Portante Leads Friday Practice
Lexington, OH - Peter Portante led F1600 Formula F Championship Series practice on Friday afternoon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a quick lap of 1:30.658 in the No. 24 K-Hill Motorsports Mygale/Honda.
After morning rain and six minutes into the afternoon practice session on a slick track, Kaylen Frederick took his Team Pelfrey Mygale/Honda to the top of the charts with a lap of 1:33.596 to demote teammate Calvin Ming to second quick by .101 seconds in the early going, with Phillippe Denes, Peter Portante and Neil Verhagen rounding out the top five.
As the F1600 field continued turning clean laps at the Mid-Ohio facility, it was Peter Portante jumping to first a few moments later, getting there with a time of 1:32.660 as he was then quickly eclipsed by Denes.
A lap later, times were into the 1:31s for Frederick and Portante as drivers worked their cars up to speed.
At the 15-minute mark, halfway through the session, the top time stood at a 1:31.634 turned in by K-Hill Motorsports pilot Portante.
Laps were significantly off Friday times from 2015 and four seconds shy of the F1600 track record as drivers struggled with a grip-less surface after the morning weather. The morning session saw only a few cars run on a damp track, with rain chasing them back to the paddock.
Showing off progress as drivers learned the track and Hoosier rubber was put down as the afternoon practice continued, Ming ran a 1:31.328 while Championship contender Steve Bamford was noticeably absent from the top five grouping at the 20-minute mark of the afternoon practice.
That didn't last long, however, as Bamford found some pace, elevating himself to fifth with nine minutes on the clock ahead of Verhagen, in sixth, and June Sprints victor Andy Melvin. Meanwhile, Portante returned to first with a time of 1:31.015 and on the next lap, turned in a 1:30.658.
With the checkered flag out at the 30-minute mark, the all-green-flag session saw Portante keep the fastest time at 1:30.658 ahead of Frederick in second with a gap of .024 seconds between the two drivers, and another .049 seconds back to Denes in third.
Bamford and Verhagen completed the top five with Ming and Ada in sixth and seventh. Andy Melvin, Cliff Johnson and Jeffrey Bartz rounded out the top 10 on their F1600 debut weekend.
F1600 cars next take to the Mid-Ohio track for Saturday morning qualifying, with a race on Saturday afternoon and two more races scheduled for Sunday as the Championship sees its midpoint of the 2016 season.