Ronan Murphy has made amends for his disappointing debut US Formula 4 qualifying yesterday by making up 13 spots in one lap as heavy rain saw several cars spin into the barrier meaning the safety car steered the field home from the start of the second tour all the way to the chequered flag.
The inclement weather at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit meant the race was shortened from its original 30-minute to a mere 15-minutes.
Christian Bogle converted his pole position into victory in a race of survival ahead of a fast-starting Bijoy Garg and Hunter Yeany.
Starting from the sixth row in a 33 car grid, rookie driver Erik Evans stalled as the lights turned green, transforming himself into a temporary chicane for the chasing pack to safely manoeuvre around.
As the leaders gingerly made their way out of turn 1 a double pirouette by Nolan Siegel further behind allowed Bogle to build a comfortable one-second margin over the field.
Turn 4 was cited pre-race as the primary overtaking hotspot and despite the terrible conditions, a handful of drivers attempted lunges of their own.
Mitch Redegas, Aidan Yoder and Chase Hyland would all skate off into the barrier in separate incidents while a fortunate Jake Bonilla managed to wrestle his wounded car off the grass and back on to the circuit.
Yet another incident at the very next corner saw Josh Sarchet stranded on the racing line with a supposed mechanical failure.
Ultimately, race officials yielded to the opening lap chaos and deployed the safety car which would then lead the field for the rest of the race.
Through all the incidents a shrewd Murphy had cautiously worked himself into the fringe of the top 10, halving his qualifying position.
The large number of beached cars that needed to be recovered meant Murphy’s charge was abruptly halted and put a premature end to what was beckoning as a strong result.
Toyota Racing Series graduate Spike Kohlbecker maintained his top 10 qualifying result to secure P7 at the line.
The USF4 championship have one more race tomorrow from 7.50 am NZT and can be streamed via the official USF4 website.