F2000 Ready for Lime Rock
Lakeville, CT – The F2000 Championship Series takes over Connecticut’s “Bull Ring,” Lime Rock Park, this weekend, for rounds 11 and 12 of the 2011 season along with the F1600 Formula F Championship Series and the NASCAR Modifieds. Remy Audette is coming off his fourth win of the year in a drama-filled race at Mosport, and leads the championship following a seven-week break heading into the 1.53-mile seven-turn road course.
Audette returns to Lime Rock for the first time since 2009, when the Canadian scored his first ever F2000 victory. This year, the F2000 Series has seen the emergence of Audette Racing as a dominant force. Ten races into the season, the No. 21 Van Diemen has strongly finished all of them, with a worst result of seventh, and four wins.
“It should be an exciting weekend,” said Audette. “We’re coming in with confidence. We know the car is fast, and after a month and a half off, it’s good to come back. I’m in better shape since Mosport. I spent the break training.
“The goal for the rest of the year is to have fun, and if we do that, we can keep the car at the front,” he added.
With four races to go in the Championship, points’ math starts to become more complicated as the Series rulebook drops the lowest two points results of each competitor over the course of the year.
Audette leads by a solid 112 points coming into Lime Rock, but with drops figured in, that number is cut down to 46 over Chris Livengood.
Twenty-nine cars are entered for Lime Rock.
American Livengood, driving for Work Racing/John Walko Racing, is picking up steam after a rough start to 2011. The Pittsburgh-native has worked his way up to second in the standings and ran strong at Mosport.
“I'm not worried about Remy, obviously he has been the man this season, but up until now I've been my own worst enemy,” Livengood said, “ I need to get to the track and conduct a smart weekend, avoid mistakes and concentrate on myself.”
Rookie Kyle Connery has four wins to match Audette’s statistic, but sits third in the standings, six points off Livengood. Connery will sit out the first race at Lime Rock following a penalty for the first-turn crash at Mosport in race two.
“We can’t make any mistakes at Lime Rock,” Connery added. “I want to dominate qualifying two and the second race.”
Meanwhile, Venezuelan rookie Robert La Rocca is still hunting for his first win after a handful of podiums for HP-Tech Motorsport in the RFR chassis.
La Rocca, sitting fourth in the standings, said: “The goal for the weekend is to win. We are still alive in the Championship, and we can't give up. There are still four races left, and anything can happen. “
La Rocca will be joined at HP-Tech by fellow Venezuelan Giancarlo Potolicchio.
Tim Minor rounds out the top five in points, the first Masters Class competitor. Minor was a bystander to the first turn drama at Mosport and looks to be a contender for wins at Lime Rock.
“It was a lot of damage following Mosport,” he said. “We probably have 80 hours into the car in repairs. I am not going to change my driving, but I may be more careful around certain people. Some of the drivers need to realize you have to first finish to finish first.”
Primus Racing rejoins the F2000 tour after missing Mosport, with a one-car effort for Australian rookie and VIR winner Nathan Morcom.
Tim Paul in the SMR/GTP Motorsports No. 06 will call Lime Rock his home race, and after a heavy crash at the track in 2010, hopes to return to the form that saw him finish fourth at Watkins Glen in June. Paul said his goal for the weekend is to stand on the podium for the first time.
Alegra Motorsports shrinks to one-car for the weekend with Angel Benitez. Gustavo Rizzo misses the event after a heavy crash at Mosport with a broken finger still healing.
And, of course, there is the new Radon chassis. Mosport was a test session for Matt McDonough in the No. 77. This weekend, Blake Teeter is expected to race the car for GTP Motorsports, and will be joined by Masters Class driver Peter Gonzalez in a second Radon.
A truncated two-day weekend features a busy Friday, September 16. F2000 Championship Series teams will have a 25-minute practice at 10 a.m., followed by another practice at 1:55 p.m., qualifying for race one at 3:00, and qualifying for race two at 5:05. Saturday is race day, with a large crowd expected at Lime Rock. 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