Myasava and Franzoni brave rain dampened track to grab top-10 finishes
TORONTO, ONT., CANADA – This past weekend Afterburner Autosport ventured north of the border to the Honda Toronto Indy for the eighth and ninth rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered By Mazda. Racing through the lakeshore streets of Canada’s largest city, the team’s drivers put in a strong showing despite being challenged by difficult weather and multiple schedule alterations. After racing was canceled on Saturday due to inclement weather and an unsafe racetrack, Afterburner’s Brazilian duo of Victor Franzoni and Gustavo Myasava ran both of the weekend’s two races on Sunday. Myasava turned in his best performance of the year in driving to a pair of top-15 finishes including a 10th in Race #1, while Franzoni was the man to watch in the second race, storming from 11th to fourth after scoring a seventh-place finish in the morning event.
The Toronto Indy weekend began with two practice sessions on Friday morning. Myasava showed his ability to adapt to the street circuit as he dropped nearly a full second in the second session, sitting 14th in the order. The trend of cutting time continued into qualifying for Myasava, as he went over a second faster in the timed session, which was good enough for 13th to start the opening race. As the rain continued to fall throughout the day on Saturday, the start of race one was postponed to Sunday as the track was deemed unsafe for competition. When the racing finally began in the early morning (7:45 a.m.), Myasava found speed and took off on the attack. As the slick track provided challenges for some drivers, Myasava was confident and gained three positions throughout the race, earning a strong 10th-place finish, his best finish of the year. For Race #2, Gustavo started 12th but struggled on the start and dropped three positions early. While fighting hard to recover, Myasava was caught up in a wreck not of his own doing, putting him out of the race on lap 16. He was officially carded with a 15th-place finish. The highlight of the weekend for Myasava was being awarded the RePlay XD Move of the Race for a pass that he made in Race #1. Myasava left Toronto sitting 20th in the championship standings but can be motivated by a continual improvement in speed and performance.
Franzoni had a successful weekend in Toronto for Afterburner Autosport. The Brazilian frontrunner laid down the eighth fastest time of the weekend’s first practice session on Friday. Despite falling to ninth on the timesheets in Practice 2, Franzoni sliced a tenth of a second off his best time in the second round. Just like his teammate Myasava, Franzoni cut even more time off in qualifying as he laid down the 10th fastest lap of the timed session to start the first race on the outside of row five. Franzoni got off to a great start in the Sunday morning opener, going from 10th to seventh during the rain-soaked 16-lap race. Franzoni showed fantastic speed and racecraft in the afternoon event, capping off the weekend on a positive note. Coming from 11th on the starting grid, he diced his way through the field gaining a total of seven positions by the race’s end, earning him an impressive fourth place finish. Franzoni also posted the fastest lap of the race. With the Toronto weekend complete, Franzoni currently holds the fifth spot in the championship standings and is the second highest ranked USF2000 rookie.
Myasava, Franzoni and Afterburner Autosport will now turn their focus to Rounds 10, 11, and 12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh and two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season in 2011, has continually developed and grown since it joined the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. In 2013, Afterburner Autosport scored its inaugural series wins with rookie Alex Baron. The highly regarded team returns to the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy program in 2014 with a talented multi-car effort, and has already won this year with Victor Franzoni in St. Petersburg.