ADAM CHRISTODOULOU DOMINATES QUALIFYING TO TAKE THE POLE FOR STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK Miller Motorsports Park (May 16, 2009) -- In an exciting qualifying session that saw the pole locked up on Lap 3, but the ...
ADAM CHRISTODOULOU DOMINATES QUALIFYING TO TAKE THE POLE FOR STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Miller Motorsports Park (May 16, 2009) -- In an exciting qualifying session that saw the pole locked up on Lap 3, but the occupant of the outside spot on the front row change four times in the final sixty seconds, it was Englishman Adam Christodoulou who put an exclamation point on his dominance of the pre-qualifying practice sessions with a lap of 1:43.761 (105.751 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports Mazda to take the top spot on the grid for this afternoon's Round Three of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Miller Motorsports Park. Christodoulou, a rookie in the Star Mazda Championship, was the 2008 U.K. Formula Renault champion and winner of Star Mazda Round One at Sebring, was the only car to break into the 1:43 range; that record, 1:43.650, was set in 2008 by American John Edwards (who went on to win the race from the pole and win the championship).
"The track conditions were better this morning; it didn't feel like there was a much grip, but the temperature is quite a lot cooler which is nice for the cars," said Christodoulou. "The team was all working last night on qualifying and we ended up looking at all the cars and we got a combination of what we thought the good setup would be. And it's obviously proven to be pretty quick. I'm still a couple tenths shy off the lap record, but we get a new set of tires for the race and maybe I can get it within the first few laps, hopefully. As for my teammates, we all work together off track, but when the helmets go on, everyone is a competitor. But we do go through the data both together and on our own, having a quick look to see where we can improve. For me it was the last sector of the track that I was struggling with yesterday, but I think I got it pretty sorted for qualifying."
Starting from the outside of the front row of the 33-car field will be Christodoulou's teammate on the JDC Motorsports team, American Joel Miller. He was second-fast in the final practice session on Friday, and in qualifying turned a 1:44.104 (105.402 mph) lap in the c2 JDC Motorsports / Fader Higher Productions / Mockett / Burns Truck & Trailer Mazda. Miller was the 2008 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Drive Development Ladder Scholarship winner and won his first Star Mazda Championship race, the 2008 season-opener at Sebring, from the pole. He went on to finish second in the championship; he is back for his second season in Star Mazda and currently tied for second in the points championship battle.
Starting third will be another Englishman, Richard Kent, who turned a lap of 1:44.126 (105.380 mph) in the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka / Allied Interior Products Mazda. Kent was the 'man from nowhere' who turned up at the final race of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship season, set a new lap record to win the pole and then led every lap to win the race. In 2009, he won the pole at Sebring and finished second, then missed Round Two at Virginia International Raceway with a non-racing injury.
Rounding out the top-5 on the starting grid are Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin, another member of the JDC Motorsports team, who turned a lap of 1:44.127 (105.279 mph) in the #51 JDC Motorsports / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda. Ardoin won the season-end Star Mazda race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his rookie year, 2007, and has been a consistent contender in the championship. This is his third season of Star Mazda competition. Starting 5th will be another intriguing story, Irishman Peter Dempsey, who won four Star Mazda Championship races in 2008, his rookie year, and won the 2009 Round Two at VIR in a wild finish that saw pole-sitter Adam Christodoulou taking the scenic route through the grass (and very nearly a corner worker's stand) on the final lap. He turned a 1:44.160 (105.346 mph). Dempsey and Christodoulou are tied in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship points battle.
Among the Star Mazda Expert Series drivers (ages 30 -- 44), it was 2008 Expert champion Chris Cumming of Vancouver, B.C. who set the fastest time; his 1:45.443 (104.064 mph) in the #16 Kester Racing Team 3G / Texas World Speedway / Motul Oil Mazda puts him 16th on the starting grid. Among Master Series racers (45 and older), Californian Michael Guasch, who has won the class in both races so far this season, will start 23rd on the grid with a lap of 1:46.357 (103.170 mph) in the #91 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda.
-credit: star mazda