Lime Rock Preview
Sharon, CT – After four races in 2012, Robert La Rocca and HP-Tech Motorsport have four wins, three poles, and a commanding lead in the 2012 F2000 Championship Series points standings. However, there is no shortage of fast drivers at the pointed end of the grid looking to challenge La Rocca as the F2000 Series heads to Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day weekend for a doubleheader with more than 30 entries.
Last season, the story wasn’t quite the same as a rough Lime Rock weekend sidelined La Rocca with a crash in the first race.
“The team and I just need to keep doing what we've been doing. We were really quick there last year, and I think we can do a good job again,” said La Rocca, looking to make Series history with six wins in a row in Northwestern Connecticut in the No. 10 Van Diemen.
Meanwhile, Niki Coello sits second in F2000 points after a string of top five finishes in the RFR chassis package, having last raced Lime Rock in Spec Miata.
“Atlanta was a good learning experience for the team and myself,” noted Coello. “I think we now have a grasp on the car and its operating range. I think Lime Rock will help show off the benefits of the RFR.”
Third in points, and the only man to start from pole besides La Rocca this year, is rookie Wyatt Gooden, in the No. 6 Quantum Racing Services Van Diemen. Gooden notched a pole at Road Atlanta and won a high-stakes iRacing race at Lime Rock Park that rewarded him a VW TDI Cup ride.
After a less-than-stellar start to 2012, Kyle Connery and CC Autosport have gone back to the Van Diemen chassis package from the RFR.
“We had a really strong run during the second Road Atlanta race and hope to carry that momentum to Lime Rock,” said Connery. “La Rocca certainly has a leg up on everyone right now but I'm confident we can end his streak and take back the top step of the podium. Everyone knows me by now, I'm not entirely happy until we have our diamond trophies back.”
Another driver looking to break La Rocca’s streak and return to victory lane is Tim Minor, who has picked up considerable speed since debuting his No. 88 Citation chassis at VIR.
“We have made a lot of improvements to the Citation. I have had to learn what this car wants, and I drove the same chassis for so many years that it has taken some improvement on my part,” said Minor.
Lime Rock produced Tim Paul’s best finish ever in 2011, and his first podium, and the former midget and sprint car driver looks to continue his strong 2012, with top ten efforts in all four races so far.
“Glenn and Michael and all the GTP guys have given me a great and consistent car at all four races,” Paul commented. “Lime Rock is my home track and easily the one I have the most experience on.”
Joining Paul at his SMR Racing and GTP Motorsports team, filling in for Fabio Orsolon who has a karting conflict is Stevan McAleer, in the No. 77 Radon.
McAleer, from Scotland, last raced alongside Paul in 2010 and has been spending his time in the MX5 Cup in 2012. McAleer finished second at Lime Rock in 2010 and also stood on the podium at Road America.
And there is more: Eyes will be on Chris Livengood, who won at Lime Rock in 2011, but has been struggling in a new RFR in 2012. Livengood was back on pace at Road Atlanta and said the car will be faster at Lime Rock. Kevin Kopp sits a quiet fifth in points in his rookie campaign, having put in a number of impressive drives with limited open wheel experience. There is also Zach Craigo, eighth in points after a consistent opening to the year for Front Range Motorsports, and, Jonathan Scarallo, a race winner, is back for the first time since Mid-Ohio in 2011, driving a Van Diemen for Group-A Racing.
Two practice sessions on Friday lead into a 4:55 pm qualifying session, with a short warm-up on Saturday, May 26, followed by F2000 races at 10:10 am and 2:45 pm, both 33 laps or 30 minutes. Live audio will be available for qualifying and both races at www.livestream.com/F2000 and updates, results, photos and more will be posted on www.F2000ChampionshipSeries.com .