Star Mazda - Horto and Menezes P3 And P4, Calderon DNFs Due To Tire Issue
Baltimore, September 5, 2011: At the end of an unpredictable and exciting weekend, it was Juncos Racing driver J.V. Horto who landed a podium finish at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. Horto's third place finish today was his fourth podium of the season and the ninth podium for Juncos Racing. The result also allowed him to tighten up his gap in the championship points; the Brazilian racer is now just one point behind competitor Nick Andries who currently lies third. Horto's teammate Gustavo Menezes came in right behind him in fourth, and with the combination of their finishes, Juncos Racing has regained the team championship lead with just one race to go.
J.V. Horto on the race: "I'm really happy. We had been struggling all weekend, but we made the right decisions for the race. We were faster, I was able to learn the track better, and I kept improving a little bit here and there. Some things happened in the race-there was a point when Sage (Karam), (Nick) Andries, and I were very close going into the hairpin. I was turning in, Sage was on the inside, he hit me, and I ended up hitting Andries. Luckily, I didn't have any damage and could continue in the race. After that, there were a couple of yellow flags, and I didn't have time to try to improve more. It was a really good race, especially after the difficult start to the weekend, and ending up on podium at the first Star Mazda Championship race in Baltimore was great. Thanks to Juncos Racing and my sponsors."
Gustavo Menezes on the race: "I am so happy that Juncos Racing is back in the lead for the team championship! We put everything together today in the race. We were all really strong, and I'm so happy for J.V. (Horto) for his podium finish. I learned a lot again and stayed strong from the race in Sonoma which proved that it wasn't just a one-shot deal. I was quick at end of the race, and was battling hard with Joao Jardim. Unfortunately, we had a lot of contact, hit, and then I got past him and went straight across the chicane, then next thing I knew the full course caution came out. Unfortunately, Tatiana (Calderon) and (Joao) Jardim had ended up out in the wall. We had a good chance at getting on the podium today, but we are happy leaving here with a solid result. We are going to Laguna Seca fighting for a win now. We have a great car, and I am putting together the speed, so it's time to pull a win together before the season ends. Thanks to the team-everyone did a great job."
Menezes' aggressive race paid off for him, but unfortunately, teammate Tatiana Calderon was caught in the aftermath of one of his battles; when Menezes finally overtook the No. 39 car of Joao Jardim for fourth postion, Jardim ended up crashing into a tire barrier, sending a tire straight at the then sixth place car of Calderon, spinning her around and ending her race early.
Tatiana Calderon on the race: "I had a really good start and gained a few positions, but then someone spun, and I had to go to the outside which made me lose two positions. I improved a lot from yesterday, but I need to keep pushing. On one of the restarts, we were all fighting for position, and unfortunately, Joao (Jardim) hit the tires, and the tires hit me! It ended my race, but it was one of the most amazing races for me. I was aggressive, and I really enjoyed my time in the car. Thank you to the team for all of their efforts. I hope we can have a good weekend in Laguna Seca now."