Ft. Lauderdale, FL – As the Road Atlanta F2000 Championship Series weekend unfolded, rookie HP-Tech Motorsport driver Roberto Lorena picked up speed with every session in the No. 9 Van Diemen. A fifth place finish in race one saw him pass three cars during the race, and he was looking increasingly strong after a fourth place qualifying effort for race two, round four of the 2013 season.
That race, however, would end in the backstretch wall as Lorena was “punted” from behind on the first lap of the 18-lap race by another driver.
“Since the first day on track the team had the setup figured out,” Lorena said. “We were making some small changes between sessions but the car was fast from the start.”
Undoubtedly helping the rookie was a weekend spent at the 12-turn Road Atlanta facility in a F2000 car over the winter during a SCCA event with the HP-Tech squad.
It was a home race for Lorena, who is originally from Brazil but now lives in Atlanta for the air access and speaks near perfect English at 17.
“I definitely had higher than average expectations for this weekend at Road Atlanta, since we had done a pretty good job during the pre-season in there, but I can never forget how competitive the F2000 Series is,” continued Lorena, who finished a strong second at Virginia International Raceway in April.
“My driving was really what we worked on most. I evolved a lot, starting P10 in the first practice session Thursday, to a P4 on Sunday's qualifying. We knew that we had the car, and I was capable to fighting for a podium finish on Sunday's race, but we ended up with a DNF due to a crash on the first lap,” Lorena added.
“It is frustrating to leave a race where you know you can have a very good result, but at least we got up to speed, and we had a pretty good Friday with a very exciting race. Now we have to repair the car, and work hard to recover the lost points at Lime Rock.”
Lime Rock Park could be a strong point for Lorena, who ran at the unique Connecticut track in 2012 in a Van Diemen in the F1600 Series, with one of his better results of that season.
Furthermore, HP-Tech showed well at the circuit, with a win and podium on their way to the 2012 F2000 title.
“I think the combination of both should put us in a good position to fight for the win,” Lorena said. He sits ninth in the points race heading to Lime Rock.
HP-Tech, which won 11 of 14 races in the 2012 F2000 Series, has seats available for the rest of the F2000 Series season.
Next up on the 14-race, seven-weekend F2000 Championship Series calendar is Lime Rock Park, May 24-25, with Tuesday testing on May 21.