After a dominating win by Philip Leybaert at Lime Rock, the 2k Cup moved on to Philip Island this week. This was expected to be a much different race due to Philip Island’s long straights and wide corners. The championship standings are still settling after starting the season at the Motegi oval. Philip Island should add more clarity to who the contenders will be for the rest of the season.
Standings, results and links to video replays can be found at http://2kworldcup.com/.
The first lap of qualifying saw previous league champion, Mikko Nassi, return and set the pace with a 1:47.541. He was followed by Ricardo Faria and Paul Malokas. The critical second lap saw some changes to this order. Nassi improved his lap time and captured pole position, behind him Juha Norolampi jumped into second place and Faria fell to third. The rest of the top ten was Philippe Leybaert, Fahim Antoniades, Thibault Soubeyrand, Brian Doell, Paul Malokas, Arjan de Vreede and Ricardo Ferreira.
At the start, the field got away cleanly, however by the exit of turn two positions started to change. Faria was able to get a run on both Nassi and Norolampi. By the exit of turn four he had passed Norolampi and was closely following Nassi. Behind them the order was also changing. Antoniades was involved in an incident with Soubeyrand and was forced to pit. This slowed Soubeyrand and he was overtaken by Malokas. This all lead to a gap opening to the lead four of Nassi, Faria, Leybaert and Norolampi. On the second lap the second group was still battling and saw another incident. This incidents involved Soubeyrand, de Vreede and Doell. This opened another gap and left Malokas alone in fifth chasing the lead four.
The leaders ran clean laps for the next section of the race, with only occasional changes in position. With the pit window opening the order was Faria, Leybaert, Nassi and Norolampi with Malokas chasing a few seconds behind. Behind them was a group containing Frank Winter, Lionel Gamet, Matt Dafoe, Rob Read and Angelo Celurra. The first of the leaders to pit was Faria, who came in on lap ten. The other leaders pitted together on lap 13. Nassi was leading, followed by Leybaert and Norolampi. Nassi came out ahead and Norolampi passed Leybaert. However, on exit Norolampi went off track and fell out of the lead group. Nassi and Leybaert rejoined with Faria and were clear of the rest of the field.
Behind the leaders Malokas and Norolampi had formed a second group and were being chased by Dafoe and Read. The final spots in the top ten were held by Cellura, Winter and Will Fisher. Until the final few laps these groups maintained position. Nassi was still leading and was defending hard at the end of both straights. Faria was challenging at every opportunity. It appeared that Leybaert was patiently waiting for a mistake or incident to make his move. They came out of the final corner on the penultimate lap in this order but by the end of the straight were three wide with Nassi defending the inside, Faria in the middle and Leybaert on the outside. Nassi charged aggressively into the corner and touched the gravel on the inside. This upset his car and sent him into the path of the other two. Faria just missed the sliding Nassi and Leybaert had to take evasive action and touched the dirt on the outside. This sent Leybaert off track and ended his opportunity for the win. Faria came out of this ahead and defended the inside on the run down to turn four. However, he and Nassi touched wheels just before the braking zone and Nassi was able to get ahead. Faria chased through the rest of the lap, and was able to come along side Nassi on the final straight, but wasn’t able to get past. Nassi took the win by 0.043. Behind the leaders, Leybaert had rejoined the track just ahead of Malokas and Norolampi and was able to hold on to the final podium position. Malokas and Norolampi finished in fourth and fifth. Dafoe and Read finished closely with Dafoe holding on to sixth and Read seventh. The final positions in the top ten were Winter, de Vreede and Cellura.
Nassi’s return and win add a lot of interest in the championship. If he returned to start the season he would have been the favorite, however he has already used two drop weeks and will need to be very consistent to have a chance. With his third place finish, Leybaert maintained his lead and has a gap to Malokas in second. Yann Laprevotte is in third followed closely by de Vreede in fourth. Faria jumped all the way to fifth and Nassi joins the race in tenth place. The championship moves on to Road Atlanta on Sunday.
|7||Rob Read||UK and I||-8.993||32|
|9||Arjan de Vreede||Benelux||-13.254||28|
|12||Paul F Grillo||UK and I||-20.126||22|
|16||Barry Morrison||UK and I||-24.191||17|
|17||Aurelien Bonnet||New York||-24.548||16|
|19||Gavin Marsden||UK and I||-35.159||14|
|21||Fahim Antoniades||UK and I||-37.463||13|
|25||Rich Jones||UK and I||-46.681||8|
|27||Collin van Raam||Benelux||-49.192||6|
|28||José Manuel Esteban||Iberia||-50.166||3|
|30||Ryan Devlin||New England||-00:01:13.50||3|
|31||Thibault Soubeyrand||UK and I||-3 L||0|
|32||Tuan Tran||Benelux||-6 L||0|
|33||Brian Doell||Canada||-6 L||0|
|34||Chris McGowen||Northwest||-18 L||0|
|35||Ricardo Ferreira||Iberia||-21 L||0|
|36||Yann Laprevotte||France||-22 L||0|
|37||Daniel Nogueras Carceller||Iberia||-22 L||0|
|4||Arjan de Vreede||77||67|
|6||Paul F Grillo||64||64|
|13||Collin van Raam||56||50|