As the iRacing Pro Series Road Racing circus rolls out of Road Atlanta, it’s Jeffrey Rietveld leading the online racing championship standings after the second event of the iPSRR season. The Benelux Club driver claimed two wins from as many starts to collect 258 points and the honour of sitting atop of the Ford Falcon FG01 V8-based series. “I really thought that this would be a tough race because my lap times were pretty sucky on Saturday morning,” shared the Orion Racing Team driver this week. “I really wanted to improve my time before the race so I did a qualifying run again just before the race. I hit a 21.6 so I was quite happy about that time.
My race went pretty well. I started early to get a gap at the start so that I wouldn’t be in the trouble for the first corners. The pit stop went pretty good too and came back with the same gap to Klaus as I had before. After the pit stops I decided to drive safely because my gap was six seconds I believe. I didn’t make mistakes any more and won the race. Overall I’m really happy about this results because I’m leading the pro series now.”
Just three marks behind Reitveld, a trio of drivers occupy second spot in the championship, all of whom took at least one victory at the virtual Road Atlanta. With his ever first win in the Pro division, David Williams was the highest earning sim-racer of the week, with 267 points to his name from his first race. “I started second which was a nice surprise, helped by the split of course,” the Englishman told inRacingNews. “At the start Andre Boettcher had a better reaction to Max Veitmeir bolting for it, but wasn’t quite alongside enough by Turn One to make a move, so for a few laps I kept the pressure on Max ahead with Aleksi Elooma close behind me in third. Max cut the curb at Turn Two slightly and had a slow down penalty, which allowed me through to take the lead for the rest of the first stint. I pitted a lap after Aleksi so I could have fresher tyres at the end, and came out just ahead, with Aleksi and Max battling together. I started to get pretty tired as the laps went on, and small mistakes started creeping in, while Max fell away and Aleksi starting piling the pressure on me.
The final ten laps were insanely tough, I was half looking in my mirrors constantly, and with a scruffy end to the final lap Aleksi was on my bumper as we crossed the line.”
Taking the second highest tally of the week, Luca Masier secured 264 points from his solitary race to put the Italian on level pegging with Williams and Dell Orco. “It was a lucky win for me,” confessed Masier following his 40 lap race. “After losing the lead of the race midway through the first stint, because of a mistake under braking at the last chicane, I found myself in second position, about four seconds behind Luke McLean. I knew it would be difficult to close the gap before the end of the race. Luke then made a mistake in the pit lane entrance and this allowed me to recover the four seconds. He had obvious problems to drive the damaged car, so I tried to not ruin my and his race and I waited to have a clear attempt to overtake him.”
Dell Orco, the third driver occupying second in the iRacing Pro Series Road Racing earned 251 points from his lone appearance at Road Atlanta. “A good and safe race for me,” the Italian shared post race. “I went to pit on lap 21 and when I was out I lost some time behind Alberto who still had to pit, so I was lapping in the 25’s with fresh tyres and I lost five seconds more or less. After that I saw I had Hugo Luis around five seconds behind . Then I come into back-markers and the gap was down to three seconds more or less. Fortunately I found (a) clean way through and could increase my gap to six seconds, but then I made a mistake that cost me a slow down penalty and so my gap was again back to less than two seconds. I tried to not kill my tyres and race went smooth until the end.”
The fifth driver earning a victory in the second week of the championship was Maximilian Vietner, who took his first win of the Pro season to move the DE-AT-CH driver into the top 15 of the standings.
Following a podium second at Road Atlanta, Klaus Kirekas now occupies a net fifth position on 507 points, putting the Scandinavian 21 marks ahead of Matthias Egger. Italy’s Egger took 238 points with a third place finish in his only race of Week Two, his third podium of the season. After battling his Ford Falcon to a second place finish behind David Williams, Scandinavian Aleksi Elomaa moves to seventh in the Championship with a 16 point advantage over former standings leader Jesse Nieminen who holds 467 marks after two weeks of racing.
A handful of points behind Nieminen, fellow Scandinavia Club member Marcus Saari drops from seventh to ninth in the title chase, and now has the only non-European in the top ten, California’s Bryan Heitkotter, breathing down his neck. Whilst Steve Bates didn’t claim any victories, and hovers just outside of the top ten standings, the Kiwi received special recognition for his dedication to online racing. Having attended the birth of his new son (and future iRacer), Bates left his local hospital in the early hours of the morning to jump into his Falcon V8 to complete 40 laps of virtual racing. Amazingly, the New Zealand based driver claimed a fourth place finish and 217 points, making it a double celebration for the Bates clan.
Round Three of the iRacing Pro Series Road Racing heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the championship still has many questions to ask. Who will be the first to create a clear lead? How will the new Ford Falcon FG01 handle the dusty Monterey track? Will Steve Bates get enough sleep?