La Rocca to Road Atlanta Pole

May 12, 2012
La Rocca took his third pole in four races at Road Atlanta. (photo: Valet)

Braselton, GA – Robert La Rocca continued the success following his third straight win of 2012 on Friday, by vaulting to pole in an early morning qualifying session for round two of the Road Atlanta F2000 Championship Series weekend, smashing the existing track record with a lap of 1:24.373.  Lining up next to the HP-Tech driver will be Wyatt Gooden, who started from pole on Friday but had to settle for second after La Rocca wrestled away the lead.

Not only did La Rocca take the pole in the HP-Tech Van Diemen, but the Venezuelan only ran the first half of the session, opting to sit in the pits to presumably conserve tires for the second and final race of the Road Atlanta doubleheader, running only five laps in qualifying.

Gooden deployed a similar strategy, just running seven laps in qualifying, according to timing reports from Series officials. Gooden is in the No. 6 Van Diemen for Quantum Racing Services.

Saturday morning qualifying was run on a very quick 12-turn Road Atlanta, with La Rocca besting the existing track record, set on Friday, by almost half a second. Temperatures were in the low sixties with ominous clouds lurking, and rain predicted later in the day.

Meanwhile, Niki Coello vaulted the RFR chassis to its best showing of the weekend, qualifying third, with Fabio Orsolon close behind in the No. 77 Radon. Orsolon hopes to rebound for his GTP Motorsports team after a starter failure on the grid right before Friday’s race, with Orsolon failing to make the green flag following a podium effort at Virginia just last month.

Kyle Connery rounded out the top five in the No. 91 Van Diemen. Connery entered the weekend in the new RFR chassis but has since switched to his Van Diemen package under the CC Autosport awning with engineering by James Lee Racing.

Chris Livengood put in another strong showing in the John Walko Racing RFR, qualifying sixth, after dealing with electrical issues at VIR in April and failing post-race inspection after a top five run on Friday at Road Atlanta.

In seventh was Tim Minor, in the Citation chassis, ahead of Tim Paul, in the No. 06 SMR/GTP Motorsports Van Diemen. Paul has been battling flu-like symptoms all weekend.

Gerald Kraut and Kevin Kopp rounded out the top ten.

The weekend concludes round four of the 2012 season at 11:15am local time.  Live audio is available on www.livestream.com/F2000. News, results, social media updates and photos will be available on www.F2000Series.com throughout the weekend.

Provisional Qualifying Results:

Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd In Lap Diff Gap 1 10 Robert LaRocca 1:24.373 108.376 5 - - 2 6 Wyatt Gooden 1:24.701 107.956 7 +0.328 +0.328 3 81 Niki Coello 1:24.872 107.739 16 +0.499 +0.171 4 77 Fabio Orsolon 1:25.026 107.544 15 +0.653 +0.154 5 91 Kyle Connery 1:25.183 107.345 10 +0.810 +0.157 6 37 Chris Livengood 1:25.790 106.586 14 +1.417 +0.607 7 88 Tim Minor/M 1:25.905 106.443 14 +1.532 +0.115 8 06 Tim Paul 1:25.967 106.366 7 +1.594 +0.062 9 55 Gerald Kraut/M 1:26.133 106.161 9 +1.760 +0.166 10 66 Kevin Kopp 1:26.180 106.104 12 +1.807 +0.047 11 67 Dave Weitzenhof/M 1:26.416 105.814 6 +2.043 +0.236 12 7 Brent Gilkes/M 1:26.759 105.395 10 +2.386 +0.343 13 9 Jose Montiel 1:26.771 105.381 13 +2.398 +0.012 14 18 Zach Craigo 1:26.817 105.325 6 +2.444 +0.046 15 8 Mark Defer/M 1:26.925 105.194 17 +2.552 +0.108 16 51 Dan Denison/M 1:26.928 105.191 16 +2.555 +0.003 17 56 Steve Coates 1:27.146 104.927 12 +2.773 +0.218 18 42 Bill Jordan/M 1:27.514 104.486 18 +3.141 +0.368 19 14 Jose Gerardo/M 1:27.549 104.444 9 +3.176 +0.035 20 72 Thomas Schwietz/M 1:27.649 104.325 8 +3.276 +0.100 21 1 Nathan Marcom 1:27.967 103.948 9 +3.594 +0.318 22 83 Charles Finelli/M 1:28.108 103.782 6 +3.735 +0.141 23 90 Robert Wright/M 1:28.346 103.502 14 +3.973 +0.238 24 16 Peter Gonzalez/M 1:28.403 103.435 8 +4.030 +0.057 25 35 Eric Presbrey 1:28.408 103.430 9 +4.035 +0.005 26 19 John Brumder/M 1:28.567 103.244 15 +4.194 +0.159 27 31 Brendan Puderbach 1:29.399 102.283 9 +5.026 +0.832