Sixth Place Miller Score for Hacquard Vancouver, Canada (May 18, 2008) -- Vancouver's Taylor Hacquard continues to impress in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear as the 18-year-old rookie, the lone front-running Canadian in...
Sixth Place Miller Score for Hacquard
Vancouver, Canada (May 18, 2008) -- Vancouver's Taylor Hacquard continues to impress in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear as the 18-year-old rookie, the lone front-running Canadian in the series, wrapped up a sixth place finish in Round 2, Saturday 17th May, at the stunning Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Hacquard, racing the #15 Wolfe Auto Group / World Speed Motorsports entry, belied his lack of experience behind the wheel of the 240bhp Star Mazda racer as he proved to be a front-runner throughout the weekend in just his second ever open-wheel race start. The teenager showcased his pace straight off the back of the trailer in Thursday's promoter practice sessions where he was second fastest from the 31-car field in both the opening sessions.
Friday's official practice sessions again saw Taylor at the sharp end of the action, completing both outings comfortably in the top-ten against his more experienced rivals with Saturday set to be a busy day with qualifying in the morning followed by the afternoon's 22-lap charge around Miller Motorsport Park's 3.08-mile Perimeter road course.
Having just missed out on a top-ten start in Round 1 at Sebring in March, Taylor qualifying 12th before scoring an encouraging ninth place finish on his debut, the Canadian aimed to translate his Miller test pace into an equally solid grid slot. His best lap time, a 1m45.431s (104.076mph), ended the 30-minute session as the seventh fastest time with pole position going to Atlantic Championship refugee John Edwards, courtesy of a 1m43.650s lap (105.864mph) from the young American.
The afternoon's standing start enabled Hacquard to launch himself off the line and he rocketed through to fourth on the opening lap. He subsequently protected his position until an early full course caution slowed the field. Losing a spot at the re-start, Taylor then dropped back to sixth as his car's set-up failed to optimize track conditions mid-race.
A quick roll-bar adjustment staved off any additional drop-off in performance with Hacquard's lap times eventually proving to be the measure of the race leaders. With the checkered flag out after 22 frantic laps, Taylor sprinted home sixth for 30 more championship points and his second straight top-ten finish. Pole-sitter John Edwards claimed the second round win ahead of England's Charles Hall and March's Sebring victor Joel Miller.
"I'm really pleased with the way my season's started," reflected Hacquard. "I initially set out with the goal to finish races and just gain some experience as this is my first season competing in open-wheel racing. To have finished ninth at Sebring then sixth here at Miller definitely exceeds my expectations. I'm on a pretty steep learning curve compared to some of the competition but it's been an awesome start to the year. I'm enjoying working with the World Speed crew and I've had some great coaching from Scott Bradley. I can't wait to get going again at Watkins Glen next month!"