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Jan 23, 2014 - 04:52 PM
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Shippert Takes Piper to Victory in First F1600 Round of 2014
Posted by: newsla on Jan 23, 2014 - 04:45 PM
Support Series News
Shippert Takes Piper to Victory in First F1600 Round of 2014
The Pacific Formula F1600/F2000 Championship opened its eleventh season at the 2.880 mile infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Saturday afternoon. The series running this season with the SCCA U.S. Majors Tours events to qualify series drivers for the season ending Run-Offs to be held on the West Coast for the first time in forty-six years, last held at Riverside International Raceway in 1968.

 

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The run groups, set by the sanctioning club has split the F1600 from the F2000 cars this season and finds them running as FF’s in a group with FE’s, FV’s and F500.

The F1600 group this season will see the return of Ethan Shippert, who won at Fontana two years ago in a Van Diemen, driving the #55 Fast Forward, Piper Race Cars, Pro Pack Systems, Shippert Racing Piper DF5/Honda, Dave Zurlinden, who campaigned in the series last season, in the #131 Pro Pack systems, Fast Forward Piper/Honda and Alex Kirby in the #15 LA Prep Inc.
Piper/Honda.

PR1 Motorsports is fielding a single entry for Nikita Lastochkin, the #2 Russkaya Mekhanika, PR1 Motorsports Mygale/Honda. After a year in the Skip Barber Racing Series, Nikita joins PR1 with hopes of winning the F1600 championship.

Long time San Francisco Region Club Ford racer Chuck Horn will be making his series debut this season in the #54 Isys engineering, Porter Racing Swift DB6/Honda.

Unlike the F2000 field, all of the F1600 runners will be competing on Avon tires.

The F1600 group were the first on track for Friday’s 25 minute qualifying session that began at 12:30pm under clear sunny skies and warm temperatures. In his visit to Auto Club Speedway Lastochkin was immediately on the pace and set a provisional pole time of 1m45.964s, three quarters of a second ahead of Shippert in the Piper and almost a full second ahead of Kirby. Horn was next with Zurlinden rounding out the field.

The 15 minute long Saturay Qualifyinig began at 8:00am and with cooler temperatures times dropped dramatically as Lastochkin knocked over two seconds off his previous session time with a 1m43.783s lap. Shippert manage to take off one and a half seconds but still found himself 1.369 seconds adrift. All drivers managed to improve their times on Saturday and Lastochkin and Shippert will be followed by Kirby, Zurlinden and Horn.

Lastochkin jumped away at the start and managed to place one of the FE cars between himself and the field enabling him to draw out a big advantage on the rest of the runners consistently lapping in the 1m45s range while the others were running 1m46s and above.

Kirby dropped a couple of places at the start and Zurlinden’s opening lap spin sent him to the rear of the field leaving the running order at the end of the first lap, Lastochkin, Shippert, Horn, Kirby and Zurlinden.

The order remained constant until lap 7 when Shippert, having closed the gap to Lastochkin, managed to get by when the latter had contact with one of the FE contenders while lapping a slower car and was forced into a spin dropping him back to second. Meanwhile Kirby got past Horn to claim third spot as the race reached the midway point.

Lastochkin chased down Shippert and on lap 10 took over the lead using the draft on the banking and outbraking Shippert into turn 3.

At three quarter distance the running order was Lastochkin leading Shippert, Kirby, Horn and Zurlinden.

Unfortunately Nikita Lastochkin’s excellent first series race came to a premature end when an electrical issue ended his race with three laps remaining. This allowed Shippert to cruise home to his second series win and his second victory at Auto Club Speedway. The victory also gave Ethan the Expert Class trophy.

Second place went to Alex Kirby who drove flawlessly and take advantage of others mistakes or misfortune.

Dave Zurlinden pulled himself up from the back of the field to finish in third place after his early spin and taking advantage of a last lap spin by Chuck Horn ceding the final step on the podium and ending up in fourth place.

F1600 Qualifying: 1. Nikita Lastochkin (Mygale/Honda), 1m43.783s; 2. Ethan Shippert (Piper/ Honda), 1m45.152s; 3. Alex Kirby (Piper/Honda), 1m46.604s; 4. Dave Zurlinden (Piper/Honda), 1m46.612s; 5. Chuck Horn (Swift DB6/Honda), 1m46.641s.

F1600 Round 1 (15 laps): 1. Shippert; 2. Kirby, +10.899s; 3. Zurlinden, +52.131s; 4. Horn, +1m0.684s; 5. Lastochkin, +3 laps.

Fastest race lap: Lastochkin, 1m45.447s.
Expert class winner (over 35): Shippert.


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