Hughes grabs win in Sebring
Monday 27 March, 2023
Lochie Hughes won the opening race of the USF2000's second round of 2023.
Lochie Hughes’ strong start to the 2023 USF2000 season has continued over the weekend with the Queenslander claiming a victory at Sebring International Raceway.
Having picked up a race win and a podium during the opening round of the season in St Petersburg earlier this month, Hughes had claimed the championship lead and was looking to build on his rookie season.
Although he missed out on pole position for round two, it took Hughes just one corner in race one to snatch the lead from polesitter Simon Sikes, for which he held for most of the race.
Sikes was able to wrestle his way back into first place for a brief period in the final stint, but Hughes quickly regained top spot and never relinquished it as he reached the chequered flag first.
Not only was he able to claim maximum points for the win, but he also got a bonus point for the most laps led.
“The race was pretty solid. I managed to get into the lead at the first corner. I just sent it in there and hoped for the best,” Hughes said post-victory.
“I was able to pull a gap and then the red flag came out, which was a bit annoying, and I tried to get the best restart possible. I managed to do that and pulled a little bit of a gap again but the slipstream here is so big that Simon was able to catch up.
“It was tricky out there because the track was so slippery compared to how it has been all weekend. It was good to just make no mistakes, which was hard because Simon was starting to catch me.
“He passed me and I was able to pass him back and then hold off on the last lap so it was good racing there in the end.”
In the weekend's second race, Hughes again qualified behind Sikes and again attempted to take the lead right off the line with an aggressive move but couldn’t make it stick as the American held him off.
Another crack at the lead later in the race saw the Australian go wide, only to lose second place to Canadian Mac Clark before he dropped to fourth behind Jacob Douglas after the Kiwi passed Hughes right before the race was brought to an early end due to a full-course caution.
As a result of finishing fourth, Hughes lost his championship lead and slipped to second behind Sikes, however just three points separates he and the championship leader at the end of the round.
The next round of the 2023 USF2000 Championship will be at the famous Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit.