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MRTI Spring Training Observations: Pro Mazda Day 1

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This article has been updated throughout the day following each of the sessions, with the final update posted as of 7:26 pm ET.

Surrounded by new faces at each turn, a familiar driver in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires topped the charts at the end of the first day of Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Driving for Juncos Racing, Carlos Cunha topped the third session with a lap of one minute and 19.498 seconds to post the quickest time of the day. In his rookie campaign last season, he placed third in the standings with seven podiums.

“I have been working really hard to be ready for the season and I’m feeling ready to start,” he told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.

David Malukas’ quick lap of one minute and 19.579 seconds  from the third session places him second on the chart. The BN Racing driver got his feet wet last year in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition, running nine races with two top-fives, including a runner-up at Road America.

He was followed by Robert Megennis, who makes the jump up to Pro Mazda with Juncos Racing after spending the past two years in USF2000, scoring a pole and victory last year at St. Petersburg.

“I’m super excited to get the year started,” he told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “I’m with the best team, the car is awesome to drive, and the field looks like it’s going to be super close. It’s going to be tough, but I just can’t wait for St. Pete.”

Sting Ray Robb led the way for Team Pelfry, ranking fourth for the day. Last year, Robb scored a top-10 in each event of his rookie campaign, with a season-best fourth on three different occasions for World Speed Motorsports. His rookie teammate Rafel Martins rounded out the top-five, who enters the Mazda Road to Indy after winning at Oulton Park and tallying two podium finishes during the 2016 F4 British Championship season.

SHAWN GRITZMACHER | MAZDA ROAD TO INDY

SHAWN GRITZMACHER | MAZDA ROAD TO INDY

Oliver Askew topped the second session with a lap of one minute and 19.987 seconds, seeing him ranked sixth overall for the day. He makes the jump up with Cape Motorsports after winning the USF2000 Championship last year. Askew got his chance on the MRTI after winning the Mazda Road to Indy $200k Shootout in December 2016.

Exclusive Autosport proved last year because they are new to the Mazda Road to Indy, you cannot count them out of contention. They are showing that once again as in their first Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires appearance, rookie Parker Thompson sits seventh quickest on the overall speed chart for the day. The Canadian team announced that they would be moving up to the second-tier of the Mazda Road to Indy with Thompson after placing third last year in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda standings with three victories.

 

Pos No Driver Hometown Team BestTm Diff Gap BestSpd BestLap TotalLaps
1 90 Parker Thompson (R) Red Deer Canada Exclusive Autosport 01:20.0675 –.—- –.—- 99.366 23 27
2 82 Sting Ray Robb Payette ID Team Pelfrey 01:20.1669 0.0994 0.0994 99.243 20 24
3 79 David Malukas (R) Chicago IL BN Racing 01:20.1895 0.1220 0.0226 99.215 13 17
4 81 Andres Gutierrez (R) Monterrey Mexico Team Pelfrey 01:20.5278 0.4603 0.3383 98.798 18 26
5 80 Rafael Martins (R) Sao Paulo Brazil Team Pelfrey 01:20.6192 0.5517 0.0914 98.686 17 17
6 2 Rinus VeeKay (R) Hoofddorp Netherlands Juncos Racing 01:20.6435 0.5760 0.0243 98.656 9 26
7 1 Carlos Cunha Campinas Brazil Juncos Racing 01:20.6809 0.6134 0.0374 98.611 11 16
8 3 Oliver Askew (R) Melbourne FL Cape Motorsports 01:21.0219 0.9544 0.3410 98.196 27 27
9 9 Robert Megennis (R) New York NY Juncos Racing 01:21.1152 1.0477 0.0933 98.083 12 15
10 8 Nikita Lastochkin Moscow Russia Cape Motorsports 01:21.1548 1.0873 0.0396 98.035 16 26
11 78 Kris Wright (R) St Petersburg Russia BN Racing 01:21.2674 1.1999 0.1126 97.899 14 19
12 12 James Raven (R) Portsmouth England DE Force Racing 01:21.7334 1.6659 0.4660 97.341 21 26
13 91 Antonio Seravalle (R) Markham Canada Exclusive Autosport 01:21.8499 1.7824 0.1165 97.202 22 24

pro mazda saturday practice 2

pro mazda saturday practice 3

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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