ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 25, 2012 – With the first 2012 Firestone Indy Lights series race in the books, David Ostella is ready to put St. Petersburg in his rearview mirror and look down the road to the next race.
Ostella finished 15th in the St. Petersburg 100 Saturday, March 24 after a weekend full of challenges.
The weekend got off to a difficult start on Friday when Ostella made slight contact with the wall on his first lap of practice. Although the impact was light, it caused enough damage to the left-rear suspension to sideline the Maple, Ont. native from the rest of practice.
Ostella’s Team Moore Racing (TMR) crew worked tirelessly to repair the No. 22 Global Precast–XtremeCoil Drilling car in time to take the track for the second and final practice before qualifications for the St. Petersburg 100. Ostella and the TMR crew notched a solid ninth in the second practice with a best lap of 1:08.4671 seconds around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.
Ostella didn’t get the qualifying lap he wanted and wound up starting 12th on the grid for Saturday’s race.
When the green flag dropped on the 45-lap race, Ostella was confident that he could charge through the field like he had in his series debut a season ago, when he finished fourth after starting 11th.
By the first caution of the race on lap eight, Ostella had maintained his 12th-place starting position. When the race went back to green two laps later, Ostella looked poised to make his move forward.
Unfortunately Ostella’s bid for a repeat performance came to an end when his car slid off of the track and into a concrete retaining wall in turn 13 on the 21st lap. The damage to the No. 22 machine was significant enough to knock Ostella out of the race, relegating him to a frustrating 15th-place finish.
“Going into the last corner, I just lost it under braking and wound up hitting the wall,” said Ostella. “I was struggling with some understeer and it was hard getting the thing turned. I’ve got to thank the guys. They worked really hard all weekend. I feel really bad for them since I ended up putting it in the wall there. I’m looking forward to going back to Barber and having a good race there.”
Tristan Vautier won the St. Petersburg 100 leading flag-to-flag in his series debut. He was followed by Esteban Guerrieri, Sebastian Saavedra, Oliver Webb, and Victor Carbone to the finish. Vautier averaged 83.262 mph over the 45 laps in a race that was slowed by four caution periods. The Frenchman also recorded the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:07.9783 seconds.
The next Firestone Indy Lights Series race is Sunday, April 1 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., part of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend.