Home News Michael d’Orlando takes pole in twice red-flagged USFP2000 qualifying

Michael d’Orlando takes pole in twice red-flagged USFP2000 qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Turn 3 Motorsport’s Michael d’Orlando claimed pole position for the second USF Pro 2000 race at Sebring in a twice-red flagged qualifying session.

TJ Speed’s Francesco Pizzi set the pace at first, although d’Orlando headed out on track later than his rivals and went fastest by 0.607 seconds when he posted his first laptime.

Due to going on track later, it meant d’Orlando did not get the chance to set a second lap before red flags came out due to Yuven Sundaramoorthy spinning off at turn seven.

Before the flags waved, the pace had dropped rapidly with Jace Denmark, Josel Granfors, Salvador de Alba and then Lirim Zendeli going to the top. The last-named’s 1m59.818s lap put him 0.122s ahead of de Alba.

When qualifying eventually restarted, it took two laps for everyone to get back up to pace. Pizzi returned to first place with a 1m59.248s, with Denmark 0.009s slower in second place, before d’Orlando crossed the line and went clear by 0.579s by setting a 1m58.658s.

Pizzi struck back by posting a 1m58.594s, as Myles Rowe also set a sub-1m59s time to move up to third place. D’Orlando’s tactic of going late worked again, as when he completed his next lap he was fastest once more and by 0.056s.

Rowe improved again but stayed in third, while Zendeli and Denmark set 1m58s laps to go fourth and fifth. With a few minutes left on the clock the session was red flagged again, and the chequered flag was then shown, after Nicholas Monteiro came to a stop on the straight betweens turn six and seven.

That meant pole went the way of reigning USF2000 champion d’Orlando, who again was not able to get a lap in while his rivals did before the red flags waved, with Pizzi and Rowe less than a tenth off pole in second and third.

De Alba secured sixth place with a late improvement, ahead of Reece Ushijima, Kiko Porto, Jordan Missig and Joel Granfors. Less than a second covered the top 13.

Qualifying results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Michael d’Orlando Turn 3 Motorsport 1m58.538s 5
2 Francesco Pizzi TJ Speed 1m58.594s +0.056s 7
3 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing 1m58.616s +0.078s 7
4 Lirim Zendeli TJ Speed 1m58.819s +0.281s 7
5 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m58.851s +0.313s 7
6 Salvador de Alba Exclusive Autosport 1m58.869s +0.331s 6
7 Reece Ushijima JHDD 1m58.994s +0.456s 5
8 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1m59.009s +0.471s 6
9 Jordan Missig Pabst Racing 1m59.051s +0.513s 7
10 Joel Granfors Exclusive Autosport 1m59.096s +0.558s 7
11 Jonathan Browne Turn 3 Motorsport 1m59.152s +0.614s 5
12 Jackson Lee Turn 3 Motorsport 1m59.304s +0.766s 5
13 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1m59.495s +0.957s 7
14 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing 1m59.794s +1.256s 6
15 Ricardo Escotto JHDD 2m00.112s +1.574s 7
16 Christian Weir TJ Speed 2m00.155s +1.617s 7
17 Lindsay Brewer Exclusive Autosport 2m00.881s +2.343s 6
18 Nicholas Monteiro NeoTech Motorsport 2m01.190s +2.652s 5
19 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Exclusive Autosport 2m01.957s +3.419s 1