Trois-Rivieres: Rob Bunker preview

Rob Bunker is ready for the streets of Trois-Rivières, Que., site of the next Star Mazda Championship race, on Aug. 6. Having honed his charge-from-behind race style, Bunker will change his focus to qualifying the No. 18 AIM Autosport Pro Formula...

Rob Bunker is ready for the streets of Trois-Rivières, Que., site of the next Star Mazda Championship race, on Aug. 6. Having honed his charge-from-behind race style, Bunker will change his focus to qualifying the No. 18 AIM Autosport Pro Formula Mazda for the race. The tight 2.433-km (1.521-mile) street circuit offers few passing opportunities, so a strong qualifying effort will be critical for success.

"I'm getting in the right mindset for qualifying, because that's been our weak point this year. We believe we can always race to the front, no matter where we start. We believe that I can pass better than most people on the track," Bunker explained. "I think I dwell too much on the race when I'm qualifying; I always know I'll have a second chance. So we're coming into qualifying this week with [the perception that] qualifying will be the end of the weekend, qualifying will be the race."

Bunker, of Bridgewater, N.J., hasn't raced at Trois-Rivières, but his team has helped him visualize the circuit by identifying similar turns at other tracks. "Everyone tells me it's my kind of track," he noted. "It combines a lot of different aspects of different tracks. We've been piecing it together from every other track."

With coaching support from Bob Perona of Speed Secrets, Bunker has isolated and finessed different elements of racing this season. The effort has paid off with third- and fourth-place finishes in his most recent races.

"It builds me up as a racer," Bunker said. "We took our time a little bit and the pieces that really need to be put together this season are finally falling into place. For these last few races, I think we'll really be on our game."

-sp

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Series Pro Mazda