Alberico Scores Flag-to-Flag Victory in Analytic Systems GP of Toronto
 July 13, 2013| 
  • Series News
Toronto, Ont., Canada – Neil Alberico vaulted from eighth place to third in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda standings following a finely judged victory in this morning’s sixth round, the Analytic Systems USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto. Alberico, 20, from Los Gatos, Calif., controlled the race from the pole and refused to be flustered by no fewer than three full-course cautions which ensured a frantic one-lap dash to the finish line.

Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) held on for his third win of a topsy-turvy season which has also included three non-finishes in the six races held to date.

Sixteen-year-old Frenchman Florian Latorre (JAY Motorsports) produced a sensational performance by moving past championship leader Scott Hargrove at the start and keeping the pressure on Alberico for the entire 25-lap race. Latorre, too, had his work cut out in holding off the attentions of another 16-year-old, Henrik Furuseth, from Oslo, Norway, until the final restart when Furuseth was overtaken by an opportunistic Danilo Estrela (Belardi Auto Racing). Estrela, from Goiania, Brazil, had qualified a disappointing 11th but gradually worked his way forward before securing his third podium finish of the season with a bold maneuver at Turn Eight on the final lap.

Estrela now holds second place in the point standings behind Hargrove, who leads by 148-106, with Alberico now up to third place on 99.

Hargrove’s hopes of extending his lead took a blow when he made contact with Latorre at the first restart, on Lap 8, causing damage to his car’s front suspension. Fortunately, another full-course caution followed almost immediately, whereupon his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team called him into the pits and changed a damaged steering arm in near record time. Hargrove resumed in 25th position among the 29-car field and worked his way through to 14th by the finish.

Furuseth was relatively content with fourth, the best finish thus far for himself and PRL Motorsports, while yet another 16-year-old, RC Enerson, from New Port Richey, Fla., took fifth for ZSports Midwest with Team E Racing.

Englishman Michael Epps made an impressive return to the series, finishing sixth with Belardi Auto Racing after missing the most recent race at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Toronto driver Dalton Kellett upheld local honor with a run to seventh for Pabst Racing Services, while Brazilian Felipe Donato (ArmsUp Motorsports) and Stefan Rzadzinski (JDC MotorSports), from Edmonton, Alb., confirmed the current parity that exists in USF2000 by ensuring that eight different teams were represented among the top nine finishers.

Scott Rettich (Alliance Autosport), from Camden, Ohio, maintained his unbeaten sequence of victories in the USF2000 National Class Presented by SCCA Enterprises.

Contingency awards included the Tilton Hard Charger Award to Jesse Lazare of Pabst Racing Services for a gain of 11 positions from 26th to 15th, the Staubli Award to Latorre, PFC Awards to the winning team owners in each class – Cape Motorsports and Alliance Autosport and the National Class Masters Award Presented by Elite/Comprent to Rettich.

Race 2 of this weekend’s double-header Analytic Systems USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto will start tomorrow morning at 11:35 am, immediately after the IZOD IndyCar Series’ warmup.

Neil Alberico, #2 Racelite Protection/Bondurant School/ Trophy (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) – First: “For sure momentum played a big factor after winning the last race at Indy and then going into a break. You just have to keep on your toes and focus on what you have to do to make things happen. The championship is not over until it’s over. We had an unfortunate start to the season, but that’s racing. The Cape Motorsports guys did a great job this weekend. There is not a lot of track time here and you have to maximize every lap of every session. I couldn’t be happier about today’s race and starting tomorrow on pole. I am going to try to score maximum points and keep moving forward.”

Florian Latorre, #91 13th Avenue/MASM-Cogny/Accent du Sud Ouest (JAY Motorsports) – Second:  “The team gave me a great car. They worked very hard between [the last race] at Indianapolis and here so when we arrived and put the car on the track she was good from the start. This is a great result for myself and for the team.”

Danilo Estrela, #11 Belardi Auto Racing – Third: “This result feels really good. We started 11th unfortunately and I lost two or three spots at the start but then I was gaining and gaining. The restart for me was okay and I continued to gain spots. I was fortunate enough to pass Henrik [Furuseth] for the podium spot and he was nice enough not to do anything crazy. It was good. I think we had the second fastest race lap and that means we will start P2 tomorrow. I am a short guy but I like big trophies so I will be going for the win.”

Scott Rettich, #71 PDI Communication Systems/Springboro Car Wash (Alliance Autosport) – First National Class: “The track was very good. There was definitely more grip than yesterday. I knew I had a very good car, a very good set up. It was just up to me to stay out of trouble and there was certainly a lot of trouble out there to be had. I put my head down and drove smart and pretty conservative. My teammate, Ryan Verra, drove very well. I left an opening and he did get around me once but I was able to get back around him on the same lap to get back into the lead.”
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