SBRS: Moroso resport 2002-03-06

Franc Takes Five at Moroso Matt Franc had the Moroso magic working and used it wisely this weekend to capture five of five race wins at Moroso Motorsport Park's 2.25 mile 10-turn road course. Franc's points tally allows him to take over the...

Franc Takes Five at Moroso

Matt Franc had the Moroso magic working and used it wisely this weekend to capture five of five race wins at Moroso Motorsport Park's 2.25 mile 10-turn road course. Franc's points tally allows him to take over the lead in the Formula Dodge Southern Regional Championship, holding a slight advantage over Rookie Jonatan Jorge. Peter Stolper maintains a sizable 33 point margin over helicopter hopping Ron Atapattu in the Masters class.

Despite no rain, first day race action was run on treaded tires due to ominous forecasts. In Group 1 Race 1, Matt Franc advanced his championship cause by beating Cristiano Piquet to the first checkered flag, starting a pattern of capturing flags that would last all weekend. Ever-improving Masters racer, Ron Atapattu, followed in third. Mike Brewer was most progressive driver, advancing from 13th to finish sixth. Franc bobbled his pole advantage early, allowing Piquet to pass but the Brazilian only led momentarily. Franc resumed the lead on lap 2 and then motored to a 17 sec. margin victory.

With minimal rest between races, Franc climbed back into his Formula Dodge R/T 2000 and dominated the field once again, leaving the battle to watch between Masters racer Peter Stolper and rising star Jonatan Jorge. Stolper, who recorded the fastest lap with a time of 1:36.105 sec., finished second and Jorge third in an amazingly close result. It was truly a case of experience over youth. Laura Rowe continues to evolve into a racing threat, progressing from 10th to a strong fourth place result.

Desi Sartelli benefited from a penalty ruling against Atticus Missner and newcomer Hector Yanez in group 1 race 3 action, allowing himself to be promoted to first place and his first ever Skip Barber Race Series win. Masters racer Lorin Gill followed in second, also claiming the Masters victory over Jep Thornton, in third, who was close at his heels after a strong drive from ninth. Missner and Yanez touched on the final lap after a great battle, and drew their demotion penalties for not pitting.

In the Memorial, Scott Poirier had his victory rescinded after absorbing a 20 sec. penalty for contact that moved him back to third. Matt Franc was promoted to his third victory in three races on the day. Cristiano Piquet, who raced beneath Franc's gearbox for much of the contest, finished a thin 0:02 sec. behind, in second.

The second day opener saw Cristiano Piquet do his best to change Franc's fortune, holding the previous day's three-time winner off for a bit, before spinning late under pressure on the penultimate lap. The miscue resulted in a four-off, which dropped him to sixth before regaining one position. Coming off his first Skip Barber Race Series victory, Desi Sartelli found the podium again and finished an impressive second. Lorin Gill drove brilliantly and climbed from 10th to third to secure the Masters win. Steve Lever proved he's a quick learner in his first weekend in the Skip Barber Race Series. The fourteenth place starter picked off five positions to finish ninth.

In group 2 race 2, the battle between Peter Stolper and Jonatan Jorge was renewed behind Matt Franc, who checked out from pole to capture his second win of the day. The racing was heated and the blood seemed to boil between the two combatants before Jorge came out on top; youth getting the better hand in this match up. Observers saw the near contact between the pair in the chicane, which had Stolper scrambling to save his car, as a normal racing incident. Fourth place finisher Laura Rowe will soon be on the podium as she continues to drive with more confidence. Fernando Capablanca was unlucky to have a flat tire, which dropped him from his strong fifth place position 13 laps into the race.

Jordan Gore, recovering from a sub-par first race, methodically mowed through the field over 12 laps to rally from ninth to first and capture victory. Atticus Missner led most the race until he yielded the point to Gore. Masters racer Lorin Gill claimed his third podium of the weekend and more Masters points. Chris Fowler and Jep Thornton reduced their chances for a podium by taking each other out on the first lap of action. Gary Maas had a strong first race weekend, coming out ahead of several veteran drivers.

The Memorial Race had all sorts of excitement when David Libby brought out a full course yellow late after contact with the wall opposite the pits. The slowdown bunched the field abetting Gerardo Bonilla's charge to catch and leap Matt Franc with one lap to go. A delighted John Smith, back after a six-year sabbatical, advanced from fifth to finish third.

Next up, the Formula Dodge Southern Regional racers move to Sebring International Raceway, where they'll tackle the modified road course on March 22-24.

-sbr-

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