Wampum, PA – Against a backdrop of Pennsylvania forests sits 1.6 miles of the twisting Pittsburgh International Race Complex, home to the inaugural visit of the F1600 Formula F Championship Series this weekend. Friday saw a trio of 25-minute practice sessions for the Formula F drivers, with Andrew Hobbs leading the way with the fastest lap of the day, set in the No. 13 WISKO Racing Mygale/Honda during the final session.
“I really like this place,” said Hobbs, who is driving the same white No. 13 chassis that saw success in the 2013 season at the hands of Aaron Telitz. “I came here in a F2000-style car three years ago. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of places to lose time but there are, and you need to be brave to find places to pass. I think there will be a good amount of drafting down the back straight in the races. Qualifying tomorrow is going to be key.”
Behind Hobbs on the day's combined time sheets by a single thousandth of a second was Team Pelfrey's Ayla Agen.
Agren, coming off her first win at Mid-Ohio, set fastest time in the morning session but ended up going off course and did not make it out for the rest of the day. Her No. 81 Team Pelfrey Mygale/Honda is expected to be ready for Saturday morning qualifying ahead of round nine of the season.
Following Agren was the most recent F1600 race winner, Augie Lerch, with a lap of 59.421 compared to the fast time set by Hobbs at 59.292. Lerch is a teammate to Agren in a yellow/black Pelfrey Mygale/Honda.
Nikita Lastochkin paced the second session of the day, also driving for Pelfrey and good enough for the fourth fastest time overall while Sam Chastain completed the top five in a sweep for Mygale chassis.
“We need to be up front at the start of the race, the track is fast, technical and tight,” advised Chastain.
Hometown driver Garth Rickards was sixth quick ahead of the second Chastain entry of Evan Mehan in the No. 29 Mygale/Honda.
"Every practice is getting better and better, and the changes to the car throughout the day have helped," said Mehan.
Steve Bamford, Will Harvey and Art Foster followed to complete the top ten overall fastest practice times.
Not only do few drivers have experience in Pittsburgh but the track is combined with a new spec tire compound from Hoosier Racing Tire this weekend, which is so far receiving positive feedback from drivers and teams.
Everyone will be on fresh new Hoosier rubber for Saturday morning's 8:30am qualifying session followed by a 12:00pm race. Sunday features a 9:25am qualifying session and 1:35pm race as the weekend marks rounds nine and 10 of the 2014 14-round F1600 Series.
Full results are available on www.f1600series.com under the results tab.