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Jul 02, 2014 - 06:18 AM
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Double Podium At Houston Marks Return To Form For Team Pelfrey
Posted by: newsla on Jul 02, 2014 - 06:18 AM
Support Series News
Double Podium At Houston Marks Return To Form For Team Pelfrey


Florida-based Team Pelfrey bounced back to prominence during last weekend’s pair of 40-minute races which comprised the Allied Building Products Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Houston Presented by Marlin CNG Services. Brazilian Nicolas Costa and Canadian teammate Dalton Kellett finished second and third on Saturday at the 1.7-mile MD Anderson Cancer Center Speedway at NRG Park, while Costa drove a spectacular race the following afternoon by finishing fifth after a couple of separate incidents dropped him far behind the field on the opening lap.

 

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After showing strong pace at a recent test at Mid-Ohio as well as during practice at Houston on Friday, Costa made a mistake in qualifying and was fortunate to retain sixth on the grid, with Kellett two places farther back.

Saturday afternoon’s race was interrupted by no fewer than three caution periods and a couple of short, sharp rain showers but the dramas allowed Team Pelfrey to shine as Kellett and Costa emerged in first and third after everyone had made pit stops to change onto wet weather Cooper tires. Kellett maintained his advantage until Lap 19 when he made a slight error at Turn Nine and relinquished the position to title challenger Scott Hargrove. Kellett regained the lead with a magnificent pass at Turn 10 on the very next lap, earning himself the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award, only for another small mistake on the penultimate lap to relegate him to third behind Hargrove and Costa.

Sunday’s encounter, run in sweltering heat, ran green from start to finish, with Kellett holding a strong fifth until fatigue set in during the late stages, costing him a couple of positions. Costa, meanwhile, posted a fine charge from a distant 14th at the end of the first lap to fifth. The Brazilian was regularly turning laps as fast as the leaders. He also emulated Kellett’s feat from Saturday by claiming the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award with a bold move from seventh to fifth at Turn 10 on Lap 25.

Videos of the respective passes made in each race by Kellett and Costa are posted on the series’ website: http://2014.promazdachampionship.com/multimedia/videos.

“Generally it was a massively positive weekend for the whole team as we were bang on the pace with both cars from the very start,” declared Team Pelfrey Team Manager Nigel Tuckey. “Some inspired work by the crew in the pits getting both cars out ahead of the pack after a change to wet tires helped us to a two-three podium in the first race. Whilst both cars were delayed avoiding other people’s early race accidents in the second race, Nicolas drove back through the field at race leader pace to fifth after having to stop and select reverse at one point to get around one accident! Also, Dalton was able to salvage a seventh place in Race Two after leading his first race and achieving his first Pro Mazda podium in Race One, completing a very competitive weekend for him. We can't wait to go for the big W at the next race at Mid Ohio."

Rounds 10 and 11 of the Pro Mazda series will be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on August 2/3 and will once again be held in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID:
Dalton Kellett (#80 Team Pelfrey/K-Line Insulators USA, Inc./Gap Guard) - Race One, started eighth, finished third; Race Two, started eighth, finished seventh: “The weekend went very well overall and I was pleased with the results. The focus at Team Pelfrey was to develop a competitive package for the races; our pace in both wet and dry shows that we achieved this goal. Race One was special for me, marking my first podium in the Pro Mazda Championship. It certainly was a race to remember. The constantly changing weather conditions made it a challenging and fun drive! Race Two was no less memorable. Due to the heat, I would consider it amongst the most physical races I have competed in to date. Despite finishing seventh, I was able to run in the top five for most of the race. I am very thankful for the hard work from everyone at Pelfrey. This weekend has shown that the K-Line Insulators USA #80 and Team Pelfrey will be a competitive force moving forward.”

Nicolas Costa (#82 Team Pelfrey/IMM (Impermeabiliacoes)/Alufama/Inova Marketing Esportivo/Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Gap Guard) - Race One, started sixth, finished second; Race Two, started fourth, finished fifth: “Overall it was a great weekend for me and for Team Pelfrey. We had a fast pace in the dry and in the wet, but we were also consistent. The team got pretty close to a win in the first race and we got a bit unfortunate in the second one by being caught up in the two accidents in front of me. That dropped us to 14th but we saved a good top-five in the end even though we had no yellow to help us.”


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