Mazda Road to Indy drivers spent the weekend at different venues and, for that matter, different countries.
The USF2000 National Championship raced at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with INDYCAR, while Star Mazda and Indy Lights drivers headlined the prestigious Canadian street race at Trois-Rivières.
The following is a quick recap of the weekend’s events.
USF2000 National Championship
American Spencer Pigot started the weekend off in a familiar position; scoring his fifth consecutive win (from pole) at Mid-Ohio. Pigot’s Team Pelfrey teammate Matthew Brabham posted the quickest time in qualifying but was bumped to the rear of the field for using tires undeclared for competition. Undeterred Brabham put in the drive of the weekend, advancing from 30th to 3rd in 20 laps.
Scott Anderson finished second in Round 11, trailing Pigot by 1.89 seconds. Brabham was third with Trent Hindman finishing fourth and Roman Lagudi completing the top five. RC Enerson won the National Class race with Scott Rettich and Henrik Furuseth completing the podium.
In Round 7, Anderson masterfully drove to his first career USF2000 victory in wet, slippery conditions. Pigot and Brabham battled up front but both went off in turn six (more than once). Anderson managed his restarts perfectly, however, and set the fastest lap of the race proving his place on the top step of the podium.
Matthew Di Leo produced a great result, finishing second in his family-owned car, after starting sixth. Di Leo earned his spot following a tight battle with Hindman (3rd place) on the final lap. Luigi Biangardi was fourth with Shelby Blackstock rounding out the top five.
Furuseth won the National Class, improving 11 positions during the race to finish 8th overall. Jim Libecco was second with Enerson completing the podium.
Series points leader Jack Hawksworth punished the competition in Round 11 earning his seventh victory of 2012 after starting from pole position for the eighth time this season. To top it off, he won by an astounding 24.349 seconds.
Sage Karam finished second with Connor De Phillippi completing the podium at Trois-Rivières, a 1.51-mile street circuit.
Star Mazda veteran Alex Ardoin finished fourth after qualifying eighth, despite being out of the car for two years. Gabby Chaves completed the top five with another consistent performance.
In Round 12, Hawksworth vaulted into the lead until the race was red-flagged due to torrential rain on lap 24. With all drivers entering pit lane for rain tires, racing resumed with a few minutes remaining on the clock.
After the green flag waved, Hawksworth drove too deep into turn six sliding into the tire barriers under braking allowing Karam to slide past and claim the lead. Once out front, Karam drove a mistake-free race and claimed his first-career Star Mazda street-course victory. Chaves finished second with Ardoin completing the podium after a tough battle with Petri Suvanto. Martin Scuncio completed the top five.
Andres Mendez posted a solid drive, advancing from 15th to 7th in the 31-lap race. Championship contenders Hawksworth and De Phillippi finished the race 12th and 13th, respectively.
Peter Dempsey’s first win in Indy Lights was in sight.
Then it faded, almost as quickly as it had appeared.
Dempsey aggressively took the lead during the opening lap at Trois-Rivières after starting fifth. He maintained his lead until lap nine when a gearbox issued forced him into early retirement.
From that point on, it was all Tristan Vautier. Vautier, who started from pole and paced the field in practice, led the remainder of the event, finishing 6.653 seconds ahead of Gustavo Yacaman in the 60-lap race for his third win of the season. Carlos Munoz was third.
Indy Lights points leader Esteban Guerrieri was fourth with SSM teammate Oliver Webb finishing fifth after starting eighth.