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Aug 12, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Mallinen Second in Formula F Festival Fight
Posted by: newsla on Aug 12, 2014 - 06:21 AM
Sports Cars
Mallinen Second in Formula F Festival Fight


Coming off an SCCA Majors win at Road America, 16-year-old Max Mällinen finished second in the high-profile 45th Anniversary Formula F race at Barber Motorsports Park this past weekend. While it wasn’t a repeat of his first victory, the Liberty Lake, Washington native nearly won against a full-time IndyCar driver in Josef Newgarden.

 

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Making the event an even bigger deal was the arrival of Newgarden to fight against the SCCA regulars, including reigning three-time National Formula F Champion Tim Kautz – who would also battle Mällinen for his second place finish on Sunday. While Newgarden has countless laps at Barber in an IndyCar, Kautz had been there in his Championship-winning Piper while Mällinen had never turned a wheel at the picturesque Alabama road course.

Part of the history of open-wheel racing, the Formula F (formerly known as Formula Ford) class celebrated its anniversary over the weekend, with engine partner Honda Performance Development hosting a Saturday night party.

Prior to the green flag dropping on Sunday afternoon, the 16-year-old had just three sessions, a practice, qualifying and short warm-up, and managed to put his No. 1 Swan Motorsports Spectrum/Honda on the outside of the front row.

With the race off to a frantic start, it turned into a three car battle for the lead for the opening 15 laps with Mällinen dueling with Kautz and Newgarden, and the three making it a point to go three wide.

As lapped cars got in the mix during the 21-lap race, Newgarden and Mällinen were able to separate from Kautz as the two enjoyed a brisk battle for the win running times under the existing Formula F track record.

Eventually with traffic, Newgarden was able to put a lapped car between himself and the No. 1, escaping from Mällinen with three laps to go.

“I really enjoyed racing Newgarden and Kautz,” said Mällinen. “It was a race where you could not make a mistake without someone capitalizing on it. Josef and I had several side by side laps and, with Kautz, we even made it three wide on one lap through turns seven and eight. Both drivers were tough, clean, and fast. We all had sections where we had an advantage. I was faster than Josef in the middle section and he had me in the back section.”

As he continues to attempt to qualify for the National Championship SCCA Runoffs at Laguna Seca in October, Mällinen next races at a SCCA Majors event at Grattan in Belding, Michigan, August 23 and 24, with Swan Motorsports then going straight to an end-of-month race at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas.


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