Audette Takes Double Poles at Lime Rock
Lakeville, CT – Two F2000 Championship Series qualifying sessions this afternoon for Saturday’s double races at Lime Rock ended with Canadian Remy Audette taking pole in the closing stages for both races with a new track record at 50.043 seconds.
The premiere F2000 tour in North America ran four sessions on Friday, with Audette pacing both practice sessions prior to the two 25-minute qualifying rounds.
Audette won at Lime Rock in 2009 and leads the Championship with four wins on the 2011 season in the No. 21 Audette Racing Van Diemen.
The new track record reset the existing mark, set by Audette in 2009.
Following penalties after the first session, Audette will lead Robert La Rocca, Tim Minor, Tim Paul and Chris Livengood to the green flag in the first race, Saturday morning.
Angel Benitez, Thomas Schwietz, Nathan Morcom, Kyle Connery and Craig Clawson rounded out the top ten. Blake Teeter qualified 13th in the sole Radon chassis.
The second qualifying session saw Audette take pole at the very last second, by just about a tenth of a second over Livengood, who had the fastest lap for almost the entire session in his John Walko Racing/Work Racing No. 37 Van Diemen.
Audette qualified ahead of Livengood, La Rocca – who went off with contact in qualifying two, Benitez and Charles Finelli.
Completing the top ten were Minor, Paul, Schwietz, Robert Wright and Brendan Puderbach. Teeter was 11th. Tom Drake missed the session after a crash earlier.
Puderbach and Finelli’s cars, like Livengood, are also prepped by John Walko Racing, meaning the team put all three cars in the top ten in a 23-car field.
Audette adds six championship points, three per pole, to an already sizable lead over Livengood.
“That went well,” Audette said. “We did a few laps to warm up tires, and then went out again after the black flag and had clear track. Did a fast lap there right at the end of qualifying one. I knew Robert (La Rocca) was fast; the goal tomorrow is to finish the races well. We have been fine-tuning gears.”
La Rocca, who qualified on the outside of the front row for the first race, commented: “We turned in the fast lap right after the black flag in qualifying one. The car is fast, we’re very confident.”
The Venezuelan rookie is the first of the RFR cars for HP-Tech Motorsport. La Rocca said earlier in the weekend that there is another round of updates to the RFR package debuting at Lime Rock and he wants to win. He will have to if there is any hope of tracking down Audette from fourth in the standings.
Following a crash in the second qualifying session, it will be a late night for the HP-Tech crew.
Livengood had a speed good enough for third on the grid in race one, but lost two grid positions after missing a checkered flag and running an extra lap during practice. That won’t help the American either, sitting second in points. His chances may lie in race two, when he lines up on the outside of the front row on the run down to Lime Rock’s Big Bend.
Benitez, driving the solo Alegra Motorsports entry, showed speed in the first session before an off-course causing a black flag cost him his two fastest laps. He will start sixth for the first race and was able qualify fourth a few hours later for race two.
Kyle Connery, meanwhile, who chose to participate in qualifying one for race one, and is serving a penalty and will miss the second race of the weekend, crashed midway through the first qualifying session.
There was moderate damage to the No. 91 and it is unclear whether Connery will be able to race on Saturday morning. The four-race winner was in the top five on the practice time sheets earlier in the day.
“Going into West Bend I heard a crunch somewhere and the car just slid out,” commented Connery.
Saturday September 17 is race day at Lime Rock, with a large crowd expected. An early-morning 9:00 a.m. warm-up is followed by race one at 10:25 and race two at 4:00 p.m. Live updates will be available on F2000Series.com