The fifth week of the third season of the 2011 inRacingNews Challenge saw sim racers take-on the road course at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. With one third of the season in the books, the top championship contenders in both Pontiac Solstice and SpecRacer Ford have been well established,
Once again, Michael Booth was the class of the Solstice field, scoring victories in both of his starts and pacing all drivers with 166 points. Chris Hughson, with nine wins in 11 starts, was second with 150, while third place went to Thomas van Bussel, who won one of his two starts to take home 133.
Bryan J Miller led all Solstice drivers with 18 starts, of which he won seven. Hughson’s nine wins were the most of any driver, while he tied Ingrid Marti for most poles, as both had 10. Ralf Janiak turned the fastest lap in time trials, with a 1:22.413, but Hughson bested qualifying with a 1:22.066.
The battle was a bit tighter in the Ford class, as four drivers scored 160 points or more: Kalle Ruokola led with 177, Hughson took 171, Daniel Lopez scored 164, and Javier Casas tallied 160. Ruokola and Lopez only scored one win apiece, while Casas didn’t win in his two starts, but Hughson took 12 wins in 14 starts.
Only one racer started more events than Hughson – Finland’s Riku Roiha, who competed in 17 races and took two victories and a class-leading 15 top fives. Hughson’s 12 wins, however, were far and away the most of anybody in the class, as second ranked Victor Nandez only visited victory lane five times. With 13 poles, Hughson also led that category, with Sudeep Mandal’s eight poles second best in class. Lopez turned the best time trial and qualifying laps, with a 1:20.890 and a 1:20.712, respectively.
Week Six will see the iRNC visit the Okayama International Circuit’s full course, which closed Season Two. Ralf Janiak and Marius Golombeck were the best individual performers in the last visit to the circuit in Solstice and Ford, respectively.