It was a weekend of many new experiences for Maite Cáceres, who joined her team International Motorsports at Road America in USF Juniors: it was her first time in the series, her first rolling start, on a different tire - and she scored her first points! That´s what you call a solid weekend.
A weekend of new experiences for young Uruguayan racing driver Maite Cáceres, as she joined the USF Juniors grid on the Road to Indy ladder, following her team International Motorsports in an effort to help the team's championship in the series.
Cáceres comes from the F4 US series and, last weekend, had to process many 'firsts' in her USF Juniors debut, such as her first rolling start.
"The team decided to race in Road America in USF Junior F4 Road to Indy, because they wanted to take all the drivers to keep fighting for second place on the team’s championship." - Maite told us. "The goal was to earn good points among all of us and we made it", she continued. "It was my first time in this category and with the Cooper tires."
Road America was the penultimate race weekend of the season for USF Juniors, as International Motorsports fighting for important points. Maite Cáceres thus changed her plans for the weekend and headed to the famous Road America circuit rather than to New Jersey Motorsports Park, where F4 US held its fourth round of the season. But the best is yet to come for the young Uruguayan talent.
Race 1 was a hot one, with a close battle for the victory only separating the first two drivers by 0,03 seconds across the line. Mac Clark started from pole and had a slow start, before coming to a stop shortly after. Minutes later, a multi-car accident brought out the safety car.
Sam Corry led the pack at the restart, ahead of Alessandro De Tullio, Ethan Ho and Nikita Johnson. Corry and De Tullio pulled away and fought each other until the chequered flag - with Corry ultimately crossing the finish line just ahead of De Tullio to take home his second win of the season. Nikita Johnson claimed the final podium spot.
Maite Cáceres started from 15th on the grid and managed to score her first points with a very solid P11, despite problems with the car in the fast corners. Nevertheless, she showed good speed over the 10 laps and helped the team score important points.
Two more races were scheduled on Sunday - and there were similar results up ahead: Corry took off from pole in Race 2, ahead of Johnson. Behind them, Clark and De Tullio started a tough battle over the course of the whole race, which allowed the top two to pull away. And it was again a close finish, with Johnson taking the chequered flag just 0,087 of a second ahead of Corry. De Tullio was third, but was later disqualified for a technical infraction that promoted Clark to the podium.
Corry was again on pole for Race 3 and after a lengthy caution for an accident towards the back of the grid, he would break away with De Tullio, opening a gap from the rest of the field. De Tullio finally made a move on lap 8 and worked his way up to the front, claiming victory ahead of Corry and Johnson - the latter preceding Clark by just 0,019 seconds.
Maite Cáceres managed to finish P12 and P13 in the two races on Sunday, collecting more important experience in her USF Juniors debut. She now looks forward to the next and final race event in the series, at the triple header at Circuit of the Americas in September.
"In the races I had good fighting with my rivals and good race pace despite the difficulties the set up of the car presented.", Cáceres told us. "My weekend performance gives me confidence and hunger for more at the next race in COTA, on 17-18 of September."