BACK AND FORTH BATTLE BETWEEN HAWKSWORTH AND DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES IN THURSDAY'S TWO STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRACTICE SESSIONS AT THE INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
Barber Motorsports Park / March 29, 2012 - The first two Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear practice sessions on Thursday presented a replay of the battle between Connor De Phillippi and Jack Hawksworth that defined the season-opener at last weekend's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. De Phillippi won Race 1 of the weekend's double-header, while Hawksworth won Race 2. Both won from the pole.
In the first of today's two Star Mazda practice sessions, Hawksworth set the pace with a lap of 1:20.616 in his #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda, better than the existing lap record of 1:21.166 set by series champion Tristan Vautier in 20111, and a good bit quicker than his own best lap of 1:21.043 here in series Spring Training two weeks ago -- but still well shy of the blistering 1:20.076 set by De Phillippi in Spring Training. De Phillippi was quickest in today's second, altogether slower session with a 1:21.067 in the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda.
Rounding out the top-5 in both sessions were the 'usual suspects' from St. Pete; in Session 1 it was Petri Suvanto (podium in Race 2 at St. Pete) 2nd-quick in the #81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda / RKM Building Mazda, followed by De Phillippi, Gustavo Menezes (#83 Team Pelfrey / TrueCar.com Mazda) and Martin Scuncio (#22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus Mazda).
In Session 2, Gabby Chaves, who finished on the podium in Race1 at St. Pete driving his #19 JDC Motorsports / OMP Mazda turned the 2nd-quick time, followed by Scuncio, Juan Piedrahita (#9 JDC Motorsports / Petrosur / GFK Motors Mazda), who scored a podium finish in Race 2 at St. Pete and Sage Karam (#88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda), who endured a horrible season-opener and is due to show some form here at Barber.
Qualifying for Race 1 takes place 1:45--2:15 pm Friday, March 30, followed by Race 1 from 4:45-5:25 that evening. There will be no on-track Star Mazda activity Saturday, March 31. Race 2 is scheduled to take the green light for the series' traditional - and always exciting - F1-style standing start at 10:20 am Sunday, April 1. Star Mazda races will be broadcast on Velocity TV and ESPN International; for air dates and times, go to www.StarMazda.com and click the Star Mazda TV icon.