- 27 April 2017
Alton, VA - After 30 minutes of green flag track time, it was Zach Holden with the fastest free practice lap for F1600 Championship Series competitors in the first session of the 21-race, seven-weekend 2017 season held on Thursday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway.
Holden's best lap of 2:00.813 set the mark ahead of both of his K-Hill Motorsports teammates, Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Lance Fenderson, who like Holden, are making their pro Series debuts this weekend in the USAC-sanctioned F1600 Championship organized by Formula Race Promotions.
Holden started on a local level, karting in 2007 and amassing multiple Championships around the way; and most recently competing in Rotax karts.
The drivers are benefiting from recent running at VIR as the team took part in a regional event at the track earlier in the month, with Holden taking a victory.
With three K-Hill cars in the top three spots after the first practice session, the team is putting together a solid title defense with 2016 Champion, Neil Verhagen, off to RedBull's Formula Renault program in Europe.
F1600 competitors had to wait close to an extra three hours after a six-month-long off-season, as VIR delayed track activities to let water levels recede around the course, following rain earlier in the week.
Overall lap times were a bit off from 2016, as the track remained green and is expected to pick up speed as the four-day weekend continues. F1600 is joined by F2000 and Atlantic in addition to all classes of the Pirelli World Challenge for a major spectator weekend.
Ryan Bjerke, driving a Raceworks Spectrum/Honda, was fourth fastest while Dexter Czuba and Scott Rubenzer, also in a pair of Spectrum/Hondas, followed in fifth and sixth, respectively.
David Osborne was seventh fastest after signing with Team Pelfrey earlier in the week to become the third Pelfrey F1600 entry in the No 82 Mygale/Honda. Osborne started his karting career at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati in 2007. He's now turning to F1600 while also pursuing a degree in Bio-medical engineering at the Miami University.
Teammate Matthew Cowley followed Osborne on the time sheets with the eighth fastest lap while Masters Class drivers Mike Scanlan and Joel Haas completed the top ten.