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Hawksworth hits the heights
1:52pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
Heading into the Grand Prix of Baltimore, Jack Hawksworth had acknowledged that he needed to win to keep his Firestone Indy Lights title challenge alive – and the talented young Cullingworth ace did just that to move within 11 points of the championship lead.
Having emerged victorious there 12 months earlier en route to lifting the Star Mazda Championship, Hawksworth has also been Indy Lights’ undisputed street circuit specialist this season so he returned in positive mood.
And the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) driver didn’t disappoint as he secured pole position in qualifying.
It sent out an ominous warning to his adversaries and in the 35-lap race the following day, the 22-year-old was peerless.
After managing a brace of early yellow-flag caution periods to perfection, Hawksworth pulled away from his pursuers, on occasion lapping a staggering second-and-a-half faster than anybody else in the field and winding up a dominant 13 seconds clear when the chequered flag fell.
“The first few laps were crazy,” he said.
“Carlos Muñoz’s accident opened the championship battle right up – and we knew we had to capitalise upon that.
“The key was to control the re-starts but I had a superb car underneath me which enabled me to push when I needed to – and once we had got the cautions out of the way, I could really enjoy the whole experience.”
His third triumph and sixth podium finish from ten Indy Lights starts left him fourth in the standings and saw him close the gap on leader Sage Karam to 11 points ahead of the penultimate race in Houston on October 5.
Hawksworth added: “If we can do the same at Houston as we did in Baltimore, regardless of anybody else’s result, we’ll be leading the championship entering the final round. The momentum is on our side – and we need to make the most of that.”
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