Home News D’Orlando pips Johnson to Portland pole in USF Pro 2000

D’Orlando pips Johnson to Portland pole in USF Pro 2000

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Turn 3 Motorsport’s Michael d’Orlando pipped Velocity Racing Development’s Nikita Johnson to pole in USF Pro 2000 qualifying at Portland.

Everyone had set one laptime at the start of the session before red flags waved as Pabst Racing’s Jordan Missing lost control going into turn 10 then spun several times on the grass before going rear-first into the tyre barriers.

Although his car had to be retrieved from there, he was then able to drive it back to the pits. However he did not rejoin the session when it restarted with just under 17 minutes left on the clock.

DEForce Racing’s Kiko Porto had laid down a 1m10.6602s benchmark prior to the stoppage, but he fell far down the order when the first improvements came in following the restart.

Pabst’s Jace Denmark went to the top briefly with a 1m10.3843s, but was shuffled down to fourth behind d’Orlando, his team-mate Jonathan Browne and TJ Speed’s Francesco Pizzi.

D’Orlando improved again to keep himself on top, a 1m09.1009s putting him half a second clear of Browne until Porto cut the gap to 0.1015 seconds and his team-mate Bijoy Garg got into third with a 1m09.4591s.

The next change in the top four was with 11-and-a-half minutes to go, as Garg assumed top spot with a 1m09.0653s and Johnson set a 1m09.3488s to get into fourth.

He was shuffled down to fifth by two improvements from Rowe, who could not quite threaten the top three who were covered by just 0.0301s.

Johnson made it into second place with five-and-a-half minutes left on the clock by lapping within 0.0253s of Garg’s pace, then on the next laps the order changed as the top four impoved.

D’Orlndo set a 1m08.7101s to go top, Johnson was just 0.0233s slower, Garg was 0.1870s off the new benchmark and Rowe improved to sit 0.2753s behind in fourth.

Porto briefly snatched fourth from Rowe before he responded with an improvement of just 0.0352s, but then with a minute remaining Porto found even more pace and got into third with a 1m08.8931s.

D’Orlando improved then pitted, which was a brave decision as Rowe set a personal best with 20s to go, but remained 0.2915s off the top, and after the chequered flag Johnson – who is also racing in USF2000 this weekend – set a 1m08.726s to get within 0.0716s of pole.

An impressive seventh in his maiden USFP2000 qualifying session was Turn 3’s Danny Dyszelski, who was only 0.4149s slower than d’Orlando.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Michael d’Orlando Turn 3 Motorsport 1m08.6544s 14
2 Nikita Johnson Velocity Racing Development 1m08.7260s +0.0716s 14
3 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1m08.8931s +0.2387s 14
4 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing 1m08.8971s +0.2427s 14
5 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing 1m08.9459s +0.2915s 16
6 Lirim Zendeli TJ Speed 1m08.9965s +0.3421s 13
7 Danny Dyszelski Turn 3 Motorsport 1m09.0693s +0.4149s 15
8 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m09.1003s +0.4459s 15
9 Jonathan Browne Turn 3 Motorsport 1m09.1077s +0.4533s 15
10 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1m09.2644s +0.6100s 15
11 Salvador de Alba Exclusive Autosport 1m09.3014s +0.6470s 10
12 Louka St.-Jean Turn 3 Motorsport 1m09.3040s +0.6496s 14
13 Ricardo Escotto JHDD 1m09.3124s +0.6580s 15
14 Francesco Pizzi TJ Speed 1m09.4555s +0.8011s 15
15 Lindsay Brewer Exclusive Autosport 1m09.5267s +0.8723s 14
16 Frankie Mossmann JHDD 1m09.6847s +1.0303s 15
17 Avery Towns Exclusive Autosport 1m09.9834s +1.3290s 14
18 Nicholas Monteiro NeoTech Motorsport 1m09.9856s +1.3312s 15
19 Jordan Missig Pabst Racing no time 1