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Hot Hawksworth claims Toronto double
Jack Hawksworth reasserted his grip on the chase for the 2012 Star Mazda Championship crown with a double victory at Toronto Indy that took him almost 40 points clear of his adversaries.
After losing the lead he had held all season – when a mechanical failure pitched his Team Pelfrey single-seater into a wall from third place at Iowa Speedway a fortnight earlier – the Cullingworth driver was determined to reaffirm his authority.
After placing fourth out of the 21 contenders in practice, Hawksworth knew he was in good shape – and his fourth pole position out of seven in 2012 proved it.
Despite lapping four tenths of a second out of reach of any of his rivals around the challenging 2.84km 11-turn layout, the highly-rated former Park-side School pupil was adamant he could have gone quicker still.
Hawksworth made a good start in the first race but an accident saw the field close up after a safety car was introduced.
He said: “We spent a couple of laps behind that. I made a good restart and began to open up a gap – and then a lap-and-a-half later again, there was another safety car, which closed the field right up onto the back of me.
“Then we had ten laps of racing and we had a really good car, so I was able to establish a decent advantage over second place.
“After that, it was a case mainly of making sure I got fastest lap to secure pole position for race two.
“It was a brilliant outcome and a massive result for everybody in the team.
“After losing the championship lead at Iowa, this was the perfect way to respond.”
Race two the following day saw even more intervention from the safety car and meant drivers were effectively left with a three-lap sprint. Hawksworth was hindered by a slow puncture picked up from debris on the track but he was still able to secure his second victory.
He said: “Race two was probably the craziest and most dramatic race I’ve ever been in – just carnage.
“Over the last lap-and-a-half, the car became really difficult to drive (due to the puncture) and I didn’t have much of a lead to fall back on.
“Luckily for me, the guys behind were busy fighting amongst themselves so I just had to keep my cool and concentrate on bringing it safely home.
“I never felt we were in any real danger of losing the win but I’ll admit I was relieved to see the chequered flag because by then the tyre was completely flat.”
Completing an imperious clean sweep of lights-to-flag victories, pole positions and fastest laps, Hawksworth’s flawless weekend saw him regain the championship lead and leave Toronto 39 points clear.
With more street circuits and road courses on the immediate agenda, the 21-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star knows now is the time to hammer home his advantage.
Hawksworth added: “Given how professional Team Pelfrey is and how hard they work, this kind of weekend has been on the cards for a while. We didn’t put a foot wrong and I owe a huge thanks to the team.”
His next race is the Grand Prix of Edmonton this weekend, followed by the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières from August 3-5.