Newcomer Nicolas Costa Scores Podium Finish for Team Pelfrey in Toronto
 July 14, 2013| 
  • Team News

TORONTO, Ont., Canada – Two 25-lap races for Team Pelfrey on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place in Toronto were highlighted by a fine podium finish on Saturday by series debutant Nicolas Costa. The 20-year-old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also crossed the line in third place on Sunday, only to be penalized for passing a lapped car while the yellow caution flags were flying.
Teammate Spencer Pigot’s weekend went from bad to worse after he qualified a disappointing sixth, then was involved in incidents during each leg of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto which comprised Rounds Seven and Eight of the  Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Qualifying on Friday saw Costa qualify strongly in the third position, while Pigot’s gamble of running a little less downforce on the demanding and unforgiving street circuit failed to pay off as he struggled with the balance of his car. His best lap was less than two-tenths shy of Costa but was good enough for only sixth on the starting grid.
Saturday morning’s race began with Pigot making an excellent jump to challenge for fourth place going into Turn One. Costa, meanwhile, struggled off the line and found himself back in seventh at the end of Lap One. Their fortunes quickly were transposed. A rare error by Pigot saw him clip the wall in Turn Four, causing suspension damage which necessitated a lengthy pit stop for repairs. He resumed to finish a frustrated ninth.
Costa, by contrast, moved back inside the top five by Lap Three, took advantage of a mistake by Shelby Blackstock, then passed Juan Piedrahita on Lap 20 to claim a well-deserved podium finish.
Sunday morning’s race began with a standing start for the first time this season, and while Costa initially lost a couple of places, he quickly regained one when Scott Anderson made a mistake. Costa then overtook Piedrahita on Lap Nine to regain third position, which he maintained until the end. Unfortunately, after making his way to the podium, he was informed about his yellow flag transgression which had occurred during a caution period on Lap 16. The ensuing penalty relegated him to sixth in the final results.
Pigot once again struggled with the balance of his car, clipping the wall on Lap One and dropping to eighth, and later incurring more damage when he briefly lost control while trying to make a pass for seventh. He crashed out of the race for good when his front suspension finally let go under braking for Turn Three on Lap 15.
Team Pelfrey will have just a few days to regroup before returning to action just an hour or so to the east with another pair of races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 20/21. Pigot and Costa will be joined by a third Team Pelfrey entry for Toronto’s Dalton Kellett who will be stepping up a class after claiming a pair of top-10 finishes in this weekend’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda races on the streets of Toronto.
Nicolas Costa (#82 Pelfrey Performance/ /Alufama/Inova Mkt.) – Race One, qualified third, finished third; Race Two, qualified third, finished sixth:
“Our weekend was really good. I’m really happy with how much we improved during the weekend – not just myself but the car, everybody. We managed to put everything together for qualifying and we were really competitive the whole weekend. The two races went really good; I was really happy we could challenge for podium places, top places, and I think it was a great debut. I really have to thank Team Pelfrey for everything they did for me. They really managed to get the best out of me this weekend and I’m looking forward to the next one.”

On his penalty in Race Two: “I overtook a backmarker on the straight while there was a local yellow flag. I wasn’t going to overtake him initially but he waved me by and he lifted for me to pass, so as it was a local yellow I didn’t really know what to do – whether to pass him or not – but I decided not to brake on the straight, otherwise I would lose everything I did in the race to that point in the race. It was the wrong call. In the end it was my fault and I’m sure I’m going to learn from it, and hopefully the next weekend is going to be even better.”
Spencer Pigot (#81 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/Gap Guard/ Scents/OMP) – Race One, qualified sixth, finished ninth; Race Two, qualified seventh, finished 11th: “It was definitely a weekend to forget. We never really hit the setup and I just kind of struggled all weekend and then had some struggles in the races with mistakes on my part. I tried to get through the weekend and in the end it didn’t work out so well but the guys were working really hard to give me a good car and repair everything, so we’ll just move on to Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) next weekend.”

Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, is built upon the same principles he used 35 years ago when establishing his business career – hire the best, acquire the best and expect the best in order to achieve the most. After fielding cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 1998 until 2000, Team Pelfrey was reformed in 2011, winning on its Pro Mazda debut and going on to earn the Team Championship as well as second and third in the drivers’ title-chase with Connor De Phillippi and Nick Andries. Team Pelfrey went one better in 2012, guiding Jack Hawksworth to the Drivers’ Championship and earning a second successive Team Championship.

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