by Dennis Grebe on March 24th, 2010
Drivers of the IndyCar Series in Round Seven at Sebring International Raceway faced a bumpy and challenging track but made the best of it, with all but two drivers collecting less than 20 incidents on the challenging Florida track. Even with the Round competing for participation with the iRacing World Tour’s 120 Minutes of Sebring on Saturday, the number of sim racers involved climbed to 141, a solid increase of 14 from the week at Infineon Raceway.
The highest Strength of Field (2726) race this week took place on Thursday in the 9:30pm (GMT) race. Brian Kerr and Maximilian Vietmeier looked set to battle it out for the win, but due to racing incidents and bad luck each ended up several laps down, leaving the top spots to drivers like Englishman Neil Stratton, who collected 151 points for his second place finish. Italian Andrea Baldi had some incidents as well but still managed to take home third for 132 points.
In another high Strength of Field race on Saturday in the 5:30pm (GMT) slot, Joao Vaz won in style and collected 160 points. Vietmeier, after his bad luck earlier in the week, took second in a solid and incident-free race well ahead of Scandinavian Teppo Savela.
Despite the bumpy track and a competing online racing event, some drivers competed frequently in the IndyCar races at Sebring. Henrik Müller had the most starts of the week at six. However he didn’t manage to get a top five finish out of any of his races and, in the end, had to settle for 75 points. Daniel Brookins and Robert Hedan each started five races and managed to score two top five finishes each, giving them 75 and 96 points, respectively. Brian Kerr meanwhile scored the most wins of the week at three, winning all but one of his four races. Ironically, the one he didn’t win was the one which would have given him the most points. Nevertheless, the Celtic club driver came away from the track scoring 143 points for the championship.
In the overall standings Vaz continued to open up the gap on second placed Frenchman Joel Guez, increasing his lead from 83 to 108 points. Carlo Labati is still in second, now 143 points behind Vaz. Canadian Martin Blais dropped out of the top five this week, being overtaken by Jukka Savolainen for fourth (177 points behind Vaz, but with one less week counted) and Stratton moving into fifth, just four points behind Savolainen. Blais is now sixth, only another two points behind Stratton. Among the drivers to watch in the following weeks is Klaus Ellenbrand from the DE-AT-CH club, currently placed 11th but with only five weeks counted so far for a total of 706 points. Depending on how the season develops he could even have a chance to battle with Joao Vaz for the overall lead. Australian Paul Luck, currently in tenth position, looks to be in good position to get close or even overtake the likes of Stratton and Blais once drop weeks come into effect and everyone at the top will be at eight counted weeks.
For those interested in the regional standings, France leads the pack with 2070 club points from IndyCar Series races so far. Italy follows just 13 points behind with a larger gap in front of third placed DE-AT-CH at 1880. Celtic in fourth is tight on their heels with 1825, however. In fifth place lies Benelux with 1636 points. The best US club is currently Plains in seventh with 1262 points. The least amount of points for a club: New Jersey with a grand total of 0.
This week takes the IndyCar Series to the challenging road course of Road Atlanta, where 29 drivers can already complete the eight points weeks of the season – the last time to collect points without dropping lower points scoring weeks, and the last week before drop weeks will have to be considered in the overall standings.
Fastest Qualifying lap of the week:
Max Dell’Orco – 1:43.913
Fastest Time Trial of the week:
Richard Walker – 1:45.140 (four laps)