MONTEREY, Calif. – Brazilian Victor Franzoni continued his dominant weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, claiming victory in the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda race of the Soul Red Finale weekend.
Franzoni, who has led every practice session and started from the pole position, led every lap to claim his second win of the season and the fourth win of his career in the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Monterey Race 1. The victory locked up third in the championship for the Brazilian driver for Arms Up Motorsports.
“We found a really good setup here,” Franzoni said. “This track was terrible for me last year (in Pro Mazda), so I came here thinking I was going to try everything I could to score (the maximum) 66 points. We’ve been really good in practice and we’ve found a little bit, and more and now the cars really good.
If we finish this weekend how we started this weekend, it will be a good send off for this car (which is being replaced by new the Tatuus USF-17 in 2017). I just spent the race trying to be my qualifying time. I don’t have any more chances for the championship, but I’m really happy.”
Canada’s Parker Thompson kept his title hopes alive by finishing second, including a pass of his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Anthony Martin midway through the 21-lap race. Martin, who held off countrymen Luke Gabin and Jordan Lloyd in the closing stages, finished third.
He holds an 18-point lead over Thompson and will claim the championship by finishing sixth or better in Sunday’s race. The champion of the series will earn a fully-funded ride in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires.
“I’m going to go out there and fight as hard as I can,” Martin said. “Of course, the championship is on the line. But it’s a race and you want to win it. I’ll go into the race looking to win, but I’ll do my best to finish and get the points that I need. I just have to do what I have to do, and hopefully I can do that, tomorrow.”
* National Class