Trois-Rivières, Quebec, August 7, 2011—David Ostella bounced back from a disappointing start to the race weekend, improving five positions for a seventh place finish in the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières. Ostella, in his first season piloting the #16 Global Precast machine in Firestone Indy Lights competition, showed patience and maturity as he picked his way through the field in the 60 lap event.
The narrow, challenging course on the streets of Trois-Rivières made for a weekend full of drama. Contact with the wall in both practice sessions of the weekend cost Ostella and his Jensen Motorsport team valuable track time, which resulted in an unsatisfactory setup for qualifications. Despite a disappointing starting position, Ostella knew that running a clean race would result in a strong finish.
Ostella was on the attack from the drop of the green flag. By the end of the first lap, he had already made up two positions, and had improved yet another to ninth by lap two. Ostella nonetheless thought he could have had more. “I’ve been getting some good starts lately. Today I was able to make a few spots, but then I got boxed in until I got onto the back-straight.”
After lap two, Ostella settled into a rhythm, holding station in ninth place for the first two thirds of the race. “The big thing was to stay consistent and make sure I hit my marks,” said Ostella. “Since I didn’t have as much track time as everyone else, I had to be extra focused.”
At lap 43, the race’s complexion changed completely. Rain clouds that had hung over Trois-Rivières for much of the day finally let loose, leading to a full course caution. With the field’s positions frozen, teams were given six minutes to change to Firestone rain tires and make adjustments. The Jensen squad went to work making major suspension changes and swapping tires.
Ostella improved two more positions up to seventh in the remaining laps, driving with precision and focus. This marked Ostella’s first experience driving a Firestone Indy Lights car in the rain. As the raindrops began to fall, Ostella’s thoughts went to his experience racing karts in the rain. “I just went back to karting: the way the rain line is, looking for puddles and painted curbs, everything you need to watch out for when it rains. I’ve never driven these cars in the wet before, so it was definitely exciting!”
The event in Trois-Rivières was of special importance to both Ostella and Jensen. A native of Maple, Ontario, Ostella is the only Canadian competing full time in the Firestone Indy Lights Series in 2011. Jensen Motorsport is based in Toronto, and is the only team in the series to be based in Canada. For both driver and crew, a good result in their home country is extra special.
Ostella and Jensen must now switch back into oval mode for next week’s race in Loudon, New Hampshire. In the three oval races this season, the tandem has recorded finishes of seventh, eighth, and ninth, with the best finish coming in Milwaukee.