Pro Mazda – COTA Day 1 WrapUp

Ferriera-COTA

ProMazda-Testing-COTAThe Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires completed it’s first day of competition for the 2013 season at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, and became the first INDYCAR-sanctioned series to race at the new world-class facility. Andretti Autosport’s Matthew Brabham looked poised to take an early hold of the series championship showing dominating pace in pre-season testing, but Juncos Racing’s Diego Ferreira was never far behind and claimed pole position for Race #1. This may come as a surprise for some, but those who were paying attention to the Star Mazda Series toward the end of 2012 knew that Diego was beginning to find serious pace in his Juncos Racing machine.

The fight for the pole was extremely tight with the top four qualifiers all within a tenth of a second of each other! You have to go all the way down to P10 before the gap became greater than a second. Matthew Brabham qualified P2 a mere 0.027s behind Diego. The two racers have been at the top of the time charts all during preseason testing, and with such a close margin in pace, things looked very favourable for a highly contentious race in the afternoon. Runner-up in last year’s USF2000 championship, Team Pelfrey’s Spencer Pigot qualified in P3, 0.060s off of Diego’s time, and will start alongside his teammate 2011 USF2000 champion Petri Suvanto who was only 0.089s off of the pole time.

Qualifying Results

Pos Car No. Driver Hometown Team Best Time Speed In Lap Diff Laps
1 57 Diego Ferreira Maracay, Venezuela Juncos Racing 2:03.121 99.414 14 14
2 83 Matthew Brabham Boca Raton, FL Andretti Autosport 2:03.148 99.393 11 0.027 14
3 81 Spencer Pigot Orlando, FL Team Pelfrey 2:03.181 99.366 12 0.060 14
4 82 Petri Suvanto Nurmo, Finland Team Pelfrey 2:03.210 99.343 7 0.089 7
5 11 Juan Acosta Cali, Colombia M1 Racing 2:03.666 98.976 12 0.545 14
6 18 Kyle Kaiser San Jose, CA World Speed Motorsports 2:03.757 98.903 13 0.636 13
7 9 Juan Piedrahita Bogota, Colombia JDC MotorSports 2:03.813 98.859 12 0.692 14
8 44 Scott Anderson Fort Collins, CO Juncos Racing 2:03.994 98.714 11 0.873 14
9 28 Shelby Blackstock Nashville, TN Andretti Autosport 2:04.013 98.699 8 0.892 13
10 16 Lloyd Read Newport, Wales JDC MotorSports 2:04.802 98.075 11 1.681 13
11 19 Nick Andries St. Petersburg, FL JDC MotorSports 2:05.724 97.356 11 2.603 14
12 2 Jose Gutierrez Monterrey, Mexico Martiga D D 2:06.061 97.096 13 2.940 14
13 75 Jeff Garibotti Chicago, IL Garibotti Racing 2:06.541 96.728 11 3.420 14
14 66 Zack Meyer Toronto, Ontario, Canada JDC MotorSports 2:06.734 96.580 4 3.613 6
15 48 Patrick Linn Pittsburgh, PA PRL Motorsports 2:08.218 95.462 12 5.097 13
16 37 Jay Horak Mesa, AZ AutoEnginuity 2:09.320 94.649 12 6.199 12

Race #1 Summary

The 2013 season’s first race ended nearly as soon as it began for JDC MotorSports drivers Nick Andries and Juan Piedrahita who were knocked out in a incident the first run through Turn 1. It’s really a shame for Nick who doesn’t have a contract beyond this weekend.

Ferriera-COTADiego Ferreira dominated the entire race, quickly pulling out a big gap to Matthew Brabham within the first couple of laps. By the latter half of the race, Diego had stretched his lead to over six seconds! That lead would shrink to a tad over four seconds by the end of the 12-lap race, but there was never any doubt as to who the victor would be. In addition to starting from pole, leading every lap, and taking the victory, Diego also secured pole for Race #2 on Saturday by setting the fastest race lap with a 2:03.418.

“Our plan was to go into the first corner in first position and try to start making a good gap. The start was difficult. Matthew [Brabham] was really fast at the start and I had to brake a lot later and made it and just pushed from there. I knew I had a really good gap at the end of the race and slowed up a bit to make sure everything was okay and finish the race. This win is awesome. Last year I was a rookie learning the tracks and everything. This year maybe it’s my year, I hope, to fight for the championship.” — Diego Ferreira, #57 Juncos Racing

Matthew Brabham seemed to have P2 well in hand early in the race after stretching out a multi-second lead over his 2012 USF2000 teammate and rival Spencer Pigot. Later in the race, Spencer began to close the gap and overtook Matthew for P2 on the final lap of the race.

“It was a tough race. We got a good start and I was pressing for the lead early on and got pretty close. Towards the end of the race I lost the front tires a little bit and started dropping off and loosing a little bit of speed. I was struggling to hang on and the guy (Spencer Pigot) behind me caught me and made the pass.

“I’m pleased to be on the podium and we got good points for the championship, but disappointed because we were fast here at the test, all of the Andretti Autosport guys worked hard and we were looking for a win. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race – sorting everything out and finding some more speed. So, overall pleased and disappointed at the same time.” — Matthew Brabham, #83 Andretti Autosport

Other movers in the race were M1 Racing’s Juan Acosta who improved from his P5 start to finish P4 ahead of Team Pelfrey’s Petri Suvanto. Juncos Racing’s Scott Anderson would improve two positions from P8 to P6 overtaking World Speed Motorsport’s Kyle Kaiser and benefiting from Piedrahita’s incident. JDC MotorSports’ Zach Meyer was the biggest mover finishing in P7, seven spots higher than his P14 starting position.

Race #1 Results

Pos Start Driver Diff
1 1 Diego Ferreira
2 3 Spencer Pigot 4.015
3 2 Matthew Brabham 8.869
4 5 Juan Acosta 12.650
5 4 Petri Suvanto 13.130
6 8 Scott Anderrson 21.140
7 14 Zack Meyer 23.013
8 6 Kyle Maiser 23.520
9 9 Shelby Blackstock 26.956
10 12 Jose Gutierrez 46.060
11 10 Lloyd Read 53.208
12 13 Jeff Garibotti 58.879
13 15 Patrick Linn 1:06.712
14 16 Jay Horak 1:06.712
15 7 Juan Piedrahita DNF
16 11 Nick Andries DNF

Morning warm-up on Saturday begins at 8:00am CST and the green flag for Race #2 drops at 1:10pm CST. Join the chat, listen to live audio, and follow live timing and scoring at http://www.promazdachampionship.com/timing/index.html.