MRTI: Pigot, Enerson dominate Barber weekend

Leave a comment

Beyond the Verizon IndyCar Series, all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy were in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires recaps are linked here (Zach Veach won Race 1 with Gabby Chaves winning Race 2); meanwhile a quick wrap of the pair of Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda races:


It must be something about even-numbered years that brings out the best in Juncos Racing’s Spencer Pigot. Pigot swept the two Pro Mazda races at Barber, as he did at St. Petersburg in the season opener. He won eight USF2000 races in 2012 and he’s now four-for-four to kick off the Pro Mazda season, as he seeks to track down his longtime sparring partner Matthew Brabham’s mark of wins from 2013 (13 of 16 races).

Sunday’s Race 2 for Pigot required a move on Scott Hargrove, who ultimately finished second.

“I knew going in that as long as I had one wheel alongside Scott, I was going to go for it,” Pigot said post-race. “Luckily, I had a little more than that – I was alongside or even a little bit ahead. It was a bit closer than I would have liked but that’s what you get for starting second. You never know when you go side by side what’s going to happen on the exit. We were as close as we could get without touching; I’m actually surprised there isn’t some rubber on the side of the car. I went a little defensive into Turn 5 – I was trying to hold him up and then get a run but he didn’t slow down, he pulled alongside me. If it had been a left turn instead of a right turn at the end of the backstretch, he would have been by. It was some really good, close racing.”

Pigot now leads the standings by 41 points over both Hargrove and Kyle Kaiser, 130-89, heading into the month of May at Indianapolis.

RESULTS, Races 1 and 2


Winterfest champion RC Enerson took both Saturday race wins in USF2000, the latter of two after holding back the challenge from Armsup Motorsports rookie Aaron Telitz.

“It was a great day. We won Race 1 and coming into Race 2, we had a good lead then a full course yellow came out. I was able to make a good restart and start pulling out a gap. I saw them fighting behind me and knew it was my chance to get away. I saw Aaron [Telitz] coming at the end and I was just trying to hold on.”

RESULTS, Races 1 and 2

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.