Pro F2000 Series - La Rocca Nets Top-5's At Mid-Ohio
Mid-Ohio, July 5, 2011: Looking to make a statement in Ohio, Venezuelan pilot Robert La Rocca and his Auto Errante-HP Tech Motorsport prepared Ralph Firman Race car were back in action this past weekend for rounds seven and eight in the Pro F2000 Championship Series. Competing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, La Rocca was able to close the weekend with a pair of top five results as the program rounds the half way point in the 2011 racing season.
"Mid-Ohio is a very nice track but very technical," expressed La Rocca. "We were able to unload and be fast right away but we had to fine tune the car throughout the weekend. When all was said and done, the guys did a great job and were were able to leave with another great set of results."
Starting the weekend off strong, La Rocca rarely would be seen outside the top three positions in both on track wheel-to-wheel action as well as speed. Throughout the three day event, the Auto Errante-HP Tech Motorsport driver was the quickest Ralph Firman Racing (RFR) driver in the paddock and continues to extend that streak with each and every Pro F2000 race.
After official test sessions would close out Friday, Saturday would see the Venezuelan driver claim the third quickest time in qualifying to claim the inside row two starting spot for the main event. Proving to be a very long and difficult race, La Rocca lost a few positions in the opening laps but would make them up before the checkered flag would fall.
"The tires were not lasting all that well and for the first half of the race, I tried to manage them as best as I could. Due to this, I lost a few positions early but knew that I would be better off in the end. When the half way mark approached, we began to make our move and charge forward as other drivers struggled with tire management. I was able to move into the third position and claim a podium result for the team."
The second race of the weekend would take place on Sunday afternoon and the Auto Errant-HP Tech Motorsport team would take a different approach to the event. After qualifying in the fourth position, La Rocca charged early and looked to gain some positions. Running fourth for the majority of the race, the Ralph Firman driver was unable to mount an attack on the eventual podium finishers before the checkered flag dropped. La Rocca continued, "The final few laps were crazy. Our tires had really fallen off and I was just hanging on every lap. The left front tire had overheated and basically had no grip. I am happy with the weekend's results as we have once again proved we can run with the fastest teams and drivers in the series."
Post event, Ralph Firman invited Robert La Rocca to travel to England to test and provide feedback on some of the RFR cars development work. Though a date has yet to be set, La Rocca hopes to complete this before the next scheduled event here in North America.