By Steve Wittich
An extremely determined Anthony Martin, who has won his fifth race in his last six tries at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, put in the most dominating MRTI drive of the season.
Martin, the reigning USF2000 champion beat the points leader coming into the race, Victor Franzoni, to the checkered flag by a vast 13.9957 seconds. The Australian led all 23 laps from the pole, and his quickest lap of 79.833 seconds was an unheard of eight tenths of a second faster than any of his completion.
“I knew I had one job to do and that was to win the race. I was a little ticked off from yesterday so I might have had a little more aggression today, but I had to put what happened yesterday out of my mind – racing is racing and those things happen,” said Martin. “I didn’t look behind me until the back straight, when the team told me that Victor was in second and that I needed to go. From there, it was head down. The Cape boys gave me a great car all weekend and it was almost a 100 percent successful weekend. It was great to see we could do it and that helps with three races to go. Pressure motivates me to do better and I think being on top makes me go faster so I’m confident going forward.”
With the maximum of 33 points scored, Martin has unofficially grabbed a four point lead in the championship with three races remaining.
Because Andersen Promotions has impounded the cars of the top-three finishers to conduct a more robust technical inspection. The cars of podium finishers Anthony Martin, Victor Franzoni, and Carlos Cunha will be transported to Indianapolis, Ind. for that process, and official results will not be official until later in the week.
Motorsport.com has learned that all three teams with a car within the top three, Cape Motorsports, Juncos Racing and Team Pelfrey, have at various times during the season, have accused each other of various forms of malfeasance. By subjecting all three teams cars to a vigorous inspection, Series Officials hope that it will put those accusations to rest.
After a slight delay to get things cleaned up after a previous race, the 14 Mazda Renesis rotary power plants were fired for the third race of the Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products triple-header.
For the fifth time in ten Pro Mazda races this season, it was Martin that led the field to the green flag.
After a tidy two-by-two start, Martin pulled a slight gap, with Franzoni took a look inside of Cunha in Turn 1. The points leader heading into the race, wisely thought better of it and tucked in behind the No. 81 of Cunha on long run up the hill to The Keyhole. Fraznoni was a able to get inside of Cunha and had the preferred inside line through the off-camber 180 degree Turn 2, completing the pass and slotting in behind Martin.
At the end of the first lap, Martin had already been able to build a 1.2 second gap over Franzoni. The remainder of the top 10 were Cunha, Nikita Lastochkin, TJ Fischer, Sting Ray Robb, Bobby Eberle, Kris Wright, Bob Kaminsky, and Max Hanratty.
The three bright yellow Team Pelfrey cars visually appeared as one as they ran nose-to-tail on the long run up to The Keyhole. The No. 82 of Fisher was able to get by the No. 80 of Lastochkin for fourth.
On Lap 8, World Speed Motorsports rookie Sting Ray Robb, split up the Team Pelfrey trio when he made a daring pass around the outside of Lastochkin in Turn 4.
Martin steadily built on his early lead and by the half-way point of the half-hour race, the Australian’s lead over Franzoni had grown to over four seconds.
For the first 20 minutes of the race, Franzoni had a fairly comfortable one second lead over fellow Brazilian Cunha, but not long after, the rookie began to make inroads on the veteran.
Cunha was able to quickly cut the veteran’s lead to under half of a second, and spent a number of laps stalking Franzoni, before making made a daring move to get by Franzoni in Turn 5 and 6, but falling just short.
The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series will be back on track at Gateway Motorsports Park for round 10 on August 26, 2017.
Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Allied Building Products Race #3 results – UNOFFICIAL
|1||8||Anthony Martin||23 LAPS|
|5||14||Sting Ray Robb||24.8675|
|10||60||Jeff Green||-1 LAPS|
|11||12||Kris Wright||-1 LAPS|
|12||2||Dave Zavelson||-1 LAPS|
|13||31||Brendan Puderbach||-1 LAPS|
|14||5||Kevin Bury||-13 LAPS|