La Rocca Gets Back On Track

Robert La Rocca pulls away from the field en route to his fifth F2000 Championship Series victory Saturday at Lime Rock Park. (Valet photo)
Robert La Rocca pulls away from the field en route to his fifth F2000 Championship Series victory Saturday at Lime Rock Park. (Valet photo)

LAKEVILLE, Conn. — Robert La Rocca took his fifth win of 2012 at Lime Rock Park, bouncing back from an earlier incident in race one that saw him finish third with a broken front wing.

Just a few hours later, La Rocca worked lapped traffic more carefully, leading every lap from pole en route to his fifth win in six races for HP-Tech Motorsport in the No. 10 Van Diemen, finishing ahead of Tim Minor, in the Citation chassis, and Chris Livengood in a RFR, both notching their first podiums of 2012.

“It feels good, it was a clean race this time and the car was consistent,” said La Rocca. “There was one lapped car that slowed me down a bit. On the restarts you always worry because that is a high percentage pass.”

For La Rocca, the Venezuelan sophomore driver also set fast lap at 50.521, significantly faster than everyone else. He also stretches what is becoming a lights out Championship performance points lead, with five wins in six races.

Minor followed in second place, the best outing so far for the Masters Class Champion and the new Citation chassis.

“It was a tough race, all of us were really running the same lap times,” commented Minor. “We made a lot of changes to the car after the first race. The Citation has been a big learning curve but it is getting there.”

Last year’s Lime Rock winner, Chris Livengood, also delivered his best result of 2012 in a new car, the No. 37 RFR, with a third place run in the afternoon race at Lime Rock.

“We are working out the quirks with the RFR,” said Livengood, driving for John Walko Racing. “We are really turning the corner and should be fighting for wins soon.”

Tom Fatur matched his morning result with another fourth place run, but this time had to surrender the Masters Class to Minor. Fatur was again quick and stayed out of trouble in the GTP Motorsports No. 70 Van Diemen.

Kevin Kopp rounded out the top five in an impressive comeback weekend for Wisko F2000 – in an event that saw the No. 66 Van Diemen get little to no track time with mechanical issues on Friday.

While La Rocca led relatively uncontested, a late race restart changed the complexion of the race when Niki Coello made contact with Wyatt Gooden, who was restarting second and had won the first race of the weekend earlier on Saturday.

Gooden spun on the front straight in the Quantum Racing Services Van Diemen, somehow not hitting anything, in front of the entire field. Both cars retired with damage.

Tim Paul delivered his sixth straight top ten, finishing sixth in his home race for SMR and GTP Motorsports, with Charles Finelli, Robert Wright, Craig Clawson and Dean Maker completing the top ten, all in their best performances of the season.

Dennis McCarthy missed the race after losing a motor in the first race of the weekend. Also missing the start was Kyle Connery with significant damage after a race one crash.

Brandon Newey survived a 20-lap F1600 Formula F Championship Series battle with Matias Koykka.