The real-world V8 Supercar series was run and won on the weekend past, but the online series is just hotting up.
Not quite at the halfway point, and even long before that, the saga was developing into a slugfest between two former series winners- Trans Tasman Racing’s Madison Down and Tatts.com Racing’s Mitchell McLeod.
But the heat is not confined to those two. Now a veteran of the predominantly Aussie series, The Hague’s Rens Broekman has taken the fight to Down and McLeod, relying on more than just a hiccup in his rivals’ game. He has now hauled himself into second place on the series’ ladder.
The see-sawing fortunes between the two former series winners and these other top runners has been the stuff of fables.
The colonials descended upon Northamptonshire and historic Silverstone, tonight in the International layout. McLeod collected valuable points in the early race, finishing second to Broekman in a race from which Down was noticeably absent with various real-world assigmnents. Cal Whatore was third in that top split, while the other split winners were Josh Smith and Spud Gibson.
The Main Event was yet again pushing the 4,000 mark in strength-of-field. Broekman was on pole from McLeod and Down, a delectable scenario. Simon Madden for Direct Clutch Services was happy in fourth from Michael McCabe, Madden’s DCS teammate Stuart Wood, Cal Whatmore, Paul Larkin, Troy Cox and Lewis Dodimead.
Broekman broke away at the lead in what was to be a lights-to-flag performance. McLeod was tardy and lost second to Down. Three laps later, exiting the tight right hander after Maggotts, Down had a sticking throttle, and after the ensuing drag race down the back straight, McLeod was back into second place at the Abbey Hairpin, albeit with some brake-locking and contact with the TTR car. “I wasn’t too worried about it” said McLeod of the contact, and Down concurred: “…all good. That’s touring car racing..the way it should be!”
“You must be half-Aussie by now!” – George Fullerton on Rens Broekman
Broekman was two seconds or so up the road and McLeod set about making up the gap. Down hung on in third despite pedal issues, leaving the series champ to drool over some new ones, before the Suzuka round, he hopes.
Meanwhile, McCabe was fourth after sailing by DCS teammates Wood and Madden, who had almost taken eachother out at the start. Madden and Cal Whatmore pretty much owned fifth and sixth respectively for the whole race.
Wood spent the early part of the race battling with a fast-starting Corey Slade, who settled back into a duel with Josh Muggleton and Tatts.com’s Scott U’Ren, giving Wood a break. Eventually, U’Ren hauled them all in after conserving enough tyre for a late-race charge, but couldn’t quite crack Whatmore’s sixth place.
McLeod threw everything at Broekman in the closing stages. At the same place he’d dispensed with Down many laps earlier, McLeod served Broekman with a hefty hit after locking brakes, but good sportsmanship prevailed. “I made sure he got going before I did. It wouldn’t have been a fair pass if I’d got it done (that way)” said McLeod and they crossed the line less than one second apart.
Down, faulty pedals notwithstanding, was still only two seconds back in third place. McCabe was fourth, and following him Madden, Whatmore, U’Ren, Wood, Larkin, and Slade in tenth. Series “godfather” George Fullerton was just outside the top ten after, some early contact with Shaun Kelly, making some quips about the honourary nationality of the race-winner.
Indeed, Broekman’s performance has spiced up this “Aussie” party.
OVERALL DIVISION STANDINGS
|27||Wayne G Hewitt||3||Australia/NZ||489||-689|
|31||Alexander Chailytko||2||Central-Eastern Europe||467||-711|