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Archive for May, 2013

Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham travels to the Nurburgring in Germany this weekend (June 1/2) confident of maintaining his European F3 Open Copa Class title challenge following an impressive British Formula 3 debut.

The 17-year-old from Market Harborough had earmarked the opening round of the world-famous British series at Silverstone as an opportunity to iron out some of the issues his Team West-Tec Dallara had experienced at the previous F3 Open event in Portugal. But despite this being billed as a competitive test session, Twynham came away with a hat-trick of podium finishes and the accolade of highest-placed finisher driving the older F308 chassis in each of the three races.

“It’s always great to be on the podium but that really wasn’t our objective prior to Silverstone,” Twynham revealed. “British F3’s National Class is different to F3 Open’s in that it’s based solely on engines. I was therefore up against drivers with considerably newer and better-developed machinery. When you also consider that I had never raced at Silverstone or used the spec Cooper tyres before, which are quite different to the Dunlop compound I’ve run all season, they were three really encouraging results.

“Above everything else though it was the perfect opportunity to try some new things and sort the problems we’ve experienced this season. That was our focus throughout the weekend, which puts the overall results into even greater perspective.”

Those results, coupled with the car’s problems appearing to be solved, have left Cameron feeling optimistic of another strong showing in Germany this weekend, even if there will be further challenges to overcome. Indeed, he was able to complete just a handful of laps during pre-season testing around a circuit he will be racing at for the first time.

“I guess you could say testing didn’t go to plan there earlier in the year!” he said. “While I only managed 10 laps the majority of my rivals had two days to learn the circuit and develop set-ups. We essentially start from zero, but I’m not too worried, especially following the performance at Silverstone.

“I’m feeling full of confidence and actually see this weekend as an opportunity to really kick-start my campaign. The opening four races yielded a win and second place but non-scores in the other two, so it’s really important that we focus on adding consistency to the speed already shown. We made a lot of progress with the car at Silverstone so I am really hopeful that Nurburgring can be the turning point of our 2013.”

Motors TV will have live coverage of both the weekend’s races from 13:50 BST on Saturday and 12:05 on Sunday.

For regular updates don’t forget to follow Cameron on Twitter and Facebook: @CameronTwynham / www.facebook.com/CameronTwynhamRacing

Roberto La RoccaRoberto La Rocca took another podium finish in the opening round of the 2013 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone in the UK last weekend (May 25-26).

The current US F2000 Champion, who is also competing in the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship this season with Team West-Tec, went well in qualifying at the Northamptonshire-based track, home of the British Grand Prix.

Indeed he was third fastest of the eight National Class runners in his Dallara F312 Toyota, his best effort a 1 minute 58.875 second lap, which left him 13th overall, a good result considering that of the 19 competitors in action at Silverstone, nine were competing in the faster and more powerful International Class.

In the opening race Roberto made a good start and gained a handful of places. Despite then slipping back, he stormed back in the closing stages to finish fourth in the National Class and tenth overall.

On Sunday, two more races lay in wait, and the Venezuelan ace again put in an impressive performance, gaining a position at the start of the second race and running second in class and twelfth overall throughout.

Race three saw Roberto continue to perform and in the end he was once again fourth of the National Class runners and 13th overall.

“It was a difficult weekend in some respects. We had some problems with the car again, but we were still able to finish second in one of the races and get a good result,” said the 22-year-old.

“We also took two fourth places and in all the races we managed to get good starts and tended to pick up a couple of positions.”

“We know that we can definitely fight for victories and higher positions once we get the car sorted,” added the Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD)-affiliated youngster. “Hopefully for my next outing at the Nurburgring we can find a bit more pace to help us out. I am sure we can start getting some victories soon.”

Roberto now heads straight to the Nurburgring in Germany this week for round three of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship from June 1-2.

PHoto by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Matthew BrabhamMazdaspeed Andretti Autosport driver Matthew Brabham dominated round five of the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires held at the 5/8 mile Lucas Oil Raceway oval, Ind.

Brabham claimed pole position by a commanding 6/10th sec, over the two laps in single file qualifying, however rain stated to fall as soon as the cars left the grid and the red flag was thrown after 11 laps behind the pace car. A 2 hour rain delay meant the race started at 11:00pm, and was shortened to 52 laps from the scheduled 90.

Matthew jumped into the lead at the start and proceeded to pull away from the rest of the field, but a single car accident brought the pace car out b etween laps 24 and 30. The third generation driver learnt from the mistake he made in this race last year, and made a great restart to immediately gap the field. When the chequered flag was thrown at the end of lap 52, Brabham won the most prestigious race of his young career with a comfortable 6 second margin. This was his 4th straight win and now has a 31 point lead in the Championship to take into the next race at the famed Milwaukee mile oval track on June 14th.

“It was tough waiting so long before our race,” said Brabham. “It just builds the nerves and it was just painful waiting and watching the rain come down. I wasn’t sure we were even going to get a race in. So it was good we got it in. The car was fantastic and I can’t thank the Andretti crew enough. The car has been great all year. The team has been working really hard and I owe it all to them. The race was a little shortened but there was a restart and Spencer was right there at both the start and restart b ut I just had the car speed and kept plodding along. The rain started to come down on the last lap and I was kind of taking it easy. I just can’t describe the feeling. It’s great. To come so close last year to winning it and now to finally get the win this year is just awesome.”

Ahmad Al HarthyPorsche racer Ahmad Al Harthy and Oman Air Motorbase team-mate Michael Caine continued their unbroken run of points finishes during round four of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone on Sunday, 26th May, with ninth place in a very action-packed three-hour encounter.

In a race affected by multiple Safety Car periods, and plenty of contact, the duo stayed out of trouble for the duration and only a late time penalty – a result of a problem at the final pit-stop – prevented a potential top six finish on the 3.66-mile Grand Prix Circuit.

“It was a race full of excitement”, said Ahmad, “Due to so many Safety Car periods, people running very different strategies, it was a tough race. We want results, we believe our pace deserves results, but today was unfortunately a day where some things out of our control got in the way. The time penalty near the end was crucial in costing us a few positions but, overall, it was a good weekend.”

Supported by a huge number of guests, including dignitaries from the Sultanate, the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed driver took the first stint of the race starting 17th on the grid.

Only five laps in though, a three-car collision in the midfield, which Ahmad did well to avoid, led to the appearance of the Safety Car. Remaining on track for a handful of laps as some others opted to take the first of their mandatory pit-stops, the Omani pitted on lap eight from ninth position to hand the car over to Caine for the first time.

When racing resumed Caine was down in 33rd position but by the time he pitted for the second driver change on lap 22, part way through a second Safety Car period, he had climbed into fourth with two hours still remaining.

In 20th position when racing got back underway, Ahmad produced an excellent stint to bring the Oman Air Motorbase car back into contention. Working his way through to seventh before handing the car back to Caine for the final hour, the 31-year-old was pleased with his performance.

Caine re-entered the race in 17th position and scythed through into the top six with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Unfortunately though, the British driver had mistakenly been let back out from the final stop a few seconds early and so had to pit again for a drive-through penalty. Proving costly, he rejoined in ninth and got to within just 0.2 seconds of eighth place at the finish on lap 77.

“In a three hour race, first of all you have to be happy to just finish”, added Ahmad, “We did that, we scored points so we have to take that forward now and stay positive. I’m really looking forward to the next round of British GT but before then I have Blancpain [Endurance Series] here at Silverstone next weekend, the racing this weekend will help me for that.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came to support me this weekend, it was one of the largest groups of support we’ve had this season. I was honoured to have H.E. Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Hinai, our Ambassador here in the UK, come along with a lot of our other partners, the Ministry of Tourism representatives, so I’m glad it was an entertaining race for them which they really enjoyed.”

Outlining the importance of Ahmad’s racing programme to Oman, Khalid Al Zadjali, director of tourism events for the Oman Ministry of Tourism, commented: “Ahmad is a great ambassador for Oman, we’re really proud to have him doing so well in this unique sport. He helps us promote Oman, to promote Oman as a brand and to explain what our country has to offer.

“For tourism in Oman, the UK is one of our main markets so Ahmad racing in the UK in a high profile championship like British GT is very important for us. It really increases the awareness of Oman and we believe it is a very strong way to promote our country. His success in motorsport really adds value for us and we’re delighted to have been here supporting him this weekend at Silverstone.”

Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia will host rounds five and six of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship three weeks from now on 15th/16th June. Before then, Ahmad will be back in action at Silverstone next weekend, 1st/2nd June, for the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series with the ARC Bratislava-NBO Racing Team.

Provisional 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship Standings (after Rd4):
=9th Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Caine, 29pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Richie StanawayAfter making an excellent debut in the Porsche Supercup in Barcelona the French team tacked the Monaco rendezvous with all the respect due to its legendary reputation, and also with a strong dose of ambition. In terms of performance DAMS confirmed its potential with debutant Richie Stanaway’s seventh place, while Michael Christensen fell foul of the traps on the Monaco roller-coaster in qualifying.

As was the case for all the races in Monaco the qualifying session determined the basic finishing order. The New Zealander managed to set an encouraging sixth-quickest time, while his Danish team-mate was unable to find a clear lap and ended the session down in twentieth place.
The race in fact was a procession and the DAMS drivers were unable to improve their lot. Although Stanaway lost a place at the start, which he was unable to claw back, he came first in the rookie classification. Christensen, who was quick enough to fight for a top-three finish, spun after being hit by another car. Thus, it was a middling weekend although the potential both in terms of the team and the drivers augurs for a better future.

François Sicard, DAMS Managing Director: “As usual at Monaco the race was a procession as it was impossible to overtake. The team did a good job and Richie’s result holds a lot of promise. It’s really a pity that Michael wasn’t able to find a single lap in clean air in qualifying: he had the potential to score a top-three finish. Without doubt it’s only a matter of time. We’ve now got a month ahead of us and we’re going to redouble our efforts for the next round in England.”

Michael Christensen: “I was hoping to have a better weekend and I’m very sorry for the team, as the car was running really well. At Monaco you have to have a little luck in qualifying and not be held up to get a good place on the grid. I was caught out by the traffic and my race was ruined before it even started! I’ve lost points in the championship but with the potential of the team, I’m convinced that we’re going to get our challenge back on the rails in the next race.”

Richie Stanaway: “For my first outing in Monaco it wasn’t too bad. I finished seventh and first rookie so it’s pretty satisfying. I lost a place on the first lap so I think was possible to do a little bit better. Overtaking in Monaco is quite simply impossible. In any case the team’s really top drawer. We’re going to continue working hard for the coming races and I hope to improve quickly.”

Next round: Silverstone 30th June.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs bounced back from a disastrous qualifying to net his maiden GP2 Series podium with second place in Monaco on Saturday.

Marking his first ever visit to the Principality, the 22 year-old spent much of practice and qualifying learning the track layout and trying to sort the problems that beset him last time out in Spain. Armed with an MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara, Quaife-Hobbs was however disappointed to end up 26th, with his team-mate Daniel De Jong alongside.

Lining up at the back of the field for the opening race, the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion successfully negotiated his way around a multiple first corner crash, which claimed almost half the 26-car grid. With a controlled drive, the BRDC Superstar kept his cool to move up to eighth before the race was red flagged to remove the stricken cars.

At the restart held under the safety car, Quaife-Hobbs quickly showed the form that netted him his dominant championship title last season. A solid first half allowed him to hold eighth, although he was relegated to ninth during the compulsory pit stop.

Rejoining the track behind Stephane Richelmi, the Briton closed down the gap over the remaining laps, and began to apply pressure to the eighth placed driver. On the final lap, he found a way past with a superb move at Ste Devote.

Starting race two from pole position and with spots of rain falling, Quaife-Hobbs made a flying start and held first position for three laps, but with his front tyres not yet fully up to temperature was forced to brake earlier in the opening laps. Initially keeping Coletti behind, he was however forced to concede the place when Coletti made a do or die move at the chicane allow.

Wisely Quaife-Hobbs elected not to fight for the position, and instead waited for his tyres to come up to temperature before mounting a serious attack. In a yo-yo situation, the gap continually fluctuating, he began his push for the lead with eight laps remaining.

However on a track notoriously difficult to pass on, and with his maiden podium in sight, he eventually decided to accept second place at undoubtedly the highlight event of the year, to notch up his first podium in the series and add further to the points tally opened in Bahrain.

The GP2 Series next heads to Silverstone on 28th to 30th June for the British Grand Prix event, which marks Quaife-Hobbs’ only UK appearance of the season.

“I had a great start. I was quite surprised when I looked into my mirrors to see how big a lead I had going up the hill. But there was a little bit of rain and I focused on warming the rear tyres and I think I did not put quite enough heat in the fronts because I just under steered in the Casino and everyone caught me up. Then going through the next laps I was really trying hard to pull a gap and I did manage a small one under the back straight with Stefano. Then he got in my slipstream. I thought he was a bit too far back to have a go. I braked late and I locked up. I looked into my mirror and Stefano was just there just coming straight down the inside. I tried to release the brake to get back ahead, but there was nothing I could do. He was pretty committed to that move. I think if I tried to defend we would not have made the corner. There was no point in trying. I settled down and followed him hoping I would be able to attack him towards the end of the race”.

“I am delighted to get my first podium, which after the disaster in qualifying, is a great result. We proved yet again that we have the race pace, now we must focus on sorting the issues we’re having in qualifying. I cannot believe the turn around. To come from the very last spot on the grid for race one, to take my first podium finish is a great result. Having half the field go out in race one was naturally a big help, I don’t think I’ve ever made up 13 places in one lap before!”

“It’s now four weeks until the next round, and we need to look into improving our qualifying form so that we’re not playing catch-up in the races.”

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com
and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com

Adrian Quaife-HobbsFirst year GP2 Series team MP Motorsport celebrated its maiden podium in the FIA Formula One World Championship support category during round eight in Monaco on Saturday, 25th May, with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs racing to a famous second place on the streets of the Principality.

Off the back of an incredible top eight result during a dramatic and incident packed seventh round on Friday, 24th May, Quaife-Hobbs made the most of his ‘reverse grid’ pole position for the Sprint Race to scorch away from the line and lead for the first couple of laps.

Although having to succumb to the challenge of championship leader Stefano Coletti at the exit of the tunnel on the third tour, Quaife-Hobbs didn’t put a wheel wrong thereafter and saw off the ever present threat of Mitch Evans and Felipe Nasr to the chequered flag on lap 30.

Not only taking his and the team’s first podium in GP2 at the calendar’s crown jewel event, the result has enabled Quaife-Hobbs to rocket up the championship standings from 17th position, prior to the weekend, into 11th place.

“It’s amazing”, said an elated Quaife-Hobbs after race two, “Obviously we were helped a little bit [in race one] with the crash at Turn One, but I was still fast and I overtook [Stephane] Richelmi on the last lap to get the pole for race two which completely turned my weekend around. This podium is a great reward for the team and how hard they’ve worked.”

Capping two very strong races for MP Motorsport, team-mate Daniël De Jong claimed his first point of the 2013 campaign with 10th place in round seven – a fantastic achievement considering he had to battle back from a drive-through penalty – before adding ninth place in round eight.

Like Quaife-Hobbs, De Jong was able to avoid the chaos in Friday’s race to post an impressively strong result and he converted his fifth row grid slot for round eight into his second top 10 finish of the weekend. Frustratingly, the Dutchman was a mere 0.6 seconds shy of a top eight points result in race two after an impressively competitive drive.

“It’s really great to score my first point of the season in GP2”, said De Jong, “Race one was pretty crazy at the start but we managed to come through OK without getting any damage. It was disappointing to get the penalty but the car was good so I could do some good lap times and take a good finish. We were really close to scoring again in race two, overtaking was impossible though.”

Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong impress on streets of Monte-Carlo
At the start of Friday’s race, chaos reigned almost immediately with a multi-car tangle at the first corner, Ste Devote, resulted in a red flag stoppage. Quaife-Hobbs managed to expertly thread his way through past the stricken cars into eighth position while De Jong just managed to squeeze through the middle of two collisions to emerge in ninth place.

Following a lengthy delay, the race was re-started behind the Safety Car in the order at the time of the stoppage. Running in eighth and ninth, Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong circulated in that order until the former took his mandatory pit-stop at the end of the 10th tour – from which he emerged in 11th place, ahead of Jon Lancaster who had been holding his compatriot up during the early stages.

While the majority of front-runners stopped during the next few laps, De Jong remained on track until the end of the 15th tour when he pitted from second place. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, a problem with the rear jack cost him significant time and the frustration was compounded when he was given a drive-through penalty for straying over the yellow line when exiting the pits.

Despite that, De Jong produced a determined drive to claw his way back into contention for the top 10 from 16th place. Swarming all over the back of Tom Dillmann’s car into the last couple of laps, De Jong sliced past on the final tour to brilliantly secure his first championship point of the season.

Quaife-Hobbs, meanwhile, was up into ninth place when De Jong pitted and spent lap after lap bottled up behind the clearly slower Stephane Richelmi. With the ‘reverse grid’ pole position there for the taking, the MP Motorsport driver threw everything he could at trying to find a way by.

Absolutely glued to Richelmi’s car during the closing stages, Quaife-Hobbs managed to make the breakthrough at the end of the penultimate tour to edge ahead into eighth position – importantly sealing the coveted pole spot for Saturday’s race.

With light rain in the air ahead of round eight, there was some uncertainty as to whether the race would be affected but the precipitation didn’t worsen so the entire 30 lap encounter took place on slick tyres.

Quaife-Hobbs launched away from the line well to maintain his place at the front and he scorched into a strong early lead from points leader Coletti. Although quickly coming under pressure from the Monegasque driver, the MP Motorsport racer looked assured but Coletti benefited from a great run through the tunnel on lap three to shoot past on the inside into the Nouvelle Chicane.

Although Coletti initially pulled well clear as Quaife-Hobbs had to focus on the pressure from Mitch Evans behind, the Briton did close back in to the leader midway through but the order remained unchanged to the finish.

De Jong, meanwhile, maintained 10th position off the start and shadowed Richelmi lap after lap as a big train of cars built up behind the Monaco native. By lap 13, the group had caught eighth placed Sam Bird and three laps later Richelmi and De Jong made their way past. Running in ninth, De Jong initially lost some ground to his rival but closed back in to finish a mere 0.6 seconds shy at the flag.

“It really has been an intensive weekend for the team, everyone worked so hard to improve the car after qualifying but to take our first podium with Adrian is much more than we expected”, said team principal Sander Dorsman.

“Adrian and Daniël both did a really great job in the races, it’s great for them both to have scored points this weekend. Being on the podium in Monaco is really special. We now focus on the next round at Silverstone at the end of next month. Being a new GP2 team we are still learning and improving and we are sure we can perform stronger in Silverstone.”

Rounds nine and 10 of the 2013 GP2 Series will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK on 29th/30th June, running as support to the British Grand Prix.

2013 GP2 Series Driver Standings (after Rd8):
11th Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, 23pts; 23rd Daniël De Jong, 1pt

2013 GP2 Series Team Standings (after Rd8):
10th MP Motorsport, 24pts

Photo by Paolo Pellegrini / Web-Agency Motorsport Images

José Manuel De los MilagrosJosé Manuel de los Milagros again proved yesterday that is one of the best touring car drivers in the form of Spanish automotive scene, and is again an excellent performance curdle driving the Hyundai Coupe with competing in this year’s Cup Spain Resistance with Raul Castilla. In the Circuit de Catalunya twice winner of the Clio Cup again left a clear imprint of his speed and experience and rounded off a practically perfect weekend.

In free practice on Friday, De los Milagros and scratched at a high level, which was evident on Saturday in qualifying for first thing in the morning. In the first session, in which De los Milagros took part, was the best time of D4, and therefore also in the Coupe Challenge. The 2:07.121 lap positioned him at the forefront of its category with nearly half a second advantage over the best of the Renault Clio Cup In the second, who disputed his partner Castile and although I did not know this track, this could the eighth place, and with the average of the two times out in third place in the race that took place in the afternoon.

Shortly before two o’clock in the afternoon, throwing the race, and in a moment De los Milagros was put in first position of D4, following even some SEAT León Supercopa of the top category. “I had a good start, since I could put in the lead and from that point, I tried to escape to accumulate the greatest possible advantage and that Raul could face his baton back with something more quiet,” explained De los Milagros who was in first position throughout the first stint. After the first hour, De los Milagros and Castile were first seconds of D4 and the Challenge Coupe, a position in which asentarían in the second half of the race. “In the end we started to notice the tire wear, but still managed to keep our second position D4 and first among the Hyundai. Perhaps at times we could have pushed a little more to get closer to Renault Clio winner but we are happy, and this second position, with victory in the Coupe Challenge is a great reward for the whole team, “explained the Spaniard.

The next two races will be at the Jerez circuit, in mid-June, and in them the motivation of De los Milagros is the maximum because “is one of my favorite circuits. Raul knows not but we will work with him to get as prepared as we can. ”

Photo by Enric WRC.

Jono LesterKiwi Jono Lester has made a clean sweep of the South Korean round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series at the new Inje Speedium, to lead the Championship with maximum points.

Lester and team mate Fariqe Hairuman scored both pole positions, both races wins, both fastest laps and set the Race Lap Record en route to the ‘perfect’ weekend for the #28 PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.

“This was always our goal, but it’s still such a brilliant feeling to pull it off and give our Championship hopes a major boost!” Lester commented.

The event format saw two 45-minute sprint races at the new 3.8km venue instead of Super Taikyu’s usual endurance format, allowing Lester and Hairuman a race each behind the wheel of the #28 car.

Stiff competition, as at the series opener at Sugo, came from the sister #1 PETRONAS Syntium Team car and the GTNET Nissan GT-R piloted by Super GT aces Kazuki Hoshino and Takayuki Aoki.

The GT-R, in fact, equaled Lester’s pole time of 1:35.048 to the third decimal places but started from second on the grid due to Lester’s time being set first.

From there, it was all one-way traffic. Hairuman took a convincing victory in the opening race before Lester gapped the field in the second to win by over 17 seconds.

The new race lap record was set by Lester on the final lap of the race, to cap off a perfect weekend for the 23-year old Kiwi.

“Being the bridesmaid in 2012 was motivation enough to up our game for this season, and we have set the tone for what I hope will be a season of wins for myself and the team.

“Having Fariqe in our car has reignited his mojo also and our overall package is proving to be extremely strong this year.

“With the next race a 5-hour event at Motegi, we head into our next challenge with our heads held high!”

Lester is supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Purechoice New Zealand, R Redpath Limited, Opti-Flex, Fastway Couriers, Robbie Bird Wines, CRC MotorNews.co.nz, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.

More details about Jono and his season can be found at www.jonolester.com, or by following ‘Jono Lester’ on Facebook or @jonolester on Twitter. Search the hashtag #flyingkiwi for related social media content online.

Follow the action from your smartphone by downloading the new Jono Lester app, simply by visiting http://jonolester.appguppy.com from your iPhone or Android device.

Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team

Gabby ChavesRising motorsports star Gabby Chaves (car # 7) made history on Friday (May 24) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, taking home a second place result in the closest finish ever at the famed Indiana oval. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie was poised to win the prestigious Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 when he was just edged at the stripe by an unbelievable 0.0026s. With the frustratingly close runner-up result, Chaves enters the next round having taken over third place in the Mazda Road to Indy series title chase.

As the headline event of the 97th Indianapolis 500 Carb Day, the highly-skilled Indy Lights field rolled on to the front straight of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Chaves, thanks to strong effort in single-car qualifying one day earlier, lined-up on the outside row poised to challenge for the win. After two pace laps in cool, but warming conditions, the action got underway via a clean start. While the former Formula BMW Americas champion and Italian Formula 3 Championship Rookie of the Year did not get an ideal launch, losing a couple places, he remained calm, aware that he had a car to work his way into the lead pack. Following a brief early race caution period for an incident, Chaves promptly did just that.

For the ‘Take 5 To Stay Alive. Don’t Text & Drive’ spokesperson and Safety Ambassador of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability, the mid portion of the 40-lap affair was all about strategy. Keeping on an eye on where his competitors were strong and where he had an advantage, Chaves began working out how and when he wanted to make his move for the win.

The fight for the Freedom 100 win, as many expected, came down to the final lap. The battle proved to be one for the ages, as exiting turn two Chaves made it three-wide down the back straight. Amazing onlookers, the lead trio remained side-by-side-by-side through turns three and four, with Chaves on the outside impressively keeping control of his No. 7 Coldeportes/Marca Colombia/RedServi/Tecpro entry. Dragging racing down the front-straight, it appeared Chaves had the advantage, albeit very slight. The fourth place racer, however, had other ideas, and benefiting from a huge draft from the lead trio, he pulled up alongside Chaves, making it four-wide as they approached the checkered flag. In what was record-breaking photo finish, Chaves ended up P2, an improbable 0.0026s behind the winner, setting a new margin of victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Wow what a race!” stated Chaves. “I was saving my tires and car for the end of the race. Things were going according to plan, as I had great momentum going up the back straight and made my move. When we went three-wide and I found some grip, I thought I was in position to win going down the front-straight. I saw Peter [Dempsey] coming right at the end, but didn’t think he had enough. I’m pretty sure I’ll be having nightmares for a few days about how close I got to winning here at Indy. I want to thank my team, my sponsors, and my engineer Chris Finch for the hard work. I wish I could have given them the win.”

Chaves now has a brief break before returning to the cockpit of his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racer on June 15, with Round Five at the historic Milwaukee Mile. The highly-regarded rookie enters the race at the fast flat oval currently third in the Firestone Indy Lights title fight.

Those interested in supporting Chaves’ charge towards a career in the upper echelon of motorsports are encouraged to contact Chaves and/or his management team.

Additional information on Gabby Chaves can be obtained from his website @www.GabbyChaves.com .