Solid practice puts Daniel Erickson in contention at Mid Ohio

With quick lap times whether Mid Ohio was fast or 'green', Daniel Erickson has made a promising start to the final 2010 F2000 Championship Series weekend. Photo by Janice Eakin.

Two solid practice runs today have put Daniel Erickson well in contention for this weekend's final two F2000 Championship Series rounds at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.

Erickson was unfussed to clock the second fastest lap in the afternoon session at the 3.9km (2.4 mile) Lexington circuit, just 0.331sec. off pacesetter Rob Nicholas.

With the track surface washed clean by a short but heavy rain shower just before the half-hour session, the young Australian was content to do just three late-session laps in his Primus/ADSA Wright Racing Van Diemen.

"We fitted a set of new tyres, but with the track being 'green' I sat in the pitlane for most of the session," he said. "I went out at the end for a few laps just to make sure everything was okay for tomorrow.

"I probably could have gone quicker, but there's no point in using up new tyres when there isn't enough rubber on the track to set a really good time."

In the day's first practice session, before the rain, Erickson ran fifth with 1min. 24.854sec. as he and his race engineer Jon Baytos fine-tuned the car's race set-up.

While some drivers were on new tyres, the Australian Motor Sport Foundation International Rising Star used well-worn rubber throughout the session.

He wasn't unduly concerned that his best lap of 1min. 24.854sec. was almost a second shy of session leader Chris Livengood's sub-record 1min. 23.998sec.

"Jon and I weren't worried about our times because of the tyre situation and a small problem with the clutch," he said.

Erickson's high ranking today followed a sensational performance in his first sighting of Mid Ohio yesterday.

In a three-hour twilight practice session he set the second fastest time behind F2000 veteran Rob Nicholas.

He was late getting onto the track while the ADSA Wright Racing crew finished preparing his car, which was previously driven in the F2000 Championship Series by Al Giubord Jnr.

But the new combination clicked immediately, and Erickson soon found the quick way around the unfamiliar circuit to finish the day only 0.316sec. off the circuit's all-time F2000 lap record.

"We were a little late starting, because Jon Baytos wanted to make a few changes to the basic set-up," he said.

"First time out we were about a second off pace, then we made a few more changes and got within three tenths of Rob Nicholas's time.

"We used the same set of tyres all day, and just kept trying to improve the car."

With the 'phony war' over, Erickson was looking forward to finishing the championship on a high with good results in the two final rounds.

"It's always hard to tell in practice who's quick and who isn't because everyone's running different set-ups," he said.

"About the only thing that's certain is that Chris Livengood has set the benchmark for qualifying.

"But my car feels good and we haven't had any dramas, so I'm looking forward to finishing the championship with two good races."


-source: daniel erickson PR