Home News Porto fastest in USF Pro 2000 as red flags disrupt USF2000 practice

Porto fastest in USF Pro 2000 as red flags disrupt USF2000 practice

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

DEForce Racing’s Kiko Porto kicked things off in the renamed USF Pro 2000 series by topping free practice in St. Petersburg.

Jay Howard Driver Development’s Reece Ushijima set the pace early on, with Porto coming to the fore with a 1m11.5562s lap.

Ushijima was shuffled down to third by TJ Speed’s Lirim Zendeli, who was just 0.02 seconds slower than Porto, then with nine minutes to go of the session the pacesetter lowered the pace down to 1m10.9099s.

Several other drivers also improved, with TJ Speed’s Francesco Pizzi slotting into second place with a 1m11.3953s lap and Turn 3 Motorsport’s Christian Brooks knocking Ushijima down to fifth.

Ushjima rebounded to go third fastest, but had been shuffled down to ninth with three minutes to go as practice was brought to an end three minutes early due to red flags.

Zendeli had reclaimed second before the session stopped, going 0.2892s slower than Porto, and reigning USF2000 champion Michael d’Orlando was third fastest and 0.3s behind.

USF2000 was next on track for its practice session, and had even more drama than USFP2000 as strong winds hit the street circuit.

Zack Ping was fastest at first in a late change of plans. His brother Noah had initially been set to race for Velocity Racing Development, but recently signed a deal to race in GB3 instead and so Zack inherited his USF2000 drive.

DEForce’s Mac Clark was next to the top, two tenths clear of Nikita Johnson and over 0.6s clear of everyone else, while Nicholas d’Orlando caused the first red flag stoppage.

Pabst’s Simon Sikes went fastest as the pace dropped down into the 1m15s, ahead of Sam Corry and Clark before the latter improved to get within 0.1828s of the top.

Johnson then knocked both down a spot by joining Sikes in the 1m15.3s before red flags were waved again as Corry and Trey Burke went side-by-side into turn four and ended up in the barriers.

Corry only had to replace a front wing and was able to get on track again once practice restarted, and he went third fastest as Sikes lapped in the 1m14s and Lochie Hughes rose up to second.

Johnson was shuffled to fifth by Evagoras Papasavvas, then there was then another stoppage in the final three minutes. But the session was able to restart in time for the field to go back out for one flying lap.

There was no change at the top of the timesheet and it meant Sikes ended the session fastest, but Gordon Scully managed to crash and lose his rear wing as the chequered flag waved.

USFP2000 practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing 1m10.9099s 15
2 Lirim Zendeli TJ Speed 1m11.1991s +0.2892s 16
3 Michael d’Orlando Turn 3 Motorsport 1m11.2102s +0.3003s 13
4 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing 1m11.3453s +0.4354s 16
5 Francesco Pizzi TJ Speed 1m11.3953s +0.4854s 16
6 Christian Brooks Turn 3 Motorsport 1m11.3983s +0.4884s 16
7 Jordan Missig Pabst Racing 1m11.4026s +0.4927s 16
8 Joel Granfors Exclusive Autosport 1m11.4596s +0.5497s 16
9 Reece Ushijima JHDD 1m11.4708s +0.6509s 16
10 Christian Weir TJ Speed 1m11.5735s +0.6636s 15
11 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing 1m11.5806s +0.6707s 16
12 Jonathan Browne Turn 3 Motorsport 1m11.6147s +0.7048s 16
13 Salvador De Alba Exclusive Autosport 1m11.7398s +0.8299s 17
14 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Exclusive Autosport 1m11.8917s +0.9818s 16
15 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1m11.9363s +1.0264s 14
16 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing 1m12.1106s +1.2007s 15
17 Nicholas Monteiro NeoTech Motorsport 1m12.5684s +1.6585s 16
18 Ricardo Escotto JHDD 1m12.7118s +1.8019s 16
19 Jackson Lee Turn 3 Motorsport 1m12.9146s +2.0047s 14
20 Lindsay Brewer Exclusive Autosport 1m13.6817s +2.7718s 14