Lichfield driver Adam Christodoulou seals dramatic championship win

Lichfield racing driver Adam Christodoulou won the Star Mazda Championships after a dramatic last race of the season.

Going into the race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Calfornia, Christodoulou was second and needing lady luck to shine on him – and that’s exactly what she did as the Lichfield speedster’s championship competitor was forced out with a mechanical failure.

Adam Christodoulou and the JDC Motorsports Team celebrate the Star Mazda Championship title victory

Adam Christodoulou and the JDC Motorsports Team celebrate the Star Mazda Championship title victory

And the JDC MotorSports driver admits the never-say-die attitude had helped him land the title. He explained:

“We came into the weekend in a bit of a hole but we never gave up and the whole team kept pressing on throughout the weekend. We had built up a large enough points lead that a minimum of second place was guaranteed so I could focus all my efforts on attacking for the victory and doing everything possible to climb the podium.

“As I came out of that last corner I could see my team hanging over the wall waving me home and I was screaming in the radio as I crossed the finish line to take the title. It’s the best feeling in the world, knowing that you’ve completed something you have been working so hard for all year long.”

The chase to the championship would be a battle throughout the weekend though, with Saturday morning’s qualifying session being a microcosm of the entire season as Christodoulou and Demspey dueled back and forth for the pole position before Dempsey grabbed the spot on the final lap by 0.02 seconds.

But Christodoulou set aside his frustrations as the 45-minute timed race got underway and the title contenders were joined in a first corner fight by fellow JDC Motorsports driver Alex Ardoin.

Ardoin got the inside line and took the lead with Christodoulou sliding into second and Dempsey falling to third.

The Lichfield man added:

“Alex was leading the race and by the time we had got to turn six we had already pulled a gap. Alex ran wide going up the hill towards the cork screw corner and I thought about passing but it’s a risky corner for a pass and there’s a big chance of making contact with how tight the corner is

“This exact scenario happened to Peter Dempsey as Joel Miller went for the overtaking move on the first lap into the cork screw and they made contact. Peter spun and dropped to last place before rejoining the circuit.

“Things were looking up for me, but at this point I had no clue on what was happening behind me so I was pushing in second place and made a slight mistake in turn six myself two laps later. I went off course sliding towards the barriers but dragged it back on track not losing any positions. I caught Alex back up and I could see Caio Lara behind me – the perfect scenario knowing I was safe with my teammates either side of me.”

Dempsey’s accident was to prove critical as halfway through the race he was forced to retire, leaving Christodoulou with the pressure of bringing his car home in one piece to claim a dramatic title win.

And as he explained, the news only added to the pressure on his shoulders. He explained:

“We got to turn two and the yellow flag was being show for a car off course, as I was exiting the corner there was the white, orange and green car of Peter Dempsey. I was shocked and on the next lap round my crew radioed in telling me all I had to do was finish. I couldn’t believe it, throughout the whole year Peter and I had been battling for the championship crown and there he was on the edge of the track.

“In a way I felt more pressure, knowing it was down to me. Before I was just racing for the win, knowing it was down to Peter deciding where he was going to finish that would decide the championship, but now it was even more important than ever for me to finish.”

With the laps winding down Christodoulou came under pressure before easing past team-mate Ardoin in the final corner to provide a cushion which he saw to the chequered flag – and the championship win.

But despite the euphoria of his win, the Lichfield driver had words of consolation for his fellow championship contender. He said:

“I’ve got to say well done to Peter Dempsey – it’s been a fun year pushing each other along the way, battling with him for the title. It’s been a hard season and it was unfortunate for him to finish the year this way, I hope to see him back racing soon.”

Christodoulou wrapped up the season with three victories, nine podium finishes, eleven top five finishes, and two pole positions in the thirteen race championship, capturing the title with 473 points to Dempsey’s 461 points.

In winning the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Adam will receive a funded ride in the 2010 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda as part of the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Driver Development program. In addition to the funded ride he received an additional cheque for $100,000 as series champion and $10,000 for the Rookie-of-the-Year honours.

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