CONOR DALY QUICK IN SATURDAY MORNING PRACTICE STAR MAZDA AT TROIS-RIVIIERES AS LAST YEAR'S WINNER, ALEX ARDOIN, JOINS THE FIELD AND IS IMMEDIATELY A FACTOR GP3R / Trois Rivieres / Quebec (August 14, 2010) -- At the conclusion of a pair of...
CONOR DALY QUICK IN SATURDAY MORNING PRACTICE STAR MAZDA AT TROIS-RIVIIERES AS LAST YEAR'S WINNER, ALEX ARDOIN, JOINS THE FIELD AND IS IMMEDIATELY A FACTOR
GP3R / Trois Rivieres / Quebec (August 14, 2010) -- At the conclusion of a pair of practice sessions, one yesterday and one this morning, leading up to this afternoon's qualifying for Round 10 of the 20th Anniversary Star Mazda Championship at the 41st annual GP3R at Trois-Rivieres, the results were both expected -- and surprising.J [IMAGE]In this morning's session, from 8:35 am to 9:15 am, both the expected and the surprise were still elements of the equation. Not surprisingly, given his season record of five wins and six poles, Daly jumped to the top of the time sheets with a lap of 1:10.303, just under the Star Mazda Trois-Rivieres lap record of 1:01.341 set in 2009 by pole-winner Rusty Mitchell. Daly's lap does not qualify as an official new lap record; only times set in qualifying or the race are eligible for the record books.
Setting the second-quick time, after placing 9th on the Friday time sheets was Brazilian Caio Lara who has shown surprising form in recent races. After several seasons of Star Mazda racing, he finally won his first race in Race 1 / Round 6 at New Jersey Motorsports Park and is currently third in the championship. His Saturday morning lap of 1:01.481 placed him second on the time sheet driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW Mazda. And it was Alex Ardoin, again stepping up to the challenge of getting the rust knocked off as quickly as possible, who was third-quick with a lap of 1:01.492, establishing himself as a factor to be reckoned with in the race.
Although a 3-season veteran of the series and winner of this race in 2009, Ardoin had not driven a lap in anger for the better part of a year. That notwithstanding, the talented young Cajun -- resigned to a weekend with friends -- responded to a request from Team GDT by flying up to Trois-Rivi0x00e8res on a moment's notice to coach their drivers. As such situations will, it developed into him entered as the team's third driver for the event. With no preparation and relying solely on his talent, Ardoin (who has won two races and finished 4th in both 2008 and 2009) turned a 5th-fast lap of 1:02.702 in the #51 Team GDT / General Data Tech / Oral and Facial Surgery Center Mazda.
Rounding out the top-5 were yesterday's quick driver, Jorge Goncalvez, with a lap of 1:01.530 in the #9 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda and the young driver on whom the hopes of Quebec race fans are riding, Mikael Grenier, with a time of 1:01.592 in the #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda.J In addition to young hotshoes from around the globe, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear also features a race-within-a-race for drivers in the Expert (ages 30-44) and Master (45 and older) Series.JLast year's Expert Series winner, Texan J.W. Roberts, won his class at the 40th annual GP3R and has continued his winning ways; he is the leading the Expert Series with six in-class wins so far this season driving the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda. He was also quickest in the opening practice session with a 16th-quick lap of 1:04.597 in his #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda, and 15th fast this morning with a lap of 1:02.685.
It's bound to be a tight field and interesting racing as the top-10 cars in the 19-car field were all within one second of each other. Just what position they will occupy for the always-exciting standing start will be determined in this afternoon's split qualifying session from 2:35 pm -- 3:20 pm. The field will be split in half and each will get half the allotted time; this procedure minimizes traffic problems in qualifying and produces a more valid lineup for the start of the race, which is scheduled to take the green light at 1:00 pm Sunday, August 15.
-source: star mazda