Watkins Glen, NY – In split dry and wet sessions, Ryan Leach and Wyatt Gooden posted fast times in F1600 Formula F Championship Series season finale practice on Friday at Watkins Glen International. Ryan Leach led the morning’s dry session in the Spectrum/Honda for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, with 25 cars posting times, before Wyatt Gooden paced a very damp track in a Van Diemen/Honda in a sparsely attended afternoon session.
Leach is coming off a second place finish at Lime Rock, his best of the year.
“The car had a good balance everywhere in the first session. I guess we’ll see what the weather does the rest of the weekend,” said Leach, who added he does not have much rain experience as a major weather system threatens to dump rain on Watkins Glen for the entire season finale weekend.
Second on the morning time sheets was Championship contender Tim Kautz, in the Braeburn Thermostats Piper/Ford. Kautz trails Bill Valet in the points battle, with Valet only able to post a time good enough for 12th. Both drivers took home wins at Watkins Glen in June.
“We didn’t even try to put in a lap,” said Valet. “We scrubbed tires and shook down the car. I’ve been here before in the rain and it didn’t make sense to push the car this morning. We need to play it safe before qualifying.”
Other notables included David Clubine, third quick, ahead of Jeremy Grenier and Gooden. Steve Oseth was sixth with Jim Oseth, Erik Shepard, Mike Scanlan and Chris Keller, in a Piper/Honda, rounding out the top ten.
Keller drove from the back of the field to a top ten at Watkins Glen in June, and is a former Formula F National Champion.
Eyes are also on Colin Thompson, who crashed during the first practice. Thompson, like Leach, is coming off his best finish of the year at Lime Rock and is currently leading the competition for an end-of-season Alegra Motorsports F2000 test, awarded to the top placing driver under the age of 21 in final points.
Thompson’s Swift/Honda will be ready for Saturday qualifying.
The afternoon practice session, run under incredibly damp conditions, saw Gooden lead Jim Goughary, Leach, Shepard and Dan Pyanowski.
Results can be viewed at www.F1600Series.com, under the “results” tab.
Saturday morning qualifying for race one gets going at 9:40 local time. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 2:10 on Saturday, and Sunday again features a 9:40 morning qualifying and 2:10 race start prior to the Series awards ceremony. Stay tuned to F1600Series.com for updates.