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Sep 03, 2012 - 08:06 AM
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Team Pelfrey And Hawksworth Close On Championship With Second In Baltimore
Posted by: newsla on Sep 03, 2012 - 08:02 AM
Support Series News
Team Pelfrey And Hawksworth Close On Championship With Second In Baltimore

Jack Hawksworth and Team Pelfrey moved another step closer to the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear with a second-place finish today at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Street Circuit. Teammates Petri Suvanto and Gustavo Menezes also challenged for podium positions in the opening stages before being taken out by an over-zealous rival. Both resumed, but whereas Suvanto mounted a sensational charge from 12th to fourth, Menezes was caught up in yet another incident and had to settle for a 16th-place finish.


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Hawksworth claimed a record-setting 10th PEAK Performance Pole Award of the season by virtue of posting the fastest lap yesterday, and while he was able to maintain his position into Turn One, he wisely ceded the position to an aggressive Sage Karam in Turn Three. Hawksworth then made a slight mistake, clipping a wall in Turn Seven. He was fortunate that the car escaped any serious damage and the 21-year-old Englishman was able to bring home a second-place finish, extending his championship lead to 61 points over Karam with three races remaining.

An excellent getaway from the rolling start saw Menezes jump briefly into third, followed by Suvanto, only for their hopes of challenging for the win to be cruelly extinguished soon afterward when both were assaulted from behind under braking for Turn One. Resuming at the back of the pack, Suvanto produced one of the drives of the season to climb all the way to fourth, while the perennially unfortunate Menezes was involved in yet another incident later in the race, damaging his car’s oil cooler and restricting him to an unrepresentative finish.

“An excellent championship run by Jack today,” summarized Team Pelfrey Team Manager Geoff Fickling. “He did everything that we asked of him and more, bringing home a solid second place, not taking any risks and scoring excellent points toward the big picture. Petri and Gustavo got together today in an incident that was not their fault at all – just poor judgment by another driver which sent them both to the back – but Petri put together the drive of the race. He was on a mission. I know he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the last two weekends of the year, so it’s really exciting. All in all I’m really happy for the team, really thankful to everybody who’s behind us and supports us and works so hard for our success because it’s definitely rewarding when it all comes good.”

The Star Mazda Championship will return to action next weekend on the opposite coast as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., will play host to another pair of races. The 17-race season will conclude at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on October 19.

· Team Pelfrey Development Driver Spencer Pigot endured a huge disappointment today when he was punted out of second place by a lapped car when the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda also saw action on the Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Street Circuit.

Jack Hawksworth (#82 Team Pelfrey/TORGOEN Swiss Watches/EXA Networks) – Race One, started first, finished second: “It feels great, almost like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. We’re not clinched yet but really close. Once again I got a decent getaway from the rolling start, and Sage did a bit of a do-or-die move into the hairpin on the first lap. It wasn’t worth the risk to fight with him. I didn’t let him through but I gave him enough room to get past and then I made a mistake a few corners later and clipped the wall. Someone must have been looking down on me today because I was lucky to get away with that one. The car wasn’t quite perfect after I hit the wall but I just got my head down and tried to get to the end of the race and get as many points as we could because this was going to be a crucial race for the championship. Massive thanks again to the team for producing a great car and I’m just glad I was able to bring it home and move one step closer to where I want to be. It’s awesome.”

Petri Suvanto (#81 Team Pelfrey/Mazda Road to Indy) – Race One, started fifth, finished fourth: “It’s funny how a fourth-place finish can feel so different on two different days. Yesterday I was a bit disappointed with fourth but today, considering all the circumstances, I’m over the moon, really happy. The car was like on rails today. We were a bit unfortunate in the beginning of the race and I got taken out, dropped to 12th position, in a Turn One incident – I even took some air. After that I did the best drive of my year, did some nice passes and ended up finishing fourth, so I’m really, really excited and motivated to finally turn this speed, these good performances into some podiums and maybe even a win in these final two weekends of the season.”

Gustavo Menezes (#83 Team Pelfrey/SafetyPark/Oakley) – Race One, started fourth, finished 16th: “Today’s race was very up and down. Lots of action going on. We started in fourth and it was the first rolling start, but we had a great start off the line and actually got into third. I was right behind Jack and I was really excited and then he had a little touch on the wall so I thought I was going to take advantage of it and then the yellow flag came out. Once we got the restart I was able to hold the position and unfortunately there was some contact behind me and it sent a car flying over me and I had to take the escape road in Turn One. Once I turned around I was at the back of the pack, and then at the end there was some more contact – someone drove over my side and blew out the oil radiator. Overall it was a good weekend. We learned a lot of stuff, the guys worked really hard and we did a great job to be fighting in the top three in the beginning of the race. It’s unfortunate we had those contacts but what can you do? It wasn’t my fault; they were behind me. I’d like to thank Team Pelfrey, Oakley and GoPro for all the support.”

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