The one-third mark of the inRacingNews Challenge season comes at Lime Rock Park. There, the Pontiac Solstices, SpecRacer Fords and Mazda MX-5 Roadsters would score their fourth set of points on the season, and as only eight weeks count in the standings, Lime Rock marks a sort of halfway point on the year.
Pedro Najera scored a class-leading 147 points in Mazda, winning in both of his starts. Meanwhile, Ramon Sprecher took the win in his lone start against a tough field in the Ford class, earning 207 points for the victory. But it was Marius Golombeck in Solstice with the best week of all, earning 275 points, a week-high 94 more than second place Chris Hughson.
Once again, Ryan Bennetts led all Mazda sim racers in starts with 21, wins with 11, and poles with 10, effectively matching his totals from the previous week (20-11-11). Paul Linek ranked second in starts with 19, while Richard Rex’s six wins ranked second in that category. Linek and Rex tied for second in poles with six apiece. Of the four drivers to break a minute in time trials, Elmar Erlekotte, last week’s star, was best with a 59.375 second lap; in qualifying, Flavien Vidal’s lap of 58.716s set the bar.
Hughson has long been one of the most active drivers in the iRNC statistically, and with 32 starts, 21 wins, and 16 poles, his week was no aberration. With those inflated numbers, he led all three categories in SRF. Six others started more than 10 races, with Pablo Donoso’s 17 tops among them. Klaus Rachbauer took second in both wins and poles with nine apiece, while Tom Sullivan’s eight poles and a handful of drivers’ four wins apiece ranked third. Frank Bloem would be the only driver to crack 59 seconds in time trials, while Mogar DG Filho’s 58.417 would be best of the 12 drivers to top the 59 second barrier in qualifying.
Derrick Stone topped all Solstice drivers with 24 starts, one of five drivers to run 10 or more times on the week. But Bryan J Miller won 14 races to Stone’s nine, and took 15 poles to Stone’s 11, to top each of those categories. Other statistical leaders included Matthias Linek (14 starts, seven wins, 10 poles) and Hughson (10 starts, eight wins, six poles). Miller also posted the fastest time trial time, a 59.474s, while Ralf Janiak’s 59.164s edged Miller for the fastest qualifying lap.
The middle third of the season will see the iRNC take on four different tracks. First, the series will hit the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, followed by its second visit to Okayama, running the full course for the first time this year. Week Seven will see the third of four visits to Summit Point Raceway, this time on the Jefferson course, while the eighth round on the schedule takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.