Alberico rebounds to 10th in Race 1 at Highlands Park after qualifying incident

Alberico rebounds to 10th in Race 1 at Highlands Park after qualifying incident

Team USA Scholarship

Alberico rebounds to 10th in Race 1 at Highlands Park after qualifying incident

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Neil Alberico made light of a difficult day when the 15-round Toyota Racing Series made its debut at the challenging new Highlands Motorsport Park road course, fighting to a 10th-place finish after starting last in the 22-car field.

 

After taking a few days to unwind following back-to-back weekends at Teretonga and Timaru, including some fishing with his Victory Motor Racing teammates and a visit to one of New Zealand’s largest sheep stations, Alberico, 21, was back behind the wheel of his patriotically liveried Team USA Scholarship car on Thursday. Testing and practice was inauspicious as Alberico struggled with the balance of his car on old tires, but his predicament went from bad to worse this morning when he made a mistake and crashed after just two laps of qualifying.

 

Alberico was obliged to start from the back of the grid this afternoon for the first of the weekend’s three races.

 

A good start saw him make up two positions on the opening lap, only to relinquish them on Lap 2 when an attempt to make up some more places led to a mistake at the hairpin. A separate incident one lap later brought about the first of two full-course cautions, after which Alberico made up several more positions, then took advantage of a few other miscues by his rivals – and a couple of post-race penalties – to be credited with a 10th-place finish.

 

When the race was brought to a premature conclusion after 12 of the scheduled 15 laps, Martin Rump, from Estonia, took the checkered flag to become the fifth different TRS winner thus far this season.

 

“Big thanks to the Victory boys for all their hard work to recover from this morning’s incident,” said Alberico. “We were able to have a clean first race to set ourselves up for a good starting position for tomorrow’s race. Can’t wait!”

 

Alberico will line up 10th on the grid for Race 2, which starts at 11:00 am local time on Sunday (plus 18 hours from the U.S. East Coast). Live timing will be available at part2.06010704.00090304@TeamUSAScholarship.org” target=”_blank”>http://www.race-monitor.com/Live/Race/13052.

 

• Nine Team USA Scholarship graduates will be among the starting field for today’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening round of the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Memo Gidley, who won a scholarship in 1995, will share the pole-winning Gainsco Corvette DP with Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Darren Law. He will be joined among the 67-car field by Andy Lally (1999), Joey Hand (2000), A.J. Allmendinger (2001), Dane Cameron (2006), Joel Miller (2007), Conor Daly (2008), Connor De Phillippi (2009) and Tristan Nunez (2012). Live television coverage begins on Fox Sports 1 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time.

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