TORONTO – official release — USF2000 photo — Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing enjoyed a banner day on the streets of Toronto Sunday as teenaged teammates Jake Eidson and Florian Latorre each earned their first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda victories during the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto.
Both drivers also scooped a second-place finish which, combined with a cruel slice of misfortune for series leader R.C. Enerson, allowed them to take over at the top of the championship standings after Enerson suffered a drivetrain failure while leading on unlucky lap 13 in race two.
The green flag for race one, postponed from Saturday due to inclement weather, took place at 7:45 this morning on a track still wet from persistent overnight rain. Frenchman Latorre, 17, who had taken pole position for the fourth successive race weekend, took full advantage by taking the early lead, while teammate Eidson, 18, from Littleton, Colo., immediately passed front row starter Enerson to move into second place.
The yellow flags flew even before the end of the first lap due to an incident involving several cars on the exit of Turn One. Latorre again took off at the restart but remained under intense pressure from Eidson as the pair quickly pulled away from the pursuing pack. Eidson made his decisive move for the lead under braking for Turn One on Lap 14, after which Latorre locked up his brakes and slid into the escape road. He was fortunate not to lose more than one position.
Norwegian Henrik Furuseth (JAY Motorsports) passed Enerson for third, only to clip the wall on the exit of Turn 11. The impact was slight but it was enough to damage a rear upright and lead to his retirement. Enerson (Team E Racing) thereby regained third, which he held to the finish, well clear of Peter Portante (ArmsUp Motorsports), who moved up from seventh on the grid to take a season-high fourth. Fourteen-year-old Colton Herta (JAY Motorsports) slipped back to eighth by the halfway mark in the 15-lap race but posted a fine charge in the closing stages to reclaim fifth ahead of Aaron Telitz (ArmsUp Motorsports), whose pass on Brazilian Victor Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) on the final lap earned him the RePlay XD Move of the Race.
Additional contingency awards included the Tilton Hard Charger Award to Juan Maldonado of M2 Autosport for a gain of eight positions from 21st to 13th, the Staubli Award to Eidson and customized Race Energy charger – the official battery of the ladder series – to the winning team of Cape Motorsports.
“The conditions were much better than they would have been last night, so I’m glad we waited to run the race today. On the pace laps, I was thinking we should go to slicks – I was very surprised by how quick the track dried. It was slippery, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I knew most of the turns would have dry lines,” said Eidson. “Florian [Latorre] and I were taking the same line so we were really carrying the same speed. It actually got easier later in the race because I was able to take more of a dry line, which was more natural, using the line we’d used in practice and qualifying. I got a good draft on Florian going into (Turn) One and was able to put some pressure on him but fortunately I didn’t have to make the hard pass. That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a race like that.”
The weather conditions improved dramatically in time for race two, which started at 12:35 p.m., with Latorre again leading away the 22-car field from the pole. Enerson wrested away the advantage midway around the first lap, which again saw the yellow flags waving following a multi-car incident in Turn Three that took out several cars, including the unfortunate Furuseth. Enerson continued to lead at the restart, with Cape Motorsports teammates Latorre and Eidson snapping at his heels, and both Telitz and Herta also in close attendance.
The order remained unchanged until lap 13, when Enerson abruptly slowed on the exit of Turn One. Officials had no option but to call for a full-course caution after his car ground to a halt on Lakeshore Boulevard. Another incident shortly after the restart saw Herta’s fine weekend end against the tires in turn three after Franzoni had made a bold move to the inside. Caution again.
There was enough time left for a two-lap dash to the finish, during which Latorre narrowly maintained his advantage over Eidson. Telitz nabbed third ahead of Franzoni and Clark Toppe, whose JDC MotorSports Van Diemen-Mazda came alive in the closing stages. Toppe claimed the Tilton Hard Charger Award for his gain of 10 positions from 15th to fifth.
“After the mistake this morning, I had to win this one. I am very happy for me and for the team,” said Latorre. “The race was difficult because of the restarts. Each time I made a gap, I would lose it on the restart so it was a little bit hard but I had a good car which made it easier.”