PALMETTO, Fla. (August 4, 2015) – A hectic and successful weekend saw Team Pelfrey successfully contesting a total of eight races among three series at two different circuits. The Mazda Road to Indy visited the Mid-Ohio-Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for two more rounds of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, in which Team Pelfrey’s Santi Urrutia earned his third win of the season, as well as three races counting toward the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda which saw Garth Rickards and Ayla Agren equal their best results to date. Meanwhile, a few hundred miles to the east at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, English teenager Jordan Cane won two of the three races which comprised Round Five of the F1600 Formula F Championship Series.
Urrutia, 18, from Miguelete, Uruguay, began the weekend with a 27-point advantage in his quest for a MAZDASPEED scholarship to assist in graduation to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2016. After posting a solid fourth-fastest time in qualifying, Urrutia moved into second place at the start of Saturday’s race behind title rival and race leader Neil Alberico. A few laps later, Alberico, who started second, was adjudged to have jumped the start and instructed to cede his position to Urrutia, who duly maintained his advantage to secure his third win of the year.
Sixteen-year-old Pato O’Ward, from Monterrey, Mexico, wasn’t able to extend his sequence of three podium finishes but he did make good progress, rising from 10th on the grid to seventh, while English teammate Raoul Owens jumped initially from 14th to 11th before fading to 13th at the checkered flag.
Race Two on Sunday morning saw Alberico take the win over Frenchman Timothé Buret, although another strong third-place finish for Urrutia enabled him to stretch his points lead to 29 over Alberico with only two races remaining. Buret has now moved into third, 47 points adrift, having overtaken Malaysian Weiron Tan, who has slipped from second to fourth.
Team Pelfrey remains in contention for the Team Championship, trailing Juncos racing by only 20 points, 355-335, with a total of 80 points still available from the final two races.
The first of three USF2000 races, held on Friday afternoon, ended prematurely for the unfortunate Rickards, who was unable to capitalize on his season-best qualifying position, fifth, due to an incident with teammate Gabin on Lap 4. Gabin went on to finish eighth, while Agren, who also posted her best qualifying effort to date, starting seventh, slipped back to 10th, narrowly ahead of Nikita Lastochkin in a fourth Team Pelfrey Van Diemen-Mazda.
Race Two on Saturday morning was more productive, with Rickards and Agren equaling their best finishes to date in fifth and sixth. Gabin took the checkered flag hot on their heels in seventh, with Lastochkin not too far behind in 10th.
Rickards and Gabin chased fellow rookie, Canadian Parker Thompson, for most of the final race of the weekend, on Saturday evening, before Gabin managed to find a way through into sixth at a restart with just two laps remaining. Rickards lost a couple of positions to finish eighth, while Lastochkin relieved Agren of 10th during a dramatic final lap.
The Pro Mazda and USF2000 seasons will wrap up with two more rounds at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course in Monterey, Calif., on September 11-13.