CONOR DALY FASTEST IN FINAL STAR MAZDA SEBRING TEST SESSION -- Seeds of a speedy season sown at Sebring with fourteen cars under the Star Mazda Championship track record -- 45-minute qualifying session starts at 8:45 am Thursday Sebring ...
CONOR DALY FASTEST IN FINAL STAR MAZDA SEBRING TEST SESSION --
Seeds of a speedy season sown at Sebring with fourteen cars under the Star Mazda Championship track record -- 45-minute qualifying session starts at 8:45 am Thursday
Sebring International Raceway / Wednesday, March 17 -- As he did at the pre-season Star Mazda Championship Series Test at Sebring in January, it was Conor Daly, driving the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. / Tom Lange Co. Mazda who set the fast time... in the final of four practice sessions leading up to qualifying tomorrow morning. Daly, who won at New Jersey and finished 3rd in the 2009 championship and is now entering his second year of Star Mazda Championship competition with a new team, turned a lap of 1:57.600 (113.265) -- well under the 1:59.986 lap record set by 2007 Series Champion Dane Cameron. And he was among a stellar, and speedy, group of 14 cars all under the previous lap record.
"Right from the moment we rolled off the trailer, the track had a tremendous amount of grip and the Mazda rotary engines were loving the cool air," says Daly, the son of F1/Indy Car legend Derek Daly. bThe Andersen trio was the quickest in the first three sessions, but we finally got my car adjusted just right and were able to put some distance between me and the second-fast car of Anders Krohn. I'm feeling good about what we've achieved so far, especially given how hard it's been to get the program together for this season, but we have a long way to go and have to keep our eye on the ball every moment."
As can be seen from the time sheets below, it was the Andersen Racing trio of Mikael Grenier, Tristan Vautier and Anders Krohn who set the pace in the first three sessions... trading places, but keeping the top-3 times among themselves. Grenier ran a limited schedule in 2009 to prepare for his 2010 assault on the championship. He competed in six races, finishing on the podium in two of them. In 2010, he will race the #17 Andersen Racing / NAPA Auto Parts / CAA-Quebec/HS Telecom Mazda. Anders 'The Viking' Krohn, a second-year racer from Norway who won on the oval at Milwaukee in 2009 and finished 6th in the championship has switched teams and will drive the #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda. And rookie Tristan Vautier, with European open-wheel experience in the FIA Formula Two Championship and Formula Palmer Audi, drives the #38 Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda.
Also making an appearance at the sharp end during various sessions were Connor De Phillippi, the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series Champion and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder winner who will drive the #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda, as well as Brazilian veteran Caio Lara in the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW Mazda. And, making his first on-track appearance in the final practice session, and posting the fourth-fast time, was Court Vernon, who finished 2nd in the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series championship. He will race the #27 Andersen Racing / Mangroove Boats / Capt. Harry's Mazda.
Quick among the Master Series competitors (drivers 45 and older) was Star Mazda veteran Gerry Kraut; he finished second in the Master championship in 2009 and is co-owner of the championship-winning JDC Motorsports team. He races the #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda. Also quick was Expert Series (drivers 30 to 44) driver J W Roberts, a Texan who owns the 4-car Team GDT operation.
Qualifying to set the final starting positions for the 23 car Star Mazda Championship grid will take place from 8:45 am to 9:30 am Thursday, March 18. The 45-minute Round 1 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season takes the green at 12:45 pm, Friday, March 19.