Avondale, LA (April 13, 2015) – The 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires continued this past weekend with the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park (North). Juncos Racing rookie Timothe Buret claimed his first podium finish in the Pro Mazda Championship taking third in Race 1 on the 2.74 mile, 13-Turn road course located in Avondale, Louisiana.
Weather played a major role in the second weekend of the Pro Mazda Championship with heavy thunderstorms on Saturday postponing Race 1 to Sunday. Extremely wet conditions plagued the 16 driver field on Sunday causing low visibility in Race 1, which completed 11 laps caution free. That same day Race 2 was canceled due to inclement weather and will be made up at an unknown date this season.
Rookie Timothe Buret’s weekend started off strong behind the wheel of the #6 BroadSign car, finishing second overall in practice and qualifying fourth. The Frenchman’s third place finish marked his first podium in the Pro Mazda series, delivering Juncos Racing their second podium of the season.
Teammate Jose Gutierrez, driving the #7 Prisma car, finished inside the Top-10 taking home eighth, and remains third in the championship standings. Canadian Garett Grist, who qualified sixth, was battling for fourth in the #5 BlackList/Lander Property Management car, was spun midway through the race to finish 11th. Rookie Will Owen, driving the #23 AMR car, had a great start to the weekend ending practice third overall, unfortunately spun midway through the race forcing him near the back of the field to finish 13th.
Juncos Racing Team Owner, Ricardo Juncos was thrilled to see rookie Buret bring home his first podium finish since moving into the Mazda Road to Indy program. Juncos looks to add more podium finishes from all four drivers as the season progresses.
“Timothe’s performance this weekend was absolutely outstanding, he has quickly shown us that he will be a champion in the future,” said Juncos. “We knew he was talented when he first tested with us, but his ability to rise to the top so quickly shows his passion and determination. Jose (Gutierrez), Garett (Grist), and Will (Owen) didn’t get the finishes that they wanted, but each of them showed tremendous pace during the dry running we had. We have a talented group of drivers and I feel each driver is very close to a big breakthrough. The championship is still up for grabs; we need to turn our focus to have consistent solid finishes from here forward.”
Timothe Buret (Montpellier, France):”I am satisfied with the NOLA weekend, although I had the potential to score more points if the schedule was not altered due to weather. From the beginning of the weekend I had a good feeling in the car. I was unfortunately not able to put everything into the right order during qualifications that resulted in the second row (P4) start. I had a safe start on a wet track Sunday morning, which was also my first experience in those wet conditions with the Pro Mazda and the Cooper tires. After a few laps I was able to improve my pace and climb to P3. I had the speed to improve, but I was too far from the lead in a shortened race. I am very happy to have my first podium with Juncos Racing that has prepared a very fast car in all conditions. I really look forward the next race at Barber, a “European style” track that I really enjoy.”
Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada): “New Orleans was an interesting weekend. Thursday’s practice went well, but we were struggling with being down on power. Friday was another good day where we kept improving and the following day in qualifying we ended up in P6 which wasn’t too bad. In Race 1 I was making my way through the field in the rain, but unfortunately spun while making my run on fourth. The weather was horrible with vision being low and lots of standing water and then the second race was cancelled due to weather. I’m looking forward to getting to a better track when we head to Barber in a few weeks.”
Jose Gutierrez (Monterrey, Mexico): “NOLA was a very up and down weekend for us. We had a lot of speed in practice. This race was one of the craziest races I have ever competed in and it was a battle to the end. We will move on from this weekend and will be back to 100% ready for Barber in a few weeks where I can show my full potential.”
Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado, USA): “I was really excited for this event, but it didn’t end in a good way. I was up and down on speed during the practice days. I was third in the combined Friday practice results, but 8th in qualifying because I slightly bent my car on a curb. I had a good start to the race but spun a couple laps in because I drove into turn three too hard. Now I need to push hard to regain confidence and momentum for the next event. Thanks Juncos and Speedgroup for everything this weekend.”