Pacific F2000: De Silva takes Weekend Sweep and Points Lead
 February 23, 2016| 
  • Feeder Series

Rosamond, Calif. – Timothy De Silva took a clean sweep of the weekend at Willow Springs International Raceway, winning both races from the pole and setting fastest laps for good measure to take the lead in the Pacific Formula F2000/F1600 Championship presented by Primus Racing Parts. The double-header race weekend was run with Cal Club as part of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour.

Qualifying for Round 3 on Saturday, February 20, was held in sunny and cool conditions with temperatures in the mid-40s as the series drivers were the first group to take to the track promptly at 8:00am. The 25-minute session gave the drivers ample time to get tires up to temperature despite the morning chill, with De Silva (#3 TLP Racing/DFR Van Diemen) serving notice of his intentions by setting a sub-track record time of 1m18.054s. De Silva’s time was over half a second faster than defending series champion Tom Hope (#10 Primus Racing Parts/Dart/H+M Racing Van Diemen RF03).

Teenager Scott Huffaker (#09 Van Diemen RF02) lined up on the inside of row two alongside James Hakewill (#88 Van Diemen RF03), followed by Connor Funk (#97 DFR Van Diemen RF03), Robert Armington (#11 Firestone 805/Audioengine/Tomasi Motorsports Van Diemen RF00), Peter West (#99 Racing Optics/Kodenko Jeans/Malibu Health/Frank Monise Motors/DFR Van Diemen RF05), Scott Vreeland (#51 Redhorse Constructors/Porter Racing/BV Training Van Diemen RF01), Harin de Silva (#96 DFR Van Diemen RF06), a returning Nick Kodenko (#31 Kodenko Automotive/Associated Tire/Kodenko Jeans Van Diemen RF05), Alex Kirby (#81 LA Prep Inc./Fast Forward Components/Piper Race Cars Piper DL7) and Ira Fierberg, who failed to complete a lap in the #27 Sparco/Injury Law/LDF Pro Fitness/The Yard/DFR Van Diemen RF05 due to a broken fourth gear.

The green flag fell one lap late after an aborted start due to a car that was briefly stranded on the first pace lap. De Silva sprinted into the lead as the rest followed in grid order. Hope was delayed slightly by some lapped traffic, while De Silva set a torrid pace, circulating almost as quickly as in qualifying to secure a clear victory and a new lap record.

Hope never gave up his pursuit but had to be content with second. Behind, the battle for the final podium spot raged on between Huffaker, Hakewill and Funk. Hakewill took the position on lap four and maintained third place, while Funk managed to find a way past Huffaker on the final lap to secure fourth.

Fierberg started at the back of the pack but soon worked his way through to claim sixth  His hard-charging performance enabled him the gain the most positions and claim the trophy for the Master Class victory.

Armington made an astounding start, claiming five positions on the first lap from 11th to sixth, only to drop back to 12th after a spin on lap six. He then worked his way back up through the field to finally finish eighth.

Sunday morning’s brief 15-minute qualifying session began at 8:00am. Under the SCCA Majors format, starting spots were determined by the fastest lap in either Saturday’s qualifying race or Sunday’s qualifying. Some drivers chose to use the session as a warm-up and fitted alternate sets of tires (which precluded any improvement in time since the series stipulates one set of tires per race weekend), while others down the order sought to improve their times using their designated weekend set of tires. Still others, confident of their time from Saturday, chose not to participate at all.

In the chilly 44-degree air, only Hakewill and Kirby managed to improve their previous times, while Fierberg was run into by a competitor in another class, one of the hazards of running in a multi-class field, damaging the right rear suspension and putting pressure on the Dave Freitas Racing team to effect repairs before the 10:30am scheduled start time.

Hope got the jump at the green flag and took the lead into Turn One ahead of T. De Silva, Hakewill, Huffaker, Armington, Vreeland, Fierberg, Funk, H. de Silva, Kirby, Kodenko and West.

On lap two, T. De Silva reclaimed the lead from Hope, followed by Hakewill, Huffaker, Armington and Funk who had found a way past Fierberg.

Lap three saw Hakewill pass Hope for second place. Farther back, contact between West and Kirby saw West out on the spot and Kirby continuing just one more lap before also retiring. Meanwhile, several incidents involving cars in other classes caused Race Control to call for a full-course caution – a huge benefit for Vreeland who had become high-centered at the outside edge of the track at Turn Three and was able to continue.

De Silva duly led away at the restart but was now under threat from behind. On lap 10, Hakewill took advantage of some slower traffic to sweep past De Silva for the lead. His advantage was short-lived as De Silva retook the lead on lap 12 and was able to hold it to the end while stretching his advantage with each successive lap. De Silva once again set the fastest lap of the race to ensure a maximum 68-point haul from the weekend, vaulting him into the series lead.

Hakewill’s hold on second place was far from secure as his mirrors were full of Hope’s red Van Diemen. On the final lap, Hope found a way past Hakewill for second. The pair are now second and third respectively in the standings.

A similarly intense battle unfolded for fourth and fifth between Huffaker and Funk, who took fourth on lap 18, only for the rookie to re-pass Funk on the penultimate lap to claim the position. Fierberg finished sixth, netting another Master Class victory. 

Armington claimed seventh place followed by Kodenko, Harin De Silva and Vreeland.

The series now moves on to Buttonwillow Raceway Park April 29/May 1 for rounds five and six.

This season the Pacific Formula F2000 Championship Series is included in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout in 2016. The Mazda Road to Indy is the only driver development program of its type in the world offering a clear, scholarship-funded path to the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.

The Pacific F2000/F1600 series has a rich history and includes among its alumni drivers J.R. Hildebrand, 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, and Dane Cameron, IMSA series Prototype and GTD winning driver, along with Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires contestant Patricio O’Ward and USF2000 contenders Nikita Lastochkin and Yufeng Luo.

Qualifying, Round 3: 1. Timothy de Silva (Van Diemen RF01), 1m18.054s; 2. Tom Hope (Van Diemen RF03), 1m18.679s; 3. Scott Huffaker (Van Diemen RF02), 1m18.931s; 4. James Hakewill (Van Diemen RF03), 1m19.301s; 5. Connor Funk (Van Diemen RF03), 1m19.348s; 6. Robert Armington (Van Diemen RF00), 1m19.831s; 7. Peter West (Van Diemen RF05), 1m20.326s; 8. Scott Vreeland (Van Diemen RF01), 1m20.457s; 9. Harin de Silva (Van Diemen RF06), 1m20.517s; 10. Nick Kodenko (Van Diemen RF-05), 1m20.631s; 11. Alex Kirby (Piper DL7) 1m21.856s; 12. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen RF05), 1m24.791s. All cars run Ford Zetec engines and Pirelli Tires.

Round 3 (18 laps): 1. T. De Silva, 2. Hope, +4.993s; 3. Hakewill, +10.452s; 4. Funk, +1 lap; 5. Huffaker, +1 lap; 6. Fierberg, +1 lap; 7. Kirby, +1 lap; 8. Armington, +1 lap; 9. West, +1 lap; 10. Kodenko, +1 lap; 11. Vreeland, +1 lap; 12. H. De Silva, +9 laps.

Fastest race lap: T. De Silva, 1m18.186s.
Master class winner (over 50): Fierberg.

Qualifying, Round 4: 1. T. de Silva, 1m18.054s; 2. Hope, 1m18.679s; 3. Huffaker, 1m18.931s; 4. Hakewill, 1m19.007s; 5. Funk, 1m19.301s; 6. Armington, 1m19.479s; 7. Vreeland, 1m19.814s; 8. Fierberg, 1m19.978s; 9. West, 1m20.326s; 10. H. de Silva, 1m20.517s; 11. Kodenko, 1m20.631s; 12. Kirby, 1m20.710s.

Round 4 (20 laps): 1. T. De Silva, 2. Hope, +6.069s; 3. Hakewill, +6.235s; 4. Huffaker, +8.230s; 5. Funk, +8.301s; 6. Fierberg, +11.683s; 7. Armington, +17.070s; 8. Kodenko, +38.627s; 9. H. De Silva +1lap; 10. Vreeland, +1 lap; 11. Kirby, +16 laps; 12. West, +17 laps.

Fastest race lap: T. De Silva, 1m18.641s.
Master class winner (over 50): Fierberg.
Points after 4 rounds: 1. T. De Silva, 104; 2. Hope, 97; 3. Hakewill, 93; 4. Huffaker, 76; 5. Funk, 69; 6. Armington, 63; 7. Fierberg, 54; 8. Kirby, 49; 9. H. De Silva, 47; 10. West, 39; 11. Vreeland, 33; 12. Kodenko, 24.

Story and photo courtesy of Jerry Andersen.

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