Another Pole Run for La Rocca

May 26, 2012
La Rocca on pole again. (photo: Valet)

Lakeville, CT  – Robert La Rocca paced a 25-minute F2000 Championship Series qualifying session for race one of the weekend at the 1.53-mile Lime Rock Park road course. For La Rocca, it was his fourth SOS Children’s Village pole in five attempts in 2012 in the No. 10 HP-Tech Motorsport Van Diemen. Kyle Connery will start second in another Van Diemen, ahead of Wyatt Gooden, Niki Coello and Chris Livengood.

“The track was a bit green this morning,” said La Rocca, before qualifying. “Everyone is going to get faster, we only missed pole here last year by half a tenth.”

La Rocca adds to his commanding Championship lead with three bonus points from pole, on top of four straight wins in four races in 2012.

For Connery, it was his best qualifying effort of the season in the No. 91 CC Autosport Van Diemen.

“We were on old tires this morning and working in new brakes,” said Connery. “There was traffic all session with all the cars on the track.”

Gooden kept his strong qualifying streak going, but couldn’t quite match his pole from Road Atlanta, and will line up third for Quantum Racing Services.

Gooden actually rented a truck and towed his own Van Diemen to Lime Rock from Quantum’s shop in Oklahoma. The aspiring racer carries backing from Perfect Pedal for the doubleheader weekend at Lime Rock.

Alongside Gooden will be Coello’s RFR, in yet another good showing for the No. 81, ahead of Chris Livengood in the John Walko Racing RFR.

“We’re still working on our confidence with the new car,” said Livengood. “I’m still learning what I’m supposed to expect, but, I won here last year, I know my way around.”

Tim Minor’s Citation was sixth quick, and is sporting a slight change at Lime Rock, with an adjustment to the cockpit that lets Minor get to the shifter easily. Minor attributed a lost podium at VIR to a missed shift, due to his hand getting stuck, earlier this year.

Tom Fatur was seventh in his best qualifying effort of 2012, with Jonathan Scarallo eighth in his comeback, 10 months after last being in the car. Charles Finelli and Craig Clawson rounded out the top ten. All four of those drivers are in Van Diemens.

In a morning practice at Lime Rock, which is the northwestern corner of Connecticut, it was La Rocca on top as the temperatures rose over the short road course. The day even featured a brief 20-minute downpour during a break between practice sessions.

A few hours later, for practice two, La Rocca was fast yet again, only turning a handful of laps and coming into the pits for changes on his No. 10 machine continuously.

Hometown hopeful Tim Paul, from Mahopac N.Y., qualified 16th in the SMR/GTP Motorsports Van Diemen after starter motor issues during practice, while teammate Stevan McAleer, from Scotland did not turn laps in the qualifying session and is done for the weekend following a massive crash in practice.

During the first practice of the weekend McAleer’s Radon made contact with the wall in the uphill portion of the racetrack.  The Scottish driver finished on the podium at Lime Rock two years ago but won’t repeat that again this year, with the accident attributed to a steering column parts failure.

“We did a few laps, came in for adjustments and went back out,” explained McAleer, who was unhurt. “I turned into the uphill and the car went straight. I got on the brakes but there wasn’t much I could do at that point, it must have been a 100mph hit.”

In the short break between both practice sessions, all Radons entered for the weekend, an additional three chassis, performed welding repairs to their steering columns.

Aaron Pettipas also missed out on track time following an engine failure in the No. 15 John Walko Racing Van Diemen. The team expects to have a fresh Zetec motor in the car for Saturday’s two races, on loan from former competitor Jesse Yorio.

Wisko F2000’s Kevin Kopp didn’t get a single lap around track on Friday as the team battled through all sorts of issues on the No. 66 Van Diemen. Kopp has run strong in all four races this year, and sits fifth in the point standings.

Another victim of an early-day incident was Hilton Tallman, in the Mygale chassis, who went off in practice and will not see more laps during the two day event at Lime Rock, with significant damage to the No. 08.

Qualifying for race two will be based on fast laps in race one.

The weekend continues on Saturday, May 26, with an early-morning warmup followed by F2000 races at 10:10 am and 2:45 pm, both 33 laps or 30 minutes. Live audio will be available for both races at and updates, results, photos and more will be posted on .

Qualifying Results:
Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd In Lap Diff Gap 1 10 Robert LaRocca 50.089 109.964 16 - - 2 91 Kyle Connery 50.254 109.603 14 +0.165 +0.165 3 6 Wyatt Gooden 50.306 109.490 9 +0.217 +0.052 4 81 Niki Coello 50.612 108.828 17 +0.523 +0.306 5 37 Chris Livengood 50.892 108.229 22 +0.803 +0.280 6 88 Tim Minor/M 51.312 107.343 10 +1.223 +0.420 7 70 Tom Fatur/M 51.345 107.274 12 +1.256 +0.033 8 13 Jonathan Scarallo 51.591 106.763 7 +1.502 +0.246 9 83 Charles Finelli/M 51.797 106.338 10 +1.708 +0.206 10 27 Craig Clawson/M 52.025 105.872 10 +1.936 +0.228 11 19 John Brumder/M 52.265 105.386 19 +2.176 +0.240 12 90 Robert Wright/M 52.391 105.133 14 +2.302 +0.126 13 59 Shaun Miller 52.441 105.032 12 +2.352 +0.050 14 25 Jeff McCusker/M 52.584 104.747 17 +2.495 +0.143 15 47 Chris Monteleone 52.631 104.653 17 +2.542 +0.047 16 06 Tim Paul 52.648 104.619 6 +2.559 +0.017 17 9 Jose Montiel 52.679 104.558 18 +2.590 +0.031 18 52 Dean Baker/M 52.935 104.052 5 +2.846 +0.256 19 46 Doug Rocco 53.147 103.637 17 +3.058 +0.212 20 86 Jim Hanrahan/M 53.490 102.973 9 +3.401 +0.343 21 02 Fred Bross/M 53.990 102.019 3 +3.901 +0.500 22 31 Brendan Puderbach 54.102 101.808 14 +4.013 +0.112 23 8 Dennis McCarthy 54.680 100.732 4 +4.591 +0.578 24 16 Peter Gonzalez/M 54.754 100.595 3 +4.665 +0.074 25 61 Tom Drake/M 55.462 99.311 6 +5.373 +0.708 26 35 Eric Presbrey -.--- - 0 - - 27 15 Aaron Pettipas -.--- - 0 - - 28 66 Kevin Kopp -.--- - 0 - -

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