Star Mazda - Team GDT Qualifying Report
ST. PETERSBURG, March 24, 2012: Team GDT’s rookies placed 14th and 19th during Peak Performance qualifying for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Friday afternoon at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix.
The qualifying session determined the starting line-up for Saturday’s 40-minute race, which starts at 1 p.m.Ryan Tveter, 17, of Oyster Bay, N.Y. qualified 14th in the team’s No. 33 car advertising the team’s primary sponsor, General Datatech, L.P., with a time of 1:12.585 and an average speed of 89.275 miles per hour for the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course. His best lap came on his 15th lap of 16 competed in the allotted time.
Fellow rookie Andrés Méndez of Bogota, Columbia, 19, qualified 19th in the No. 53 sponsored by Datafile International SA and Grupo Kriterion with a time of 1:12.983 and an average speed of 88.788 mph. His fastest lap came on lap 10 of 16.
Connor De Philippi won the pole with a 1:10.401 (92.044 mph) but Conor Daly’s track record of 1:10.352 still stands.
Saturday’s race will be Tveter and Mendez’s first series start. It will also be the first standing start for both in a race car, although Méndez has done them in kart races.
Saturday’s race is the first half of a doubleheader. Sunday’s race is slated to start at 10:05 a.m. Its starting line-up will be set by each driver’s fastest race lap Saturday.
Driver quotes follow:
Ryan Tveter: “I think I had a really good qualifying session. P14 is pretty good. Our car is dialed in.
“Some corners of the course were a little slippery but the track was much better than it was yesterday.
“The crown of the road on this circuit is very similar to Trois-Rivieres, but it’s smoother. It’s fun to drive. It’s completely different than the Baltimore street circuit. It’s quite a bit faster.
“I’ve never done a standing start before, but I practiced one this morning during the practice session.
“Tomorrow I want to try to set a fast lap early and then conserve my tires as much as possible. We’ll have stickers on at the start tomorrow. We planned it that way because we hope to be able to do a fast lap early to give us a good starting spot in Sunday’s race, since that grid is set by the fastest race laps on Saturday.”
Andrés Méndez: “I learned a lot in qualifying. The yellow flag and the red flag broke my momentum though.
“I came in and we put on a new set of tires but my car understeered after that. I’m not sure why it did that, but I still think we can have a good race tomorrow.”