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July 16, 2013
Toronto, ON - Danilo Estrela captured his first win in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda this past weekend in the Analytic Systems USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto. His #11 Belardi Auto Racing car was on a high point all weekend with a strong qualifying session and a third-place finish in Race 1 followed by his incredible first-place finish during Race 2. It should also be noted this is the first win (and fifth podium) for Belardi Auto Racing in 2013.
Estrela qualified seventh initially but, unfortunately, his fastest lap time was taken from him when he had contact with the wall in Turn Five. When race day rolled around Estrela was determined to turn the qualifying mistake into success. Gradually he made his way through the pack until the last lap when he pulled a "classic karting maneuver" to pass for third position in Turn Eight. This podium finish moved Estrela up to second in the championship point standings.
Using the momentum from his podium finish the previous day, Estrela was focused on the win for Race 2. The race itself was quite dramatic with three lengthy cautions and aggressive driving by all. Estrela slipped back to third after the first restart, but fought his way back into second position quickly. He had a really good battle for a majority of the race with fellow competitor Neil Alberico. After the final caution, Estrela would use a late braking technique to overtake Alberico in Turn One to take the win. Estrela currently sits in second position in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda point standings, just a mere 37 points behind leader Scott Hargrove.
The next event on the USF2000 Championship series schedule is at the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, the weekend of August 2-4. This will be a triple-header event in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
"We had a problem with the starter and I think that upset my mind a little bit. I made a mistake trying too hard in Turn Five (hit the wall with rear of the car) which costs us our fast lap time, but we qualified eleventh which is not all that bad. We are going to make the car faster for the race and I think we can get a podium. It will be good."
"The race was amazing! We were two tenths quicker on the practice but we had a problem in qualifying, so we started in eleventh. I was just getting my spots, getting my spots, doing my best and I think we ran the second quickest lap of the race. Let's try to win tomorrow. It will be hard because trying to overtake Neil (Alberico) is always hard but it will be fun."
"We were very fortunate to win! I started second then fell back to third on the restart but I knew I could make a move and be back in the second spot. After that I was just trying to overtake Neil (Alberico) but he was being very aggressive and playing really well so I couldn't find a spot. After the second restart I tried a move on the outside. It didn't work out well, so I fell back to third again. On the last restart I just put my head down and said 'well let's make this happen'. I overtook all these cars on Turn One and Neil (Alberico) on Turn Three. Thank God nothing happened and we won the race!"
For more information on Danilo Estrela, follow him on Twitter @daniloestrela12 and like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daniloestrela12.
Category: Team News
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