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Jan 25, 2014 - 03:20 AM
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Lastochkin Takes Dominant Victory in Round 2 at Fontana
Posted by: newsla on Jan 25, 2014 - 03:13 AM
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Lastochkin Takes Dominant Victory in Round 2 at Fontana

Round two of the Pacific Formula F1600/F2000 Championship was run on the 2.880 mile infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Sunday morning. The California Sports Car Club hosting the Fontana event as the series is running this season with the SCCA U.S. Majors Tours events to qualify series drivers for the season ending Run-Offs.


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Sunday’s event has again split the F1600 from the F2000 cars and finds them running as FF’s in a group with FE’s, FV’s and F500.

The F1600 group remains intact and is headed by Round 1 race winner Ethan Shippert driving the #55 Fast Forward, Piper Race Cars, Pro Pack Systems, Shippert Racing Piper DF5/Honda. He is joined by Dave Zurlinden in the #131 Pro Pack systems, Fast Forward Piper/Honda, Alex Kirby in the #15 LA Prep Inc. Piper/Honda, Nikita Lastochkin, the #2 Russkaya Mekhanika, PR1 Motorsports Mygale/Honda and long time San Francisco Region Club Ford racer Chuck Horn, who made his series debut Saturday, in the #54 Isys engineering, Porter Racing Swift DB6/Honda. All series cars are shod with Avon tires.

The F1600 group was again first on track for a 10 minute warm-up that began at 8:00am with the race due to start at 9:00am.
Starting positions were determined by a combination of fastest lap in qualifying and Saturday’s race and as a result it was Lastochkin who claimed the pole with a combined time of 5m15.194s. He was followed by Shippert in the Piper, Kirby, Horn and Zurlinden rounding out the field.

Lastochkin made another brilliant start getting ahead of an FE car and using it as a buffer between himself and the field and, as he had on Saturday, began to draw away.

By contrast, Shipperts’ start was far more hectic as the field compressed in the braking zone coming off the oval, several cars became tangled up and Horn actually vaulted over Shipperts’ right front wheel, damaging the steering of the #55 machine. Horn continued apparently unscathed in second followed by Zurlinden, Shippert and a cautious Kirby as they completed their first lap.

Confident his car was not seriously damaged, Shippert re-passed Zurlinden on the next lap and Horn two laps later as set his sights on Lastochkin in the distance.

Kirby also got past Zurlinden and by the quarter distance the order was Lastochkin, Shippert, Horn, Kirby and Zurlinden.

Zurlinden passed Kirby on lap 6 and by mid-race the running order was Lastochkin drawing away followed by the train of Shippert, Horn, Zurlinden and Kirby, all running virtually nose to tail until Horn had a spin on lap 9 dropping him to the rear of the train.

As the race approached the conclusion, Shipperts’ handling was going away and to make matters worse with three laps to go lost fourth gear dropping to fourth at the finish and later admitting that he “burned the tires of the car trying to keep up”.

Nikita Lastochkin continued unchallenged to the checkered flag 42.435 seconds ahead of the second placed Alex Kirby steadily moved up into that position in the latter stages of the race, again setting the fastest lap of the race. The bonus points earned for pole and fast lap can make the difference in the championship at year’s end.

Dave Zurlinden worked himself up to finish in third place taking the final step on the podium and claiming the Expert Class win.
Following Shippert in fourth was Chuck Horn in fifth place, his Swift showing signs of his race battles.

Even though the field was small, the drivers were extremely competitive and looks to make for a championship chase that will go down to the final race at Laguna Seca in October.

F1600 Qualifying: 1. Nikita Lastochkin (Mygale/Honda), 3m29.780s; 2. Ethan Shippert (Piper/ Honda), 3m31.250s; 3. Alex Kirby (Piper/Honda), 3m33.635s; 4. Chuck Horn (Swift DB6/Honda), 3m34.692s; 5. Dave Zurlinden (Piper/Honda), 3m35.496s.

F1600 Round 2 (16 laps): 1. Lastochkin; 2. Kirby, +42.435s; 3. Zurlinden, +44.462s; 4. Shippert, +46.462s; 5. Horn, +1m10.806s.

Fastest race lap: Lastochkin, 1m44.542s.
Expert class winner (over 35): Zurlinden.
The series can be followed at facebook.com/pacificformulafracing and twitter.com/PacificF2000.

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