Audette Out Front at VIR

April 9, 2011
Audette led the way at VIR, by a massive margin.

Alton, VA – Remy Audette paced practice at VIRginia International Raceway by nearly nine tenths of a second, putting in a lap at 1:53.949, well under the existing track record set during qualifying last year at 1:54.496. Combined session times at the end of the day showed the Canadian fastest ahead of Chris Livengood, Kyle Connery, Nathan Morcom and Robert La Rocca.

Audette was fastest during VIR F2000 testing on Thursday and sat on pole in 2009 for the season opener in Virginia.

“We are really happy with that time,” said Audette. “We walked the track last night and learned some things we didn’t know, we made one small change on the car and that was it.”

Livengood was second quickest for Work Racing/John Walko

Livengood, meanwhile, another championship contender, was second quick on the day.

“We left a few tenths out there,” commented the American driver. “It was a bit of the car and a bit of me, we have a laundry list of things to do.”

Notable on the #37 fielded by Work Racing with support from John Walko is a new cockpit air deflector that was developed in-house over the offseason.

Rookie Kyle Connery continued to impress in the ex-Z-Sports car, setting the third quickest time, as the #91 driver moves out of karting and into the F2000 Championship Series.

Meanwhile, usual front runners Primus Racing battled through problems. A misfiring #13 had Steele Guiliana, from Australia, way down the time sheets while Jonathan Scarallo, who won at Elkhart Lake last season, suffered battery and clutch issues, but bounced back to set the seventh fastest time.

The team’s third car, driven by rookie Australian Nathan Morcom, was solidly in the top five on manual timing from F2000 officials, ending up fourth on the time sheets.

Tomasi leading La Rocca

A big news item coming into the weekend, the new RFR chassis, had a solid practice day debut. Robert La Rocca led the RFR charge with the fifth fastest time. HP-Tech teammate and fellow Venezuela Giancarlo Potolicchio was 16th.

Brian Tomasi, driving the #96 RFR/Zetec for Afterburner was 11th with chassis-designer Ralph Firman watching closely in Virginia.

Twenty-eight cars posted official lap times.

Alegra Motorsports, the 2010 F2000 Champions, were comfortably around the top ten all-day with rookies Gustavo Rizzo and Angel Benitez, who paced one session on Thursday before crashing later in the day.

“I need more seat time, the car feels good,” said Rizzo, from Brazil, and 12th quick. “I would love a top ten this weekend as it is my first big formula car race.”

Tim Minor, who outright won a race in 2009, was the fastest of the Masters Class competitors, sixth overall.

“We made a lot of changes to the car to compensate for the new Hoosier tires,” Minor explained. “That includes ride height and springs, the new tire drives like a club tire.”

Nicholas in the Citation

Another highlight for the two 30-minute practice sessions at VIR was Masters Class driver Rob Nicholas.

The #89 Van Diemen became the #89 Citation, following a blown Zetec motor on Thursday. Nicholas switched cars, and under the K-Fast team’s tent, wasted no time in re-establishing himself in the top ten with a lap good enough for eighth fastest at 1:56.570

Follow live action with up-to-the-minute coverage, reporting and photos on all weekend, and on Twitter @F2000. Saturday gets going with the first qualifying session at 10:30, followed by race one of the 2011 season at 4:30. Action gets started on Sunday at 12:45, with qualifying for the 4:30 green flag. All times are eastern.

Combined Results:

Pos No. Name Overall BestTm 1 21 Remy Audette 1:53.949 2 37 Chris Livengood 1:54.845 3 91 Kyle Connery 1:55.265 4 2 Nathan Morcom 1:55.485 5 10 Robert La Rocca 1:55.584 6 88 Tim Minor/M 1:55.707 7 4 Jonathan Scarallo 1:56.359 8 89 Rob Nicholas/M 1:56.570 9 26 Angel Benitez 1:56.804 10 3 Joe Colasacco 1:56.831 11 96 Brian Tomasi 1:56.872 12 23 Gustavo Rizzo 1:56.974 13 13 Steele Guiliana 1:57.125 14 70 Tom Fatur/M 1:57.681 15 29 Ardie Greenamyer/M 1:58.099 16 22 Giancarlo Potolicchio 1:58.232 17 8 Mark Defer/M 1:58.339 18 7 Brent Gilkes/M 1:58.345 19 25 Jeff McCusker/M 1:58.370 20 90 Robert Wright/M 1:58.388 21 27 Craig Clawson/M 1:58.485 22 06 Tim Paul 1:58.811 23 42 Bill Jordan/M 1:59.328 24 67 Dave Weitzenhof/M 1:59.602 25 51 Dan Denison/M 2:00.896 26 94 Al Guibord,Sr./M 2:01.605 27 72 Francis Kennette 2:04.977 28 60 Mark Felsen 2:06.540

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