on the car was not quite right for the early morning conditions, and rather than overuse his tires chasing a fast time, De Phillippi elected to pit in sixth place.
Aware that his JDC MotorSports steed was better suited for the hot afternoon conditions come race time, De Phillippi lined-up on row three for the tradition F1-style standing start confident he could work his way forward. The rising American talent promptly did just that. Utilizing a smooth driving style that conserved his tires, De Phillippi quickly found himself among the top-four. De Phillippi joined the top-three on lap 18, executing superb pass in turn 10. Thanks to some help from lapped traffic, the Californian was soon challenging for second place, which he subsequently took over via a brave outside pass in turn eight. Just as it appeared De Phillippi was poised to earn his best-ever Star Mazda result, the yellow flags waved for one of his teammates off in turn one, resulting in a two-lap dash to the checkered flag.
While the initial plan was to attack for the lead on the restart, De Phillippi was immediately forced to defend his runner-up position. Following some light contact in turns one and two, De Phillippi relinquished the spot via a daring pass. While the Rookie of the Year leader looked for a way back past over the course of the next lap and a half, it was not to be, resulting in De Phillippi taking home a hard fought and well deserved second consecutive podium finish in third place.
"It felt great to get another podium!" stated De Phillippi. "We had been fast all weekend, the car was great and I really felt we could challenge for the win. The problems in qualifying hurt us a lot and made things far too difficult on ourselves to challenge for the win. I am so happy that everything seems to be coming together and we are producing the results we are truly capable of. Now it's off to Atlanta were we will be ready to fight for the win."
De Phillippi concludes his first season of Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear competition on September 30-October 1, with Round 13 at Road Atlanta as part of the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans event. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver enters the season-finale leading the Rookie of the Year chase by six points, and laying fourth in the overall title fight.