Robert La Rocca Fast in Practice

May 10, 2012
La Rocca was quick again. (photo: Dennis Valet)

Braselton, GA – Robert La Rocca continued his success from a double win at VIR, setting fastest lap over three 25-minute practice sessions on Thursday morning at Road Atlanta, ahead of qualifying and rounds three and four of the 2012 F2000 Championship Series season, driving the No. 10 HP-Tech Motorsport Van Diemen. In the third and final session of the morning, La Rocca turned in a lap of 1:24.964, well under the track record and ahead of Fabio Orsolon, Niki Coello, Wyatt Gooden and Kyle Connery.

“We are making steady progress on the car to get it to handle,” said the HP-Tech pilot. “The track has been getting quicker but it may be greasy by the time we qualify this afternoon at 4:30.”

Orsolon was second quick in the Radon, in front of Coello in the RFR, and then Wyatt Gooden, who was fastest in the first session of the day despite never having driven Road Atlanta before.

“We went out with a plan,” commented Gooden, “We are making the most of the time we have and making some small changes on the No. 6 Quantum Racing Services Van Diemen.”

Kyle Connery brought not only the No. 91 RFR but also the No. 91 Van Diemen, which the 21 year old won both races at Road Atlanta in last year, as a “back-up car.” Reserve car or not, the CC Autosport team has prepared the chassis, which had the track record from last year until La Rocca went under it earlier in the day.

“The track was a bit cold this morning and we are working on the car,” said Connery, after the first session in his RFR. “The changes following our test at Daytona last week have been very positive.”

Zach Craigo was up to sixth fast by the third session, ahead of Gerald Kraut, the first of the Masters Class drivers, for JDC Motorsports. Nathan Morcom was eighth for Momentum Motorsports, getting into the Momentum Van Diemen at the last minute this week, and only being fitted in the car late last night in the Road Atlanta paddock.

Elsewhere on track, Tim Minor and Ski Motorsports, ninth in session three, missed the second session, opting to spend the time making a “suspension geometry change” to the No. 88 Citation after posting the seventh fastest time in the first session. Minor finished second after leading most of one of the race’s at Road Atlanta in 2011.

Chris Livengood rounded out the top ten in the No. 37 RFR for John Walko Racing. After problems at VIR, the team has replaced the chassis’ electrical harness which appears to have solved most of their problems.

“Everything is functioning as it should be,” explained Livengood. “We shook the car down earlier this week and the new harness has fixed our electrical issues. Hopefully we’ll make some progress this weekend.”

The second practice session of the morning was brought to a premature end due to a crash involving Charles Finelli, with notable damage to the No. 83 Van Diemen.

Qualifying gets underway at 4:30pm local time. Live streaming and updates are available are available on www.F2000Series.com.

Practice 3 Results:

Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd In Lap Diff Gap 1 10 Robert LaRocca 1:24.964 107.622 9 - - 2 77 Fabio Orsolon 1:25.283 107.219 11 +0.319 +0.319 3 81 Niki Coello 1:26.244 106.025 8 +1.280 +0.961 4 6 Wyatt Gooden 1:26.606 105.582 3 +1.642 +0.362 5 91 Kyle Connery 1:26.859 105.274 6 +1.895 +0.253 6 18 Zach Craigo 1:26.893 105.233 10 +1.929 +0.034 7 55 Gerald Kraut/M 1:26.927 105.192 8 +1.963 +0.034 8 7 Nathan Marcom 1:27.427 104.590 7 +2.463 +0.500 9 88 Tim Minor/M 1:27.490 104.515 4 +2.526 +0.063 10 37 Chris Livengood 1:27.639 104.337 3 +2.675 +0.149 11 67 Dave Weitzenhof/M 1:27.830 104.110 5 +2.866 +0.191 12 06 Tim Paul 1:27.873 104.059 12 +2.909 +0.043 13 72 Thomas Schwietz/M 1:28.048 103.852 6 +3.084 +0.175 14 9 Jose Montiel 1:28.446 103.385 9 +3.482 +0.398 15 66 Kevin Kopp 1:28.579 103.230 8 +3.615 +0.133 16 59 Steve Coates 1:28.682 103.110 6 +3.718 +0.103 17 16 Peter Gonzalez/M 1:28.795 102.979 14 +3.831 +0.113 18 8 Mark Defer/M 1:29.056 102.677 8 +4.092 +0.261 19 42 Bill Jordan/M 1:29.070 102.661 12 +4.106 +0.014 20 19 John Brumder 1:29.126 102.596 14 +4.162 +0.056 21 51 Dan Denison/M 1:29.179 102.535 14 +4.215 +0.053 22 35 1:30.639 100.884 10 +5.675 +1.460 23 90 Robert Wright/M 1:31.735 99.678 1 +6.771 +1.096 24 14 Jose Gerardo -.--- - 0 - - 25 17 John LaRue/M -.--- - 0 - - 26 31 Brendan Puderbach -.--- - 0 - - 27 83 Charles Finelli/M -.--- - 0 - -