Team Pelfrey’s Ayla Agren Doubles Up at Pittsburgh to Claim Points Lead
PALMETTO, FLA. (August 4, 2014) – Ayla Agren continued her remarkable run of success in the ultra-competitive F1600 Championship Series by guiding Team Pelfrey’s #81 Energima/Women’s Sports Foundation Mygale-Honda to a double victory last weekend at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pa. The rapid young Norwegian lady now holds a solid 52-point advantage, 401-349, over teammate Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., with four races remaining in the 14-race season.
The team also celebrated a remarkable 1-2-3-4 finish in Saturday’s race – for the second race weekend in a row – when Agren was followed home by teammates Rickards, Augie Lerch and Nikita Lastochkin.
An interrupted qualifying session on Saturday did not go to plan. Rickards was best among the distinctive yellow-and-black Pelfrey cars posting the fifth fastest time, one place ahead of Agren, with Lerch and Lastochkin in 11th and 12th. The race was a different story, however, as Agren quickly worked her way to the front, to be shadowed across the line by Rickards. Lerch completed the podium with Lastochkin only 1.5 seconds farther adrift.
Race Two provided mixed fortunes for the Pelfrey stablemates. Rickards, Lerch and Lastochkin all fell victim to various incidents during a drama-filled race, while Agren crossed the finish line in third following an intense battle with Evan Mehan and Jack Mitchell Jr., but was later awarded the victory after her two rivals were penalized for repeatedly ignoring warning flags for overly zealous protection of their positions.
The next two rounds of competition will be held at the recently refurbished Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park road course in Thompson, Conn., on the weekend of August 29-31.
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID:
Nikita Lastochkin (#80 Team Pelfrey/REM Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started 12th, finished fourth; Race Two, started eighth, finished seventh: “I felt like this weekend was a good one as far as the team and my personal performance goes. Qualifying in 1600 can always be a random pick with the draft being so important, but I had a lot of fun driving to the front and making it another 1-4 for Team Pelfrey. Sunday was a bit unfortunate as I got taken out, but I felt like I was driving well until that point. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from the rest of the season.”
Ayla Agren (#81 Team Pelfrey/Energima/Women’s Sports Foundation Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started sixth, finished first; Race Two, started second, finished first: “The weekend didn’t start off great when I had an unavoidable crash in Friday first practice which forced me to miss the remaining two sessions. But we came back strong and won both races. Hats off to the team for getting the car put back together so fast, and this weekend we really showed that motorsport is a team sport.”
Augie Lerch (#82 Team Pelfrey/PJ’s Performance Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started 11th, finished third; Race Two, started sixth, finished ninth: “Overall it was a solid weekend for me and a great weekend for the team. I got caught out in first qualifying by the very long red flag which left me out of position, but I just stayed focused and drove as hard as I could in the race. A podium felt fantastic and to have all four of us up there again was a true testament to the team. Race Two was unfortunate as I got caught up in another driver’s mistake. Sometimes these things happen so I am just looking ahead to Thompson where I can’t wait to get back in the car..”
Garth Rickards (#83 Team Pelfrey/Snap 21 Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started fifth, finished second; Race Two, started fourth, finished 13th: “It was my home race of the year and I really enjoyed the venue. Having friends and family out to support me made it all the better. We had a very good day Saturday earning the fastest race lap and finishing second after a long battle with my teammate. We had a great car all weekend thanks to the Pelfrey guys which gives me the confidence to give it my all. Sunday looked very promising, starting fourth, but getting rammed from behind on Lap 5 by a slower car forced us to retire early. A bit frustrating but that's part of the game and I'm more than ready to keep pushing for that first win. This series is about learning and I'm definitely learning a lot!”