Fighting through a weekend of adversity, Star Mazda Championship contender Adam Christodoulou continued to tighten up the championship points race with a podium finish at Mosport International Raceway in Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Just as the Mosport Circuit features ups and downs and twists and turns, so too was the path Christodoulou would take over the course of the race weekend.
The weekend looked promising from the start with the Birmingham, United Kingdom resident quickly jumping to the top of the time sheets in the early stages of the opening test session before the first twist of the weekend would strike.
“I was fastest at the time and everything was looking good until I made a minor error out of corner three, just clipping the grass on the exit, I tried to save it but the grass was damp and I became a passenger. I ended up making contact with the tyre wall, taking off my front wing and causing damage to the front left corner of the car,” Adam commented. “Once we got the car back to the trailer Dave my mechanic was straight onto the job and through a tremendous effort the car was fixed just before the next session.”
Back on track in the second session and looking to climb the charts once again Christodoulou suffered his second setback of the weekend after a bump at the apex of the flat out sixth gear turn two sent his #11 Molecule Labs / Alpinestars/ JDC Motorsports Pro Formula Mazda off the circuit.
“I hit the small bump on the inside of the track, lifting the front wheels and once the car landed it bottomed out and before I could save it I was on the grass going backwards down the hill. I realized it wasn’t going to be good so I braced myself for impact and I hit the wall with some serious speed causing even more damage than the previous session,” He revealed. “The Mosport safety crew were at my wreck within seconds; I got out the car and was checked over by the paramedics. Luckily I was ok, and the strong structure of the Star Mazda had taken all the impact. Once again we had a big job of getting the car fixed and I’ve got to thank everyone from the JDC Motorsport team for all their support and help putting the car back together, every one chipped in, the crew worked late hours, and the car was fixed by the morning.”
Returning to the circuit for the second day of practice Christodoulou would work on putting the previous days events behind him and after cracking the top ten on old tires in the morning session was pleased to post the second fastest time in the final practice session, just five-hundredths off the fast time from the session.
Adjustments made in anticipation of the morning qualifying session were washed away as torrential rains had swept across the track over night and though the storm had relented during qualifying the track surface was still wet enough to require a wet setup and a heavy fog made visibility a challenge. “Several red flag periods for cars that went off chopped up the session and I was a little bit annoyed only qualifying 4th, but we had the car set up for the wet conditions and the track dried up quicker than expected,” Adam stated. “Still I was happy that I out qualified my main championship contender Peter Dempsey.”
With an early morning qualifying session and a late afternoon race the weather forecast became the obsession of the day as the teams watched and waited to see if the storms would return and how to adjust their cars for the conditions. As the afternoon arrived it became apparent that the race would be run in the dry and attention was made to getting the cars just right for the 45 minute race.
As the green lights went out for the standing start everyone worked their way through turn one safely for what would be a caution flag free event. Battling his teammate Alex Ardoin on the opening laps, Christodoulou was able to gain the upper hand and move into the third spot and started focusing on catching up to the leaders. As the leaders started to encounter lapped traffic, Adam was able to climb into second place as race leader Conor Daly spun after making an outside pass attempt in turn eight before recovering and returning to the circuit. While the lapped traffic would initially help Adam it also cost him later in the race.
“I was now in second but it wasn’t going to be easy as Conor didn’t lose much time and was chasing me down. Traffic was all about timing and trying to get around the lapped traffic without losing time or speed,” Adam said. “Conor was getting closer lap by lap and I could see him trying to get the draft down the straight, unfortunately he finally got the run he needed to draft past down the straight and went down my inside. The flag came out and I brought the car home in 3rd. It wasn’t quite the win, but I was more than happy to finish 3rd after the disastrous start to the weekend and the main thing was I closed up the gap in the championship. I went into round eleven, 10 points shy of the championship, and I’ve now reduced it just 7 points.”
With two rounds left in the championship the series now heads to Road Atlanta for Round Twelve of the Championship during the Petit Le Mans race weekend on September 23-25.