In a foggy and tense qualifying session that resembled the 'waiting game' practice by Formula 1 teams, championship points leader Dane Cameron turned just eight laps, but one of them a true flier of 1:15.745 (116.871 mph) -- and then waited until...
In a foggy and tense qualifying session that resembled the 'waiting game' practice by Formula 1 teams, championship points leader Dane Cameron turned just eight laps, but one of them a true flier of 1:15.745 (116.871 mph) -- and then waited until the clock ticked down -- to score his fifth pole of the season for this afternoon's Round Ten of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at Mosport.
"We've been making good progress throughout the sessions leading up to the weekend, and we have a race-winning car whether the weather is wet or dry for the race," said the 18 year-old from Sonoma, California who has won three races and finished on the podium three times so far this year. "My total focus right now is to win this race and try to wrap the title up at the next race at Road Atlanta in October. The JDC team is working at a very high level right now, despite a very limited budget, and we're all feeling very confident."
Cameron set a quick lap in the low 1:16s early in the session, and sat in the pits watching Jonathan Goring of Norfolk, Connecticut, whittle away at the 4/10ths of a second gap that separated the two. When it got down to 2/10ths, Cameron displayed one of the indispensable qualities of a top driver by taking to the track for an additional three laps and going a half-second faster before returning to watch the clock in pit lane.
The skies opened up for their daily downpour just minutes after the session ended, but before they did, Goring, driver of the his #14 Andersen Racing/Skip Barber Racing Mazda, turned a lap of 1:16.047 (116.407 mph), slotting in next to Cameron on the front row of the starting grid.
Directly behind Cameron, third on the grid, will be Canadian racer Lorenzo Mandarino, who led last week's Round Nine at Trois Rivi0x00e8res before being punted off into the Turn 6 tire wall. He turned a lap of 1:16.059 (116.389 mph) in his #15 Team G.FRO/Newway Forming Mazda.
Rounding out the top-5 for this afternoon's race are Toronto's Marco Di Leo, driver of the #21 Maxwell Racing/Nugget Casino Mazda. After qualifying on the front row for eight of the season's ten races so far, Di Leo's lap of 1:16.148 (116.253 mph) was good for 4th on the grid.Staring 5th will be Australian racer James Davison, who turned a lap of 1:16.148 (116.253 mph) in his #7 Velocity Motorsports / Easternats Mazda. Davison is hungry for both vindication and validation, having been deprived of his victory at Road America by series officials for driving infractions, and then being caught up in a first-lap, multi-car accident last weekend at Trois Rivi0x00e8res.
In 6th is the Star Mazda Championship's lone female racer, Natacha Gachnang, a Swiss driver with experience in the European Formula BMW series. She joined the Star Mazda series part way into the season and made series history be becoming the first female driver to score back-to-back podium finishes at Portland and Cleveland. Her lap of 1:16.497 (115.722 mph) in the #35 AIM Autosport Mazda puts her in touch with the lead pack, and the hilly Mosport track is well-suited to her driving style.
Also positioned for a potential charge to the front are Russell Walker (#28 John Walko Racing/Pavecon), Devin Cunningham (#33 AIM Autosport/Discovery Channel), Nick Haye (#37 JDC Motorsports/Quantum Sphere) and Jonny Baker (#6 Andersen Racing).
The 45-minute Star Mazda Championship race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:50 pm Saturday afternoon.