Watkins Glen, NY – As if the Championship battle couldn’t get any tighter, Ayla Agren paced Friday practice at Watkins Glen by .024 seconds over her main rival, Garth Rickards. The two are nearly neck and neck for the 2014 F1600 Formula F Championship Series crown, which will be settled over rounds 13 and 14 this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
It will get more interesting on Saturday, however, as morning qualifying will pay three bonus points and an afternoon race up to 52 more, with a similar schedule on Sunday to close out the win. Rickards, despite leading the morning session, needs to get in front of Agren for the rest of the weekend and stay there as the two Pelfrey teammates battle for the 2014 Championship.
Agren and Rickards led a one-two-three-four sweep of afternoon practice for Team Pelfrey in four yellow Mygale/Hondas, as Nikita Lastochkin and Augie Lerch completed the topfour.
Sam Chastain and Evan Mehan, both coming off victories at Thompson, were fifth and sixth in a pair of blue Mygale/Hondas for Chastain Motorsports.
Of the top six, both Lastochkin and Rickards are still looking for their first wins of the 2014 season, which has seen a record 10 winners in 12 races.
The season has also seen the last lap drama on overdrive, with the majority of races coming down to a last lap pass or incident, and a big lead group is expected at Watkins Glen with the track layout promoting the slipstream.
With long straights on offer at Watkins Glen, fast times come down to tactics, and that means drafting strategy between teammates as a decent tow can add up to a second per lap around the Glen.
Seventh in afternoon practice was Jim Goughary, the only active Watkins Glen F1600 winner in the field, who edged WISKO teammates Andrew Hobbs and Will Harvey, while Mike Scanlan completed the top ten.
Pittsburgh winner Jack Mitchell Jr. was not at the track, and is expected to arrive Saturday morning for qualifying.
The morning session saw temperatures in the 40s and wind, before the sun came in to warm the track considerably in the afternoon.
Saturday and Sunday feature a 9:30am qualifying and 2:00pm race for the F1600 Series.
Results are available on www.F1600Series.com under the results tab.