It took a night of hard work with his engineer, but Brazilian ace Gustavo Sondermann realized he had the potential to win and so he did in convincing manner in the second round of the FR2000 Winter Invitational series this weekend in Sebring....
It took a night of hard work with his engineer, but Brazilian ace Gustavo Sondermann realized he had the potential to win and so he did in convincing manner in the second round of the FR2000 Winter Invitational series this weekend in Sebring. After a first day of testing and the first round of the series where he finished 10th, the Sao Paulo native went to work and showed the 25-car international grid that he was a series contender. After qualifying with a track-record time of 2:05:060, he led from red lights out to checkered flag to win his second ever FR2000 race on his first visit to the 3.7 mile Sebring track.
"I was concerned all week with a delicate thumb, said Gustavo. I had my steering whiplash my left thumb earlier this week and was wandering if I could even hold the steering through a single session. On Test day and for the first round, I wasn't charging because I felt my thumb wound hurt if I pushed too much. After the first round, I went to work with Lolo (Perdomo) and Bob (Gelles) and we were ready the next morning to charge back for the second round. I had a fantastic car, I shook off my gremlins and everything went all right. Now, I know I can fight with Strous and Ponte when we meet again in Homestead in three weeks."
Yager, a quick learner
Michael Yager showed all weekend he would be one of the best rookies in the series and possibly the best American this season. At 18, the young man from Illinois proved he could stay focused and race in the traffic. In round 1, he qualified 17th, worked his way up to 12th, missed his restart after a full-course yellow and finished 17th. Better, in round 2, he started in 19th place, was involved in a slight contact with a slow car, dropped to 23rd and worked his way up to 14th. Bob Gelles had good words for his driver in his maiden FR2000 weekend: "Michael is calm and collected on the track. The few errors he made will make him a better driver because he learns fast. He communicates very well with our staff and we are very happy with his performances."
Marc-Antoine Camirand plagued with under-steering
For the Trois-Rivieres veteran driving the #2 USA Today Gelles car, getting the proper setup was his main concern all weekend long. On his very first session, Marc-Antoine registered the fourth best time and demonstrated he would be one of the tenors. Unfortunately, Marc-Antoine complained he was experimenting under-steering and could not push the car hard enough on the 17-corner track. Nevertheless, he managed eleventh place in round 1 and completed the Top Ten in round two while starting a distant 14th. Marc-Antoine promised he would do his homework and return a stronger driver in Homestead.
Gelles will now have three weeks to prepare for the second phase of the FR2000 Winter Invitational series in Homestead. "We will meet with our drivers, added Gelles, and use the data from last year to prepare for the final three-race meeting. The field is very competitive and we have to make plans for every situation. This year, the new promoter does an excellent job and no doubt the championship will go down to the wire."