Returning to the road courses after making his first two appearances on oval tracks, UK standout Adam Christodoulou finds himself in the thick of the championship battle after recording two second place finishes as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear visited Joliet, Illinois, for the inaugural Harrah’s Grand Prix of Autobahn presented by Mazda doubleheader weekend.
Driving the #11 Molecule Labs sponsored JDC Motorsports entry, Christodoulou, who has recorded victories at Sebring and Miller Motorsports Park, entered the weekend seeking to recapture his championship points lead after falling from the top spot in Iowa. Adding to his motivation was the first opportunity to race in front of his family this season.
“The weekend here was one to remember as the facilities were excellent, there were thousands of spectators, plenty of autograph signings, TV interviews and best thing of all was my biggest fans arrived to America for the first time, my Mom and Dad,” Christodoulou explained. “ We had a bit of a slow start unfortunately when my car suffered with a minor electronic problem in the opening practice, but my mechanic Dave and the rest of JDC work hard on the job and by the important part of the weekend started, everything was sorted, and the car ran faultlessly.”
Battling a damp track and stiff competition in Saturday’s early qualifying session Christodoulou would scrap his way to the second spot on the grid alongside points leader Peter Dempsey. “Everyone was pushing their cars throughout the qualifying session, and the water on the track made it even trickier than normal, and I was pleased to come away with a strong second place spot on the grid,” he revealed.
Christodoulou got a blistering run on the standing start, jumping ahead of Dempsey as they raced down to the first turn but the dirtier outside line on the corner opened the door for Dempsey to slip past on the inside. “I got an amazing start but wasn’t able to clear Peter completely and take the cleaner inside line on that opening lap,” he lamented. “The rest of the race I was just pushing trying to close the gap on him, there was a brief safety car period which was my chance to get by Peter, but unfortunately he played the restart as I would expect any other driver to and got the gap on the restart. I was hoping to stay with Peter for the remainder of the race but I didn’t quite keep my tires up to temperature during the Safety car period and I found myself having to hold my ground for 2nd, where I finished the race.”
Qualifying for Sunday’s finale would bring a close to a busy Saturday and once again Christodoulou was challenging for pole position after making several adjustments to the car. “The changes were definitely an improvement but unfortunately we just missed out on the pole although we were able to extend the time difference to almost a full second over the third place qualifier,” Christodoulou commented.
Sunday’s race would find Adam in the same position as Saturday as he fought to chase down Dempsey, setting fast lap for both races in the process, before climbing the second spot on the podium. “Sunday wasn’t quite as exciting as it was green from start to finish with no safety cars,” Adam explained. “Peter managed to improve on his start and I was just chasing him down for the whole race. There was a period during the race where I was improving on his times catching him and setting the fastest lap but unfortunately no points being handed out for this achievement.”
With four races left in the championship Christodoulou sits nineteen points behind Dempsey with 323 points overall to Dempsey’s 342 points. The series now heads into Canada for a two race swing starting with the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres on August 14-16.
“I know it’s going to be extremely close battle until the end of the championship with only four races left and Trois-Rivieres will be my first street circuit, so there is going to be a steep learning curve, but I would like to think I can pick up this track fast like I have with all my others,” commented Adam. “I have to finish by thanking Michael Guasch and Molecule Labs, along with Alpinestars and JDC Motorsports, for the opportunity they have provided for me this season and I look forward to getting back in the car again in a couple of weeks.”
Molecule Labs has its roots in both specialty chemical manufacturing and motor sports. Over the years, its creator, Michael Guasch, has often worn a lab coat one day and a racing suit the next. His unique understanding of these two distinct professions brought Molecule™ Technical Fabric Care System into being. Guasch’s expertise developing innovative protective chemicals led to the sale of one of his national brands to a Fortune 500 company in 2005. But instead of retiring, he decided to devote more time to racing.
With his increased time on the racetrack, Guasch realized that his Nomex® racing suits required special care that dry cleaning and ordinary laundry products could not provide. So he returned to the lab to develop a new line of protective chemicals and care products specifically formulated for Nomex® and other technical fabrics. After two years of development and testing, in the lab and on the track, Guasch and his new company have created the four-step Molecule™ Technical Fabric Care System. Additional information on Molecule Labs can be obtained from the corporate website @ http://www.moleculelabs.com