Misfire limits Erickson to one Lime Rock Park pole Excellent wet weather driving - and some good fortune - put Daniel Erickson on pole position for Round 9 of the American F2000 Championship Series at Lime Rock Park, but his luck deserted him in...
Misfire limits Erickson to one Lime Rock Park pole
Excellent wet weather driving - and some good fortune - put Daniel Erickson on pole position for Round 9 of the American F2000 Championship Series at Lime Rock Park, but his luck deserted him in the qualifying session for Round 10.
Fortune smiled and then frowned on Daniel Erickson during today's two American F2000 Championship Series qualifying sessions at Lime Rock Park.
Erickson, driving a Primus/Quantum Racing Van Diemen, qualified on pole position for Round 9 of the championship on Saturday morning, but an engine problem in the second qualifying session pushed him back to 14th starting position for Round 10 later in the afternoon.
After his breakthrough wins in the previous two championship rounds at Watkins Glen earlier this month, the young Australian driver found qualifying at the Connecticut racetrack came down to luck - good and bad.
Once again he punched above his weight in the F2000 Championship Series by being third fastest in the single practice session, which in the absence of a test day was his initial sighting of Lime Rock Park.
His pole position for Round 9 was courtesy of a two-position penalty handed out to surprise pacesetter Keith McCrone for interrupting the rain-soaked first qualifying session for Round 9.
McCrone crashed heavily, but fortunately without injury, just after setting his quickest lap time of 1min. 07.543 sec., bringing proceedings to a halt while officials recovered his damaged car.
Erickson was only 0.668sec. slower than McCrone at the time, and was denied the opportunity to lower the veteran driver's mark when the session expired with the circuit still closed.
The total track time during the session was substantially less than the scheduled 35 minutes, as the timer continued running during several stoppages for off-track incidents.
With 29 drivers jostling for space on the undulating 2.4km circuit, Erickson couldn't find a single traffic-clear lap.
Persistent rain compounded the problem, restricting visibility severely for drivers trying to overtake.
"My car was great, definitely one of the quickest on the track, but it's impossible to say whether I could have gone faster than Keith's best lap - he must have been close to the limit," Erickson said.
"l might have been able to match it if I'd had a clear lap, but I kept catching up to other cars.
"The spray coming off their wheels and wings was so bad that I couldn't see a thing.
"Three-quarters was the closest I got to a clear lap."
As for Erickson's prospects of retaining the race lead on a circuit that's still new to him, the series rookie acknowledged that the weather will play an important role.
"At least I know my way around here in the rain now!" he joked.
"If it's dry, picking the racing line usually isn't too much of a problem, but finding out how fast I can take the quicker corners will be a challenge.
"Most of the drivers behind me have raced here in the dry before, so I might have to drive defensively in the early laps."
Lime Rock Park is challenging enough in the dry, let alone the wet!
No sooner had the chequered flag ended the first qualifying session than Erickson's good luck deserted him.
First, an anomaly in the rules denied him the usual three bonus championship points for pole position, which still went to McCrone despite his penalty.
Then, in the second qualifying session a misfiring engine sent him scurrying back to the pits, where he remained for the duration.
The weather conspired to worsen Erickson's already bad situation.
After starting with the track still wet from earlier rain, the 30-minute session was rain-free.
Consequently a 'dry line' appeared, and lap times tumbled by several seconds.
Erickson could only watch helplessly as his best time, which had been among the fastest when he set it, was trampled down to 14th by the stampeding F2000 herd.
"The engine started stuttering when I hit the throttle," he said.
"We're not sure what caused it - the team will check the ECU - but it's probably something like a failed throttle position sensor."
The qualifying setback has given Erickson a tall order for Round 10, irrespective of the weather.
"The second race will be a big challenge, especially if it rains," he said.
"Even if my car is as quick as it was in the first qualifying session, it will be hard to make up places without running into anyone.
"I'll go as hard as I can whatever happens, but realistically I might have to be satisfied with a top-five finish.
"It's not over yet, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it."
-source: daniel erickson PR