Lexington, Ohio – Florian Latorre took control of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda this morning, following up his second and fourth-place finishes from the past two days by dominating Race Three of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio triple-header. The 17-year-old Frenchman started from the pole and was never seriously challenged en route to his second win of the season aboard Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s #10 Menuserie Latorre/AcSent du Sud-Ouest/Masm COGNY Van Diemen-Mazda. Latorre now holds a 30-point advantage over teammate Jake Eidson, who finished eighth, with just two races remaining.
Latorre has had difficulty this season translating his pole positions into the race lead, but he was flawless this morning. He completed the first lap a full 1.5 seconds clear of Plainville, Conn.’s Peter Portante and stretched his lead on almost every lap to as much as 6.8 seconds before the race was neutralized by a full-course caution after Adrian Starrantino’s fcharge from 20th on the grid to 11th ended in the gravel trap at Turn Eight. The race duly finished under caution.
Portante continued his fine weekend for ArmsUp Motorsports, securing his second podium finish of the weekend to vault from ninth in the points table to sixth.
RC Enerson (Team E Racing) kept his championship aspirations alive by finishing third. After starting second and losing a couple of positions at the first corner, the Floridian youngster worked his way past Canadian Daniel Burkett (Belardi Auto Racing) but was never able to find a chink in Portante’s armor.
Brazilian Victor Franzoni drove another solid race to fifth for Afterburner Autosport, while 15-year-old Austin Cindric (Pabst Racing), who was born in nearby Columbus, Ohio, took advantage of small mistakes by both Eidson and Aaron Telitz (ArmsUp Motorsports) to snare his second sixth-place finish in as many days.
Contingency award winners included Germany’s Keyvan Andres Soori (Cape Motorsports), 14, who advanced seven positions, from 21st on the grid to 14th, to earn the Tilton Hard Charger Award, and Burkett who took home the Staubli Award.
Starrantino gained some consolation by winning the RePlay XD Move of the Race for his sequence of moves on the first lap. The PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger – the official battery of the ladder series – went to the winning team of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, which today clinched the Team Championship with an insurmountable 120-point margin over ArmsUp Motorsports.
The final two rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda will take place once again in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series at Sonoma Raceway, Calif., on August 23/24.
Florian Latorre, #10 Menuserie LATORRE/AcSent due Sud-Ouest/Masm COGNY ) Cape Motorsports w/ Wayne Taylor Racing: “The car was very, very fast and good throughout the race. The start was hard because RC [Enerson] gave me a lot of pressure. When I saw the caution come with three laps to go, I knew I had to stay focused and take a good restart to make a gap, but in the end the restart didn’t happen.