Gabby ChavesUnder very nearly ideal conditions, misty and cool but with a dry track, it was the first seven and final five laps of the 45-minute Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear qualifying session that told the tale. In the final five Colombian racer Gabby Chaves scored his second consecutive PEAK Performance pole award with a lap of 1:19.279 and will start his #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO /Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda from the inside of the front row in tomorrow’s season finale of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear during the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Chaves, currently second in the championship, won from the pole in Race 2 of the previous event at Mazda Raceway three weeks ago. As a result, all he need to do is start tomorrow’s race to clinch 2nd in the championship.

Starting along his right side (since Chaves has opted to start driver’s left), and providing the dramatic position-swapping that punctuated the final five minutes of qualifying will be Sage Karam, who turned a 1:19.330… Chaves held the pole for most of the session until Karam took it away from him with six minutes to go; on the next-to-last lap Chaves put in a flier to snatch the pole back and was obviously jubilant.

“I’m so thankful for this after all the work the JDC Motorsports team put in during the season, all the sacrifices my family has made and all the support from my sponsors, Marca Colombia / Coldeportes / Claro / Tecpro” said Chaves, who was born into a racing family and is a member of the prestigious 2012 FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. “It’s so important to start from the pole here because everybody in the race has nothing to lose and everything to gain, so it’s going to be extremely competitive tomorrow.”

Star Mazda on-track action at the Petit Le Mans weekend on Road Atlanta’s 2.54-mile (4.088 km), 12-turn road course will continue tomorrow afternoon. The 2012 season finale of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled for 50 minutes and will take the green light for the series’ spectacular F1-style standing start at 3:45 Friday, Oct. 19.