Allaer Out Front in F2000 Practice
Lexington, OH - Morning rain gave way to a 75-degree afternoon with partly cloudy skies and a dry track at Mid-Ohio for F2000 Championship Series practice, with Robert Allaer leading the 30-minute session.
“I always try to make sure I am better than I was last time. Usually that means a better lap time than the previous time I was there, but of course, conditions and things out of your control can affect that,” Allaer said, recalling: “Last time I qualified second and my master switch flipped to off as we rolled onto pit lane (for the race).”
Keys to victory in either of the races this weekend will be based on a variety of factors, Allaer explained.
“I honestly think it takes a flawless drive and a whole lot of luck to win a race in the F2000 Series,” he said.
Practice saw a full complement of a variety of F2000 race cars taking to the track at 2:35 p.m. local time in Ohio for the practice with John LaRue immediately going to the top of the charts with a lap at 1:26.362 over returning driver Austin McCusker for Dotworks Racing
As the times continued to drop, Florida-native Robert Allaer showed his skills with a first-place run at 1:25.883, with the track still picking up time and rubber early on in the session. Allaer drives the No. 52 Van Diemen from LTD Motorsports.
The 15-minute mark of the session saw most drivers in the pits receiving set-up changes, while Allaer still held quickest lap over Brandon Dixon, John LaRue, Steve Jenks and Austin McCusker, with Championship leader Bamford in sixth.
The session then turned into a mad scramble with fast laps coming in the run to the checkered flag, with Allaer's lap folding on for fastest, but by just .022 over a charging Dixon, with former Mid-Ohio winner LaRue in third, followed by Bamford and McCusker.
The ultra tight-field saw Tim Paul sixth fastest.
“I think, even with the injury to my back that is still bothering me, I am stronger than I have ever been in terms of speed,” Paul said. “It’s coming more easily and more naturally to me, now than it ever has before and I hope I can run that right to the top of the podium at Mid-Ohio."
Jenks followed in seventh on the practice time sheets.
“I'm really looking forward to the level of competition this weekend. The series has drawn a really deep field of talented drivers and quality cars for Mid-Ohio," Jenks said. "It should be super competitive racing and I think we will put on a good show.”
John McCusker, Dave Weitzenhof and Chris Horan, in his debut weekend in F2000, completed the top ten.
“My expectations for this weekend are to get better every session. It will be my first weekend in the F2000 Series and I am going to let the weekend come to me. I want to become more comfortable in the car every session this weekend, and gain some experience against the competitive and experienced grid,” said Horan.
A damp track in the morning saw few cars take the opportunity, with a solid weather forecast predicted for the rest of the race weekend, also featuring the Atlantic and F1600 categories.
Saturday and Sunday feature morning qualifying and afternoon races for the F2000 Championship drivers and teams.