WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Matias Koykka bounced back from his fourth place starting position to take his fourth win of the 2012 F1600 Formula F Championship Series at Watkins Glen Int’l for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
The Spectrum/Honda driver from Finland thus pulls out a 20 point lead (with drops calculated, per Series rules) over Brandon Newey, who finished second, ahead of Koykka’s teammate Neil Alberico, setting up a Championship showdown in the season finale scheduled for Sunday.
“We got a really good start from fourth and the car was fast for the race,” said Koykka. “Once I got in front of Brandon he tried to get around me a few times but I was able to keep the lead. Tomorrow we can’t make any mistakes.”
Twenty-year-old Newey will need a strong performance on Sunday and some luck to take the title for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian. Not helping Newey however, were engine problems affecting new teammate Adrian Starrantino in the other Mygale/Honda that left the car in the pits for most of the race.
Added Newey: “I can’t think about the Championship while driving, it’s too distracting. I go out and do the best I can. I have had a fast car all weekend, but there was a bit of understeer today.”
Newey noted he would not mind rain for the 12-lap season finale on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Koykka most definitely benefited from new teammate Neil Alberico, with a strong open-wheel resume, who at times kept Newey busy during the race.
“That was a really fun race,” explained Alberico, driving the No. 9. “The car is completely different from other cars I’ve driven with the chassis and engine packaged along with the spec tires.”
Alberico ran the fastest lap of the race in the Spectrum chassis, at 1:57.693, besting the current race record for F1600 at the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen.
After struggling with mechanical problems at Mid-Ohio, Jim Goughary bounced back to a fourth place finish – looking very competitive – in his Van Diemen/Honda, with Roberto Lorena completing the top five for Quantum Racing Services in another Van Diemen/Honda entry.