Star Mazda - Horto Victorious with First Career Win at Mosport
Bowmanville, July 26, 2011: Brazilian racer J.V. Horto was victorious today with his first career win at Mosport International Raceway. The 20-year-old started the race in fifth position and made his way to the front by driving consistently and waiting for the opportune moment to make each of his fluid overtakes. In the end, Horto formed a 2.691-second gap over second place Connor De Phillippi, giving Juncos Racing their first win of 2011. Though the team has been on the podium in every race but one this season, this is Juncos Racing's first victory since winning at Mosport last year with champion Conor Daly.
J.V. Horto on the race: "This was probably the best weekend I've ever had since I started racing cars. Juncos Racing and I have been working very hard to be able to reach this result. I didn't get to put a good lap together in qualifying and ended up fifth, but I knew that we had a fast car for the race no matter where we started.
"At the start of the race, I held onto my position and focused on saving my tires until the right time came to start pushing. I was able to pass (Nick) Andries first and take over fourth position. After that, there was some contact in the battle for second allowing me to take third from (Tristan) Vautier, and then I went after (Connor) De Phillippi and Sage (Karam). I was really close to them, and then Sage (Karam) went off in turn two, so I took the opportunity to pass both him and (Connor) De Phillippi and take over the lead. Then I just focused on hitting my marks and keeping a distance over second place.
"I want to thank God first of all for giving me this opportunity, thank my family that came from Brazil, and thank each person on Juncos Racing for the great car and great environment that we have inside the team. Congratulations to my teammate Tatiana (Calderon) for her podium finish. I'm sure we will be stronger for the rest of season, and we want to be in the fight for the championship."
Tatiana Calderon of Bogota, Colombia deservingly scored a third place finish and her second career podium in this morning's race. She, like Horto, focused on saving tires at the beginning of the 45-minute event, but by the halfway point the 18-year-old had unleashed the competitor within herself. She maintained her position within the front-running group, clocked in some of the fastest laps of the race and fought her way onto the podium once again in 2011.
Tatiana Calderon on the race: "The race was so good. I had a great start and was able to drive very consistently throughout the whole thing which was definitely the key to success. I tried to save my tires for the end of the race, and I was running fast times then. I was trying to close the gap to second place, and I did by a lot, but didn't quite reach (Connor De Phillippi). The only unfortunate thing was that the race was too short for me to go for second place!
"The team did a great job. The car was fantastic all weekend. I am really looking forward to getting to Trois-Rivieres in a couple weeks because I am really hungry for a win now!"
Martin Scuncio seemed to be on more of a rollercoaster than a race track this weekend; after a tough qualifying session, he and the team made the decision to start the race on a new set of tires which according to the rulebook would cause him to give up his qualifying time and start at the back of the grid. From the back, he climbed his way through the field and had reached teammate Tatiana Calderon who was running in sixth at the time, but a mistake saw him run off course and pick up an unwanted rider; a banner got caught in his rear wing and had to be removed, causing him to fall back through the field. At the end, the Chilean racer was delivering his fastest lap times of the day and ultimately ended up scoring ninth position.
Martin Scuncio on the race: "It was kind of a weird weekend for me. It started off really well, but then we started to have some problems. Qualifying was pretty bad for us, so we decided to start the race on a new set of tires which put us starting last.
"The race was really good at first. We were improving lap by lap, and the car was great until I ran a little deep into turn three, touched the grass and collected a banner that got stuck in my rear wing. After that, I had to make a pit stop to get the sign out of my car which made me lose a lot of time. I still finished ninth overall and had the second fastest lap of the race, though, so that was good in the end.
"I want to thank Juncos Racing for an awesome racecar once again, and I want to congratulate my teammates J.V. Horto for his first win and Tatiana Calderon for her second podium finish. They did an awesome job!"
Teammate Gustavo Menezes of California found the high speed track at Mosport International Raceway fun, yet challenging. Despite having less experience than many of his competitors, the 16-year-old rookie soon found his rhythm on track today and was able to battle with a highly competitive field and finish the day with a sixth place scoring position. In his first year of formula car racing, Menezes has finished in the top-ten positions in every race and even made it onto the podium at Iowa Speedway, a very respectable accomplishment for the first-year driver.
Gustavo Menezes on the race: "This weekend was tough. We struggled a bit at the end after having some solid practice results, but I was still able to come out of the race with a sixth place result and some solid laps. I really can't be upset with that as I am still making progress in the championship and learning immensely.
"The guys at Juncos Racing helped me improve a lot this weekend, so I would like to thank them for that. The car was great all race long, and we were able to run some fast laps near the end of the race. The next race in Trois-Rivieres is very soon, and we will definitely be pushing hard for another podium finish or even a win!
"A big thank you goes out to all my supporters, sponsors and TRUECar. I can't wait to get to the next race."
Team Owner, Ricardo Juncos on the race: "This weekend was so special for us because the team got their first win of the season. We were so close to winning every single race, but every time it had been denied, until now. We got two drivers on the podium again today which gives us a total of seven times having one of our drivers on the podium this year! For us, and for any team, what else could you ask for?
"We won here at Mosport last year, so we knew we had an unbelievable car that could win again. Unfortunately, we didn't get the qualifying laps in we were hoping for. J.V. (Horto) was blocked on his fast qualifying lap and ended up fifth which is always difficult to win from, but he did it. I am so happy for him to get his first win in the series.
"Tatiana (Calderon) did an excellent job with another podium finish. Gustavo (Menezes) kept improving a lot during this weekend and finished sixth. I feel sorry for Martin (Scuncio) because he was denied a podium finish today after his incident. He had been doing so well all season, but then he hit some bad luck. His engine blew up in Iowa and he had to start at the back of the grid today. It looked like he would get a podium finish, but debris got caught in his car and made him finish in ninth.
"I want to thank the whole team again for all their hard work and congratulate all of my drivers on their achievements. There are still five more races in the championship, and it is getting tight now, so it's really anybody's game. I love a challenge like that, so we will keep pushing for more victories and the championship title."