written by mark_van_haze
Sprint Race Season 2 | League B – Round 3 – Red Bull Circuit
The sprint race saw a strong line up with kalam719 on pole, SimbaLora 2nd, McMalan on 3rd, deruige on 4th, manuel on 5th, Nameless on 6th, AKMakko47 who won the fanboost on 7th, Rabauke on 9th and Darky on 10th. Turn 1 was tightly packed but all drivers got through without major contacts but deruige who won the last main race, dropped onto 6th, being overtaken by the Nameless and manuel. Racing down the start straight, kalam managed to keep a second between himself and SimbaLora who was being reminded with gentle nudges that McMalan wanted to get in on his 2nd position. But it did not take long and the pressure from behind started to boil over and turn 3 McMalan took the inside line, leaving kalam squeezed in the middle with SimbaLora flanking the outside. Kalam managed to get out though, and it was Simbalora who had to run wide, dropping into 5th. But turn 3 had more action further down the field, as Rabauke gets a solid push in the rear by AKMakko, who was cutting the corner a bit too aggressively and sliding over the grassy part of the apex. This contact left Rabauke spinning out and AKMakko with frontal damage, dropping both to the back of the field.
Starting lap 3 deruige was already on 2nd slipstreaming right behind kalam, with a 1.3 second gap to the third McMalan. By then Darky who started in last position managed to get his Viper up into 5th but with a 1.1 second penalty he had his work cut out. By turn 2 deruige managed to push his BMW into the lead, now with kalam slipstreaming him.
Lap 4 started with deruige putting a 1.35.986 fast lap down, widening the gap to kalam by 0.7 seconds. Turn 2 saw McMalan take an outside dive, just about holding the car on the track and push past kalam who then dropped into 3rd. Further down the field Darky was fighting to hold his place but managed to spool down the entire penalty with Nameless now only 0.5 seconds behind.
The action continued in turn 2 as McMalan took the inner line, trying to pressure deruige into making an error which he did, sliding his BMW over the edge of the grass and just barely holding it together while being t-boned by McMalan, who managed to pass through into the lead. But deruige had great control over his BMW and managed to slide straight back into the slipstream on McMalan.
Lap 6 starts with more tension as we saw deruige, McMalan and kalam side by side entering into turn 2. But deruige missed the braking point, went wide and opened the lead for McMalan and in kalam in suit, leaving deruige in 3rd. All this fighting closed the gap to the 4th Simbalora who now also was looking into getting on that podium. By turn 5 kalam managed to squeeze by McMalan and took the lead and just on the last turn, deruige regained another position, leaving McMalan on 3rd.
Lap 7 was still just as highly pressured in the front pack, seeing deruige leading, followed now by McMalan and kalam in 3rd. Through all of this lap and lap 8, there was a constant shuffle between the leading 3 with Simbalora close behind on 4th, waiting for the right opportunity to pounce onto a podium spot. Lap 9 we finally saw the fruits of his labour and in turn 5 Simbalora managed to get into 3rd, leaving McMalan in 4th. But Simbalora did net frontal damage along the way and could not hold the speed necessary for that position, seeing McMalan pass him again by the beginning of lap 10.
Deruige now had nearly a second lead over kalam who was trailed with a 2.7 second gap by McMalan on 3rd as they entered into turn 3. The final rush to the line proved to be very tight and just in the last moment, Simbalora pushed through into 3rd with McMalan just behind in 4th. So the final results were: deruige in 1st, kalam 2nd, Simbalora 3rd, McMalan 4th, Nameless in 5th, a strong showing by the newcomer Darky in 6th, Rabauke in 7th, manuel 8th and AKMakko 9th.
29 plus 1 formation lap were ahead of a very eager racing field with the first lap being a formation lap. Deruige started in pole, followed by Nameless, kalam, Simbalora, McMalan, Rabauke on 6th, Darky on 7th, manuel 8th and AKMakko 9th and Grisu 10th.
After a solid formation lap (finally group B!) we were off and deruige was leading the pack with kalam nabbing position 2 and leaving Nameless who was lagging a bit, in 3rd. Close up were McMalan and Simbalora with a large gap of 2.3 seconds behind him, leaving the second half of the field behind.
As we entered lap 3 the positions started to settle in, showing a very professional cant-win-the-race-in-the-first lap attitude. Darky managed to reduce his gab to Simbalora to 1.4 seconds, closing the large gap from before. McMalan however had a date with a wall and dropped into 10th, now with frontal aero and suspension damage. By now deruige was already opening his lead up to 3 seconds, leaving kalam and Nameless in 2nd and 3rd, who were only 1.3 seconds apart. But just before the final turn of lap 3, AKMakko spins out and hits the barrier, netting him front damage and now had to drive a whole lap before having the chance to go into the pits.
As we started lap 4, the first signs of tire wear were becoming visible and the Simbalora in 4th was still going strong as he went for hard tires, possibly trying for a single stop race. Most other drivers were on mediums but of course had to deal with more wear.
In lap 5 Simbalora had to give in to the pressure from Darky who on his mediums managed to pass Simbalora, taking the 4th position, with a 2.4 second gap to Nameless in 3rd. The same lap ends with deruige going in for the first pitstop, refuelling his thirsty BMW. Simbalora and Nameless stayed out for one more lap though and giving them the lead positions. Meanwhiel deruige came out of the pits with fresh mediums and a full tank, starting from P8.
Lap 6 brings the rest of the field into the pits, reshuffling the order with kalam on top, followed by deruige in 2nd, Nameless in 3rd, manuel 4th, Simbalora 5th, Darky 6th, McMalan 7th and AKMakko 8th.
By lap 9 after trying hard to make his car as wide as possible, kalam had to go wide on turn 4 making an easy pass for deruige, once again into the lead. And deruige was just unstoppable, creating a gap of 1.6 seconds by the time they started crossing the start/finish line.
Lap 12 kalam pits, getting fresh rubber which now left the Nameless to finally climb into P2. Kalam came out P7, now fighting his way up the ladder from further back.
Lap 14 the Viper of Darky started to suck up to Manuels Hyundai who just managed to slip off into the pits before Darky passed him down the start/finish straight. So lap 15 saw the newcomer Darky grab his first ever 3rd slot with a 7.4 second gap to Nameless in 2nd.
Now it was Simbalora again who was trailing Darky by a 3.7 second gap but at the same time, McMalan started to show up large in Simbaloras rear mirror, with a small gap of 0.8 seconds. But by lap 17 Darky has to pit, leaving him in 7th behind Manuel.
Lap 18 sees Nameless enter the pits giving McMalan a short moment of being 2nd but with very little fuel left, he too had to seek the pitlane for a refuel and new mediums. The new order lap 19 therefore was deruige with a massive 21 second lead, Simbalora on 2nd, Kalam on 3rd, Nameless on 4th, manuel on 5th.
Deruige entered the pits on lap 19, letting Simbalora pass through to the lead, running on hard tires and possibly looking to push through on those until the end. The gap between them was 3.1 seconds but deruige now was on fresh mediums and a 2/3 tank, giving him the upper edge on the catch up race to 1st. And lap 22, deruige manages to effortlessly pass Simbalora on the straight, retaking the lead as he came out of turn 1. Yet Simbalora was not going to just sit this out so he kept on pushing, trying to keep the gap as small as possible up until the end of the lap where he did have to pit after all, getting fresh hard tires and about half a tank.
By lap 23 more drivers had their last pitstop and the new order was deruige in the lead, followed by Nameless, Darky and Simbalora with only 0.3 seconds behind. Then we had McMalan and kalam in 6th. But just on the end of this lap, Darky goes for the pitlane for fresh rubber, knowing that he could not keep his position with so much pressure from behind him. This gave McMalan a chance to attack Simbaloras position, managing to pass into 3rd position.
Simbalora was not going to give in and fought hard to keep up with him but the GTR often had the better exit, leaving a tiny but important lead. But then as they both started breaking for the Rindt corner 7, Simbalora on the outside, who entered the turn side by side with the GTR got pushed into the grass, slid over the border and crossed into the inner side of the turn hitting the pitlane wall head on. Luckily for McMalan, he stayed on course and considering the massive engine damage Simbalora had, he was a bit lucky too as he could just roll into the pit to fix the damage. But of course by the time he had the Mercedes fixed and out on the track, he dropped massively to 7th position.
Lap 26 sees Nameless in 2nd, with a relatively small gap of 3.2 seconds behind deruige followed by a large gap of 24 seconds to the third McMalan. Meanwhile Simbalora was fighting 110% to try and gain more points, closing in on manuel with a 0.7 second gap.
With only 3 laps to go, Nameless reduced his gap to the leading deruige down to 2.7 seconds. By lap 28, coming out of turn 3 Nameless got even closer, with only 1.9 seconds separating him from a win. Passing the Rindt corner the gap kept melting away to under a second.
As we entered the final lap, deruige seemed to wake up from his slumber in the lead, and managed to pull away a bit more from the Ferrari and opened the gap back again to 1.5 seconds which he kept as he successfully crossed the line to finish the race! The final result was deruige in first, Nameless 2nd, McMalan 3rd, kalam 4th, Darky 5th, Simbalora 6th, manuel 7th, Grisu 8th, XRabauke 9th and AKMakko 10th.