Home News Top seven split by just 0.0991s at Mid-Ohio in USF Pro 2000 qualifying

Top seven split by just 0.0991s at Mid-Ohio in USF Pro 2000 qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Michael d’Orlando and Myles Rowe will start this weekend’s USF Pro 2000 races at Mid-Ohio from pole position.

Track action for the series began on Thursday with two test sessions, with d’Orlando leading the way by 0.2688 seconds over points leader Rowe in session one. Salvador de Alba lowered the pace in session two, pipping Lirim Zendeli to top spot by just 0.0123s and with Reece Ushijima 0.0369s behind in third.

De Alba was fastest again in Friday morning practice, which was twice red-flagged, setting a 1m18.1531s to lead Zendeli by 0.2083s.

Qualifying ran to the format of a 30-minute session which would end after 20 minutes of green flag action.

Bijoy Garg started off Q1 on top, then Zendeli was on top before Rowe set the first representative laptime in the 1m18s. He was only briefly on top as d’Orlando set a 1m18.223s. Not long after the session was stopped due to Yuven Sundaramoorthy going off.

When it restarted, Bijoy Garg moved into second and then de Alba knocked 0.004s off d’Olando’s benchmark.

D’Orlando responded by setting a 1m17.628s, then improved again on his next lap to put himself 0.2026s ahead of Porto.

A minute later Porto improved to slash the gap down to 0.0569s, with Joel Granfors slotting into third and just 0.0711s off pole.

There were few able to improve in the final three minutes, although de Alba got up to fourth, and d’Orlando claimed his third pole of the season.

Q2 took place later in the day, and Zendeli was the pacesetter through the first five minutes. D’Orlando lowered the pace to 1m18.9426s, then a few minutes later de Alba set a 1m18.4994s.

The response from d’Orlando was a 1m18.3551s, but again he soon had to find more pace as he was shuffled down to fourth after 10 minutes. Porto sat on top at that point with a 1m18.191s, as drivers headed to the pits for fresh tyres after using old ones in the session’s first half.

Jace Denmark was first to unlock more pace following that, but was only on top for 40 seconds before d’Orlando set a 1m17.5981s to go fastest by almost half a second.

De Alba reduced that advantage to 0.1771s with just over four minutes to go, but d’Orlando then improved to 1m17.5200s. Porto shuffled de Alba down to third, but de Alba then improved and sat 0.0829s off d’Orlando going into the final three minutes.

Rowe jumped from fifth to first on his next lap, setting a 1m17.4863s, as Porto moved back ahead of de Alba and just 0.0723s off Rowe. A minute later de Alba returned to third, 0.0613s short of pole, and with just over a minute left on the clock d’Orlando came an agonising 0.0109s short of matching Rowe.

Porto was 0.0081s slower than him in third, and Garg went fourth fastest. Denmark, down in seventh, improved at the finish and was 0.0991s off poleman Rowe meaning the top seven were split by less than 0.1s.

Qualifying round-up
Race 1 grid
1 Michael d’Orlando Turn 3 Motorsport 1m17.4897s
2 Kiko Porto DEForce Racing +0.0569s
3 Joel Granfors Exclusive Autosport +0.0711s
4 Salvador de Alba Exclusive Autosport +0.1023s
5 Bijoy Garg DEForce Racing +0.1478s
6 Reece Ushijima JHDD +0.3086s
7 Myles Rowe Pabst Racing +0.3475s
8 Jace Denmark Pabst Racing +3.732s
9 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports +0.4699s
10 Lirim Zendeli TJ Speed +0.4885s

Race 2 grid
1 Rowe 1m17.4863s
2 d’Orlando +0.0109s
3 Porto +0.0190s
4 Garg +0.0571s
5 de Alba +0.0612s
6 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Exclusive Autosport +0.0693s
7 Denmark +0.0991s
8 Louka St.-Jean Turn 3 Motorsport +0.3108s
9 Granfors +0.4102s
10 Miller +0.4652s