AUDIO: Karam ready for MRTI title No. 2
Apr 27, 2012
Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and any other multiple-time champion can probably tell it best: once a driver has that first championship, he immediately craves another. 2010 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda title winner Sage Karam is in the same boat, now in his second year of Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear competition and ready to bring it all home...again.
Karam returns to Andretti Autosport after finishing fifth in a tight 2011 championship battle--his first season of Star Mazda competition in which he also captured Rookie of the Year honors. That effort came via two wins on ovals, one in Milwaukee and the other a win from pole in Iowa. With hardly any time needed to transition into a new series, he got his first Star Mazda podium finish at just his third race.
“I would say definitely the driving style [was the hardest part of moving from USF2000 to Star Mazda],” Karam said. “The power itself, you don’t really feel much of the power. You get a little more wheel spin in the Star Mazda car, but just pretty much being a little bit more smooth with your hands and throttle application.
“The USF2000 car you just throw around like a go-kart, and you really can’t do that with the Star Mazda car. You really have to smooth everything down. It was a big step for me. Last year we learned a lot and we’re applying all that.”
With so many factors working in his favor, Karam feels that 2012 could be the season he can take another Mazda Road to Indy series championship. He’s on the same team as close friend Zach Veach, who knows Karam better than most and provides ideal teammate chemistry. Also, though Karam has some work to do to catch up with series front runners Jack Hawksworth and Connor de Phillippi, he already has a second place finish at Barber with 13 races remaining.
“This year, you have guys here who came in from GP3, F3, Formula Renault, you’ve got guys here with three years in Star Mazda,” Karam said. “I think this year is more competitive than last year, and probably one of the most competitive season of Star Mazda. So, it’s going to be tough, but can we do it? I believe so.”
For a run-down of his first couple of races, how his teammate helps him and more on his hopes for the championship, listen to the full interview HERE.