- 10 June 2015
ALTON, Va. – A dramatic weekend of racing for the F1600 Formula F Championship Series at Virginia International Raceway once again showed the potency of Team Pelfrey as three of its four talented young drivers recorded at least one podium finish.
Ben Auriemma, 17, from Manhasset, N.Y., finished second in each of the first two races, while Rob Megennis, 15, from New York, N.Y., claimed the runner-up position in this afternoon’s third race. Andrew Hobbs, 20, from Milwaukee, Wis., qualified fastest of all for Race One on Saturday but had to be content with a third, a fourth and a fifth. The team’s newest recruit, 14-year-old Jordan Cane, from Bognor Regis, England, also displayed good speed, although involvement in a variety of incidents restricted him to a pair of eighth-place results.
Hobbs qualified fastest for the second race weekend in succession and duly led the field up to the start on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, he was quickly reminded about the rough-and-tumble of Formula F, being bundled all the way down to 11th at the end of the first 3.27-mile lap! The action was hot and heavy throughout – and didn’t even end at the checkered flag. Confusion reigned as the race was concluded two laps earlier than scheduled under caution, with several drivers being investigated for overtaking while yellow flags were being waved. Auriemma and Hobbs initially were shown as second and third, then were announced as being credited with first and second before the stewards reconvened once more and the final result showed Auriemma in second and Hobbs in fourth.
Megennis was part of the lead pack until his engine displayed signs of overheating. The youngster pulled off the track but later rejoined to finish 15th, one lap off the pace. Cane, meanwhile, was already on the sidelines after being involved in an accident on the second lap.
Race Two on Sunday morning began rather better for Hobbs as he quickly took the lead from second on the grid. In the closing stages, the lead battle had been whittled down to just five contenders, including no fewer than three of Team Pelfrey’s distinctive yellow-and-black Mygale-Hondas. Hobbs and Auriemma both enjoyed turns out in front but eventually had to settle for second (Auriemma) and third (Hobbs), with Megennis right behind them in fourth. The top three cars were separated by just 0.142 second at the checkered flag, with Auriemma losing out by a scant 0.067s!
Cane also put on a charge. After starting 16th, the young Briton was up inside the top 10 after only two laps, and enjoyed an entertaining battle with three other drivers before finishing eighth.
Race Three was similarly fraught. Hobbs, Auriemma and Megennis once again were embroiled in the lead battle until various incidents split up the pack. Megennis seemed to have timed his charge to perfection as he led onto the final straightaway, only to be edged at the finish line by just 0.056s. Hobbs salvaged an unrepresentative fifth after being forced off the road, while Auriemma fared even worse as he was sidelined with less than three laps remaining. He at least had the small consolation of two championship points for recording the fastest lap of the race. Cane recovered to eighth after being involved in the same fracas.
With nine races now complete, Hobbs lies fourth in the championship table. In fact, from the weekend as a whole, only series leader Scott Andrews, who won two of the three races, earned more points than Hobbs’ tally of 105. The contenders will reconvene for three more races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on July 4/5.
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID:
Robert Megennis (#80 Team Pelfrey/Relayrides Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started sixth, finished 15th; Race Two, started third, finished fourth; Race Three, started fifth, finished second: “It was another wild F1600 race weekend! At one point or another during the races I occupied every position from first to ninth! In the final lap of Race Three I was leading coming out of the last corner, but the car behind me drafted by. I finished second by just a couple inches. It was one of the most fun races ever! We are quick and I'm ready to go one place higher at Mid Ohio.”
Jordan Cane (#81 Team Pelfrey/#2Bn1 Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started eighth, finished 19th/DNF; Race Two, started 16th, finished eighth; Race Three, started 11th, finished eighth: “Overall it was a great weekend, but a little disappointed with the results due to being put off the track several times. I feel I certainly showed my potential and had the pace and race craft to run at the front. Sometimes in racing there are weekends like this but I've learned a lot and can take away a lot of good points.”
Ben Auriemma (#82 Team Pelfrey/ACG Motorsports Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started fifth, finished second; Race Two, started sixth, finished second; Race Three, started seventh, finished 15th/DNF: “I'm pretty disappointed with what occurred in the last race, but overall it was a very positive weekend. I was taken out twice by the same driver in Race Three. The hardest part is knowing how much momentum I had after the first incident, where I was pushed wide onto the grass; I was able to pass a handful of cars and catch the lead pack from quite a long way back. As soon as I caught the lead pack, the same driver hit my right-rear wheel and ended my race. With that said, I do recognize all the positives of the weekend. I drove exactly how I needed to drive in all three races and was rewarded with two second-place finishes. I just need to continue performing how I did this weekend, and I'm confident my efforts will be rewarded with a win in the near future.”
Andrew Hobbs (#83 Team Pelfrey/Pulse/Master Tech/David Hobbs Honda Mygale-Honda) - Race One, started first, finished fourth; Race Two, started second, finished third; Race Three, started fourth, finished fifth: “"It was another great weekend that ended on a down note. After finishing fourth and third in the first two very close races I knew I absolutely had the car to win. After controlling most of Race Three another incident relegated us to fifth. It was great to get our first podium and once again show that the pace is there. I'm incredibly excited for the next race and can't thank Team Pelfrey and all my sponsors enough for their unwavering support.”