Baron Showcases Pace in Indy Lights Debut
 April 4, 2014| 
  • Team News

French rookie exited St. Petersburg season-opener with top-10 finish

NARBONNE, FRANCE – The start to Alex Baron’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires rookie campaign may have ended prematurely on the Streets of St. Petersburg, but the talented Frenchman showcased his pace and skill in what was a valuable points scoring top-10 finish.

Baron and his Belardi Auto Racing crew were excited to start the Indy Lights season on the Streets of St. Petersburg in Florida, after showing impressive pace in off-season-testing. The goal early on was to gain important seat time, unfortunately that was hampered when the skilled French driver pushed a little too hard in the first session, making contact with one of the concrete retaining walls. The skilled Belardi Auto Racing crew, however, made sure Baron did not lose too much ground to his competitors, getting the up-and-comer back on-track and posting a top-10 time in the second practice run on used tires, having been among the top-three before his fellow competitors went out on new tires.

Unfortunately that proved to be lone outing prior to the racing action getting underway, as severe weather subsequently caused qualifying to be cancelled, placing Baron on row four for his Indy Lights debut via the eighth best lap time.

Returning to the cockpits one day later, the entire field was greeted to a dry track and sunny skies. Baron promptly made the most of the improved conditions, immediately charging his way forward when the green flag waved. Highlighting the skills that led to two USF2000 Championship wins one year ago, the No. 4 Liberty Engineering/13th Avenue/Synova/Stand 21/Bell pilot was soon part of the mix for a podium position. Continually attacking, Baron’s race came to premature end on lap 25, when contact was made with another driver, resulting in race ending damage to the front of his car, and a top-10 finish.

“I really enjoyed my first Indy Lights race,” commented Baron. “It didn’t start off the way I wanted, but in the end, we did a good job to catch up. I’m a bit frustrated by the final result, but I know that we will be very competitive in Long Beach and the races to come. Thank you to the Belardi Auto Racing team for the amazing job they did this weekend.”
Baron will resume his chase for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires top honors on April 13, when race two takes place on the Streets of Long Beach in California. Highlights from the street race in St. Petersburg will be broadcast on NBC Sports on April 4, at 4:00-5:00 pm ET.

About Alex Baron:
Narbonne, France’s Alex Baron first began racing karts at the age of six. Quickly showcasing his talent behind the wheel, he captured 38 wins and two French Championship titles between 2002 and 2006, subsequently becoming both factory racer for Tony Kart France and Sodikart, and a member of the FFSA French Team. In 2011, Baron made the transition to race cars, earning a French Federation scholarship, and setting a F4 track record at the Le Mans track. Competing in the 2012 F4 Auto Sport Academy European Championship, the teenager captured the championship title with nine victories and 11 pole positions as a rookie. Awarded a partial season scholarship, Baron contested races in both Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup last season, before making the switch to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series. Baron promptly won two of the four races he contested in his North American debut.

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