Sage Karam sets quick time in Star Mazda practice 2 at Honda Indy Toronto

July 6, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – Sage Karam, the 2011 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year and race winner on the Iowa Speedway oval two weeks ago, showed that same dominant form in today's final Star Mazda practice session at the Toronto Indy.

His lap of 108.793 in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda was 4/10ths clear of second-quick Petri Suvanto and just 4/100ths shy of the lap record of 1:08.755 set by Dane Cameron in 2007, the last year that Star Mazda raced in the streets of Toronto.

"The track picked up a lot of grip since this morning, but between the bumps and the heat this afternoon, I think this is the most physically demanding track we've raced on," said the Nazareth, PA native. "I wrestle at my high school when I'm not racing and think that kind of conditioning is ideal for these circumstances. If the track stays as good as it is, when we qualify in the cooler morning hours tomorrow, I think there's probably half a second left in the car and the track… and the Andretti team is doing everything they can to help me find it."

Petri Suvanto, the Finnish racer who won the 2011 USF2000 championship and is racing is Star Mazda this season with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy, was second-quick with a lap of 1:09.201 in his #81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda. Karam's Andretti Autosport teammate, Zach Veach, who was quickest in this morning's session, again showed speed with a 3rd-quick lap of 1:09.286. Rounding out the top-5 were English racer Jack Hawksworth, currently second in the championship battle, with a lap of 1:09.336 in the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda, and Gabby Chaves, turning a 1:09.639 in the #19 JDC Motorsports / COMCEL / Marca Pais / Coldeportes Mazda. Home-town racer Zack Meyer was 12th-fast with a lap of 1:10.618 in his #66 AIM Autosport / Damis Partners III Mazda.

Returning to the 2.84-kilometer, 11-turn street circuit for the first time since 2007 – a race won by Dane Cameron, who went on to win the series championship – the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear heads into a run of three straight Canadian street races – beginning with this weekend's Toronto Indy. This weekend's 5th event of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will include rounds 7 & 8 of a 10-weekend, 17-race 2012 schedule that includes a well-rounded menu of ovals, street circuits and natural-terrain road courses. Most, such as the Indy Toronto, are with IndyCar and most are double-headers with two races per weekend and the quickest lap of each car in Race 1 setting the grid for Race 2. Star Mazda uses standing starts on street circuits and road courses. This is the first of three Canadian races in a row, followed by Indy Edmonton on July 21 – 22, and then by the legendary GP3R Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, August 3 – 4, where Star Mazda will share the stage with Indy Lights.

Star Mazda drivers from eight different countries and three continents will qualify for Race 1 from 8 – 8:30 am Saturday, July 7, with Race 1 scheduled for 12:10 – 12:50 pm Saturday afternoon. Star Mazda Race 2 will take place 9:50 – 10:30 am, Sunday, July 8.