CONTACT DAMAGE HALTS DE PHILLIPPI IN TROIS-RIVIERES Californian remains part of Rookie of the Year fight despite setback in Round 10 TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE. (August 19, 2010) - American up-and-comer Connor De Phillippi suffered a rare setback in...
CONTACT DAMAGE HALTS DE PHILLIPPI IN TROIS-RIVIERES
Californian remains part of Rookie of the Year fight despite setback in Round 10
TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE. (August 19, 2010) - American up-and-comer Connor De Phillippi suffered a rare setback in his chase for Rookie of the Year honors in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear on Sunday (August 15), when he was squeezed into contact with one of the retaining walls lining the historic Trois-Rivieres streets circuit, ending his race prematurely. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver, despite his 17th place result in Round 10, however remains in contention for top rookie honors in the highly-competitive series, entering the closing stages of the 2010 campaign third in the rookie standings.
De Phillippi travelled 'North of the Border' to take part in his inaugural Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres confident he could build on successful rookie season thus far. Given the highly rated teenager had challenged for top honors multiple times already in 2010 - earning top-five finishes in five of the previous nine rounds and only finishing outside of the top-10 once - combined with the fact his JDC MotorSports squad was the defending race winner at the historic street circuit, the stage was set for another strong outing by De Phillippi.
Utilizing the opening Friday early evening and Saturday morning practice runs to get acclimated to the tight and challenging track, the reigning Skip Barber National series champion showed good pace, ending the second session among the top-10.
While De Phillippi was able to continue his march up the timecharts during Saturday afternoon qualifying, the combination of traffic and not having quite the right balance in his No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports, resulted in the JDC racer posting the eighth best time, several places further down the order than desired.
Never one to stop working at making the car and himself better, De Phillippi lined-up for Round 10 on Sunday afternoon poised to make his mark in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports-backed racer promptly got a good launch when the light when out, immediately challenging for a place in the top-five. Showing good speed and race craft on the often treacherous street circuit, De Phillippi appeared headed towards another strong points earning result. Unfortunately it was not to be, as another racer squeezed him into the concrete wall, breaking the steering linkage on JDC MotorSports car. As a result, his race ended prematurely in a highly disappointing 17th place.
"Our result at Trois-Rivieres was not what we had wanted," stated De Phillippi. "The car felt much better in the race, and I was moving my way up into the top-five. When I was passing for sixth I got blocked and then squeezed, which resulted in contact with the wall. Eventually the steering linkage broke and that was the end of our weekend. We will now focus on Road America and put this past weekend's result behind us."
De Phillippi immediately gets the chance to put the race behind him, as the second of three consecutive races takes places this coming Saturday (August 21) at Road America in Wisconsin. The Californian enters Round 11 third in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Rookie of the Year title chase and looking to match his Skip Barber National outing at the 4.0-mile road course in 2009. De Phillippi won both rounds of the doubleheader last season en route to capturing the championship crown. The on-track action for De Phillippi and the rest of the Star Mazda field commences on Thursday (August 19) with two promoter's day test sessions. Day two features two practice runs, followed by qualifying and Round 11 on Saturday (August 21).