Fontana, CA – The second round of the Pacific Formula F1600/F2000 Championship was held Sunday at the 2.880 mile infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and was won by Andrew Evans in only his second outing in an F2000 car. The series is running this season with the SCCA U.S. Majors Tours events.
Sunday’s event has again split the F2000 from the F1600 cars and the F2000 group will run as FC along with FA, FB, FM, P1 and P2 in the run group established by Cal Club.
After a brief 10 minute warm-up in the morning to allow teams and drivers to make any final adjustments, the field took to the track for race two at 12:50pm.
Grid positions were based on the combination of the fastest lap in each qualifying session and race lap on Saturday afternoon which put Round 1 victor Les Phillips, #2, Swiss Implants, Porterfield Brakes Van Diemen and Bob Negron, #8, Terri Negron Web Design, Van Diemen on the front row ahead of Tom Hope, #18 DFR Van Diemen and Andrew Evans, #27, PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen, followed by James Hakewill, #88 Van Diemen; Robert Armington, #111 Premium Power Systems Inc., Metro Cab SF, MCI Van Diemen; Peter Thomas, #7 Refrigeration Control Co., PR1 Van Diemen; Harindra de Silva, #6 DFR Van Diemen; Peter West, #99 Kodenko Jeans, Frank Monise Motors, Zombo.com, DFR Van Diemen; Jim Stewart, #38 True Ventures Van Diemen and Bill Kincaid, #46, La Curva Van Diemen.
The first start was aborted and as the field came around on the second pace lap, the green flag again did not wave and the pace car was sent back out to gather up the field. Towards the end of the third pace lap, as the field was coming to the green, Bob Negron’s race came to an end when his car coasted to a stop before turn 12 with a dead battery, the three slow laps not allowing the alternator to charge it sufficiently.
When the green flag finally waved it was Les Phillips who again surged into the lead followed by Negron, Hope, Evans and Hakewill all in close pursuit. There was a slight gap then came Thomas, DeSilva, West, Stewart and Kincaid. Phillips, the track FC lap record holder, is always fast here and today was no exception although Evans did manage to get into the lead on lap five, the next time around Phillips was back in front.
Evans continued his chase of Phillips and was the beneficiary of Phillips’ spin on lap thirteen that dropped him down to sixth place behind the five cars battling for second place. From this point on Evans took command of the race and led the remaining laps to the finish. It was a first win for Evans since his switch from the F1600 group.
Behind Evans there was a titanic battle going on for second place between Hope, West, Armington and Thomas that had been raging for most of the race. Hope, who hails from Downey, seemed to have the measure of his competitors and managed a well judged second place finish which gave him the Expert Class win.
Malibu resident Peter West clawed his way up from ninth on the grid, driving flawlessly as he passed one driver after another, all the way to the third step of the podium to claim third place and the Master Class victory. West paid tribute to his DFR team for all their efforts in getting his car repaired from his Saturday morning crash and allowing him this opportunity.
Peter Thomas, who had dropped back as far as eighth place, also performed well, steadily moving up through the field and took a well earned fourth place. Peter has returned to the series full time this season after a couple of seasons off and showed little rust in his return.
Fifth place went to Robert Armington, from El Dorado Hills, California, a newcomer to the series having spent several years driving in lower formulae, has shown great promise and competitiveness and is a welcome addition. Armington was the last driver on the lead lap. Sixth place went to Les Phillips, who looked like a dominant force this weekend with his victory Saturday and leading most laps today and setting the fastest lap. Phillips effort was undone on the final lap when, after having caught up to the battle for third, while attempting to lap a slower car got pinched off, ran wide and clouted a cone damaging his right front suspension and ending his charge on the spot.
Palo Alto’s Bill Kincaid finished in a fine seventh place after a three year absence, missing Friday practice, qualifying and running on Cooper tires.
Harindra DeSilva brought his DFR Van Diemen home in eighth place and was followed by Jim Stewart finishing ninth.
Tenth place and the final car running went to James Hakewill, who ran as high as third at one point in the race, had the misfortune of losing fourth gear dropping him back down through the field as he limped his Van Diemen home.
The series moves on to Buttonwillow raceway Park, April 26 & 27, for the next round in the championship and will once again be running with Cal Club and the U.S. Majors Tour.