By Tony DiZinno

Latorre’s Lucky Escape

It wasn’t that noticeable when it happened, but upon seeing still shots captured by IMS Photography, LLC yesterday, last year’s USF2000 champion Florian Latorre is one lucky individual following a slow rollover accident just after the start of Thursday’s first Pro Mazda race of the weekend.

Here are the stills, as posted by @MazdaRacing to its Twitter account Friday morning.

Via this fan footage captured from the infield section of Turn 2, you can see the contact occur between Pato O’Ward and Latorre, with O’Ward’s car hitting the curb and pitching Latorre’s Soul Red MAZDASPEED-liveried car into a slow barrel roll.

Fortunately the Holmatro Safety Team was immediately on the scene, tending to Latorre and ensuring the 18-year-old Frenchman was OK. And even though he said this morning he was a bit sore, his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team repaired the same car and ensured Latorre would be back out for qualifying.

Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda qualifying

The Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and Pabst Racing pair of drivers each followed up their practice pace in Friday morning’s 30-minute qualifying session.

Nico Jamin has secured his fourth pole of the season, all of which have come in the last five races, leading the way with a new track record lap of 1:26.1799 around the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Aaron Telitz completed a Cape 1-2, four tenths of a second behind the Frenchman. Pabst’s pair of Jake Eidson and Yufeng Luo will share the second row, with Team Pelfrey’s Luke Gabin completing the top five. Both Luo and Gabin have their best starting positions of the season.

Nikita Lastochkin (seventh), Ayla Agren (ninth) and James Dayson (13th) will have their best starts of the season, with Sam Chastain, Tyler Hunter and Bill Abel set to roll off 11th, 14th and 16th for their series debuts.

A single red flag flew with nine minutes left in the session for JDC Motorsports’ Parker Thompson, who was stopped on track drivers’ left at Turn 11. Thompson did not complete a timed lap in the session and will roll off last in the 17-car field.

Complete qualifying results:

P No Name FTime
1 2 Nico Jamin 1:26.180
2 3 Aaron Telitz 1:26.583
3 22 Jake Eidson 1:26.758
4 23 Yufeng Luo 1:26.954
5 82 Luke Gabin 1:27.208
6 33 Anthony Martin 1:27.348
7 84 Nikita Lastochkin 1:27.370
8 83 Garth Rickards 1:27.505
9 81 Ayla Agren 1:27.507
10 5 Keyvan Andres Soori 1:27.622
11 19 Sam Chastain 1:28.268
12 6 Max Hanratty 1:28.682
13 16 James Dayson 1:28.857
14 9 Tyler Hunter 1:29.134
15 12 Augie Lerch 1:29.521
16 51 Bill Abel 1:30.218
17 80 Parker Thompson 11:26.739

The first USF2000 race of the weekend, the 45-minute Round 7 of the season, will go green at 1 p.m. later this afternoon.

Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires qualifying

The 30-minute Pro Mazda qualifying session held Friday morning saw Juncos Racing return to the top of the timesheets, with Timothe Buret able to secure his first career pole position.

Buret was the only driver in the 1:23 bracket in qualifying, with a best time of 1:23.8734. His best time on Thursday was 1:23.459, and both times are off Spencer Pigot’s track record lap a year ago of 1:22.9623, also driving for Juncos.

Santiago Urrutia qualified in second, and third and posting a great bounce back after his rollover accident on Thursday was Florian Latorre. The Frenchman briefly led the session at 1:24.1257 and improved a further tenth to 1:24.0932.

Both Urrutia and Latorre have matched their best starts this season. Latorre posted his lap in a repaired car.

Will Owen and yesterday’s winner, Weiron Tan, completed the top five. Points leader Neil Alberico qualified a season-worst 10th.

A red flag flew with six minutes remaining in the session for Alessandro Latif off course; this cost him his best time of the session.

At one point early in the session, the top seven cars were separated by just 0.0970 of a second. The times spread out a bit as the session went on, but it was still cool to see.

Complete qualifying results:

P No Name FTime
1 6 Timothe Buret 1:23.873
2 81 Santiago Urrutia 1:24.003
3 10 Florian Latorre 1:24.093
4 23 Will Owen 1:24.104
5 22 Weiron Tan 1:24.124
6 82 Pato O’Ward 1:24.158
7 5 Garett Grist 1:24.197
8 7 Jose Gutierrez 1:24.215
9 21 Victor Franzoni 1:24.266
10 3 Neil Alberico 1:24.370
11 2 Daniel Burkett 1:24.454
12 80 Raoul Owens 1:24.518
13 28 Dalton Kellett 1:24.552
14 91 Kyle Connery 1:24.752
15 19 Scott Hargrove 1:24.969
16 26 Parker Nicklin 1:25.391
17 14 Alessandro Latif 1:25.637
18 13 Bobby Eberle(E) 1:26.513
19 33 Carlos Conde(E) 1:26.766
20 57 Bob Kaminsky(E) 1:26.910
21 44 Kevin Davis(E) 1:27.063

The second Pro Mazda race of the weekend, Round 7 of the season, will go green at 2 p.m. later this afternoon. After yesterday’s 30-minute race, Friday’s Round 7 will be a 45-minute race.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire qualifying

The 45-minute qualifying session for the first of two races on the Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented by Cooper Tires weekend saw a tightly packed qualifying session, with the top eight of 12 drivers ending within 0.7355 of a second.

Top of all of them was Jack Harvey, with the Englishman scoring his second pole position of the year (Long Beach) for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Harvey’s best lap of 1:15.0639 around the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was easily a new track record, some seven tenths up on the best practice time yesterday and nearly a full 3.4 seconds clear of Matthew Brabham’s previous qualifying record (1:18.4256) set last year.

Ed Jones returned to the front row in qualifying, at 0.1474 of a second back in the first of the Carlin cars. Sean Rayhall posted an impressive qualifying run, ending third for 8Star Motorsports, with Max Chilton and RC Enerson completing the top five.

All except Rayhall had a stint atop the charts during the session.

Barber double winner Spencer Pigot will roll off sixth. Scott Anderson and Kyle Kaiser also got within that 0.7355 margin.

It was an incident-free session.

Complete qualifying results:

P No Name FTime
1 42 Jack Harvey 1:15.064
2 11 Ed Jones 1:15.211
3 8 Sean Rayhall 1:15.319
4 14 Max Chilton 1:15.500
5 7 RC Enerson 1:15.531
6 12 Spencer Pigot 1:15.621
7 77 Scott Anderson 1:15.713
8 18 Kyle Kaiser 1:15.799
9 5 Juan Piedrahita 1:16.217
10 4 Felix Serralles 1:16.265
11 71 Ethan Ringel 1:16.641
12 51 Shelby Blackstock 1:16.844

The first Indy Lights race of the weekend, the 60-minute Round 6 of the season, will go green at 4:30 p.m. later this afternoon.