Battle Brewing as F2000 Races at Road Atlanta
New York, NY – The average margin of victory during the opening rounds of the 2010 F2000 Championship Series at VIR was .341 seconds. American driver Cole Morgan, coming off his first win since taking the 2007 title, is leading the national championship by two points over Brazilian Victor Carbone, now in his second season at Alegra Motorsports, as the 30-plus car field heads to Road Atlanta.
Morgan took his first F2000 win during the 2007 at Road Atlanta in what was then his second F2000 start ever.
Morgan said: “In qualifying for the first race there in 2007, I was on pole by six tenths of a second and came in two pounds light to fail technical inspection. We started dead last out of 35 cars and finished fourth. In the second race I started fourth, and by halfway I was in the lead and that was the first race we won.
“I feel like the top five or six guys are definitely contenders for wins” continued Morgan. “But, I still feel like I am the man to beat.”
Carbone scored his first career F2000 win at VIR, just beating quick Australian rookie Daniel Erickson. In the second race he hung on to finish fourth.
“My goal is to finish both Road Atlanta races on the podium,” commented Carbone. “The first race at VIR went very well, but I was expecting more from the second race. I’ve never been to Atlanta before, but I’m not planning on having any problems getting familiar with the track. Last year, the only track I knew was VIR, so I am getting pretty used to this situation.”
The Series heads south to the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta for rounds three and four of the season, partnering up with Formula Drift for the Thursday-Friday-and-Saturday event.
Sitting third in the points standings, coming off two third-place finishes at VIR is Fabio Orsolon, Carbone’s teammate.
Jonathan Scarallo is sixth in the standings, 28 points off Morgan. Scarallo, who moved over to the R-Sport team for 2010, set the two quickest laps of the second race at VIR and will have a fresh engine in Atlanta. With 110 points to play for at Road Atlanta, the championship could look very different heading to the third event of the season at Mosport. In addition, expect Scarallo’s R-Sport teammate Keith McCrone to figure into the mix too.
Some drivers left results on the table at VIR. Masters Class drivers Tim Minor and Phil Lombardi tangled at VIR but are seen as threats for overall wins at Atlanta. Heading to Georgia, Lombardi could capitalize on his knowledge of the track as a Skip Barber test driver.
Rob Nicholas should figure in as well, as he took a Masters Class victory at VIR and hopes to continue the momentum into Road Atlanta.
The field will show-off its usual variety of chassis combinations with Van Diemen, Citation and MyGale. Chris Livengood is set to run one of two Pinto-powered cars. Livengood finished in the top ten in race one at VIR.
“We have managed to update a number of different parts on the car for this weekend, including our somewhat controversial and eyebrow-raising diffuser,” said Livengood. “I expect a definite improvement in pace from not just the car, but from me as well. I haven’t been to Road Atlanta, but I’ve driven several thousand laps around it via video game.”
Livengood isn’t the only one learning Road Atlanta in the virtual world as Jonathan Scarallo and rookie Timothy Paul have been spending a lot of time lapping the track on Forza.
Paul, who moves over to the F2000 Series from sprint cars and midgets kept his nose clean at VIR and looks to continue to his positive momentum at Road Atlanta.
“My goals for Road Atlanta are pretty straightforward. I want a top 20 qualification and finishing spot in at least one of the races,” stated Paul. “We almost had one at VIR when I had the spin in turn one, so I think it should definitely be possible.
“As far as learning the track goes, I've been playing my fingers off. Scarallo and I have done some races online at Road Atlanta, and I've probably put in 500 virtual laps there. At least I will know what the place looks like before I get there this time!”
Matthew Inge, who finished second in last year’s title fight driving the same car Cole Morgan took the 2007 title in, has filed a late entry with K-Hill Motorsports to run alongside Morgan.
Liberty Motorsports will field three cars, adding Brian Belardi alongside Bobby Caldwell and Tim Kautz – who were both getting faster and faster as the VIR weekend unfolded.
Meanwhile, JDC Motorsports makes its first appearance of 2010 with two entries, Russian rookie Goikhberg in the #10 and Gerald Kraut in the #55.
The weekend unofficially gets going on Thursday May 6 with afternoon testing for the F2000 Series, Friday features an official practice session followed by a qualifying session and a 30-minute race, with Saturday showcasing a similar schedule. Fans and competitors can follow live updates, news and photos on www.F2000ChampionshipSeries.com or on Twitter @F2000.