F2000: Fatur Leads the Way at Lime Rock Lakeville, CT -- On a beautiful day at Lime Rock Tom Fatur showed that experience counts as he lead the way in opening practice for rounds three and four of the 2009 F2000 season....
F2000: Fatur Leads the Way at Lime Rock
Lakeville, CT -- On a beautiful day at Lime Rock Tom Fatur showed that experience counts as he lead the way in opening practice for rounds three and four of the 2009 F2000 season. Fatur, driving for GTP Motorsports, was at the top of the charts in both sessions with a best lap of 51.171, three tenths under the current track record. The top 15 cars were separated by less than a second.
Fatur commented, "This is one of the best tracks. It's my first time here since they repaved it and there are new turn in points for every corner which I'm still getting used to. With new tires we might even get into the 49s tomorrow. During the break between sessions we put on the new set of developmental wings and the car was just terrible at first. We came in and made some adjustments that helped in the high speed corners and that was when I ran my fast lap."
Fatur was followed by Matthew Inge, Chris Miller, Remy Audette and Benjamin Searcy.
Inge, driving the car that Cole Morgan won both Lime Rock F2000 events in in 2007, was less than a tenth behind Fatur and missed winning at VIR in April by a few inches to Chris Miller. "The track is very slick ere and since it is so short there is a huge issue with traffic especially since the lap times are so close. The track is going to be very quick tomorrow, especially in the morning," said Inge.
The man Inge couldn't get by for the win at VIR, Chris Miller, was third on the time sheets. The JDC Motorsports team made a lot of changes during the break between sessions to give Miller the car he needed. "We made a lot of setup changes," explained Miller. "We made some aero changes and did a lot of changes to the shock setup which made the balance great. I'm expecting to be near the front in qualifying tomorrow afternoon."
Championship points leader Remy Audette, who broke the VIR track record at the season opener was fourth fastest with a time of 51.375. Audette, Miller, Inge and Fatur were all under the current track record of 51.400 during the unofficial practice sessions.
Benjamin Searcy completed the top five with a time of 51.456. "This place is all about rhythm, "said Searcy, who dominated race one in the rain at VIR. "There are no technical corners and it's all high speed so passing is going to very difficult during the race and I expect we'll see a lot of guys making dive bomb passes going into turn one."
Meanwhile Searcy's Z-Sports teammate, Caitlin Johnston was 20th with a fast lap of 52.371 as she is still coming to grips with the tricky 1.53 circuit, "I'm getting faster and faster as I learn the track and get more comfortable with the car," said Johnston after the last practice session of the day. "I am starting to like this place."
Another driver coming to grips with the track is Bobby Caldwell, who ran a fast lap of 52.452, good enough for 21st in the 29 car field, "I feel quick but I just need more confidence on the uphill. We made a ton of changes on the car between sessions, we adjusted the sway bar, camber, wings, everything, and it was a lot better in the second session." Said Caldwell, who drives the #80 Van Diemen/Zetec.
The word of the day was most definitely understeer as pretty much every team in the 29-car strong paddock spent the session break changing car setups to fight the understeer most drivers were complaining of.
Alegra Motorsports could only manage 14th with Fabio Orsolon and 27th with Victor Carbone. Alegra F2000 crew chief Tony Ditto remains optimistic, "It was a good day, the times aren't as fast as we wanted but we are learning and that is a good thing. IT was the first time these guys were on this track in the dry," commented Ditto.
Phil Lombardi, driving for GTP Motorsports, was expected to be very fast today with his years of experience at the track. Unfortunately Lombardi battled electrical gremlins in his Van Diemen all day that prohibited him from getting any real laps in. "We're just giving the rest of the field a little head start," commented Lombardi. "We changed a faulty ignition relay after the first practice session but that wasn't it and now we are putting a new coil in. Hopefully that'll fix the problems."
Making their series debuts at Lime Rock this weekend are John Dole, Christopher Burke, Charles Finelli, Chris Fahan and Paul Farmer. Dole led the group logging a time that was fast enough for seventh. Fahan wasn't far behind in ninth with series socialite Finelli in 16th.
The only major incident of the day happened during the second practice session when Jesse Yorio made hard impact with the guardrail exiting the right hander coming onto the back straight. Yorio was transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures and is expected to be back in his Piper-chassis tomorrow.
Group A Motorsports had Colin Alexander log a 51.622, putting him sixth in the #12. "I'm extremely happy with sixth, "said Alexander who finished ninth at VIR in the second race. "I did not expect to be so fast right out of the box and we turned our fastest lap today right at the end. The car's balance is just incredible and it's everything I need. Now I just need to get comfortable with this race track and all it's subtleties."
The action gets underway tomorrow morning with a practice session at 10:20AM, followed by a 12:55PM qualifying session and round three of the 2009 season at 5:15PM. Stay tuned to F2000ChampionshipSeries.com for the latest.