Editor’s note: When we last left you UK&I championship sim racing rivals Wojciech Rabsztyn and Marcus Hamilton were duking it out for fourth place behind Marc Mercer while Simon Povey and Tom Ward took turns in the lead . . .
On Lap Five the anticipated battle between championship hopefuls Hamilton and Rabsztyn resumed, but this time with Rabsztyn on the defensive. Hamilton got the obligatory slipstream from Rabsztyn down the long Conrod Straight and Rabsztyn went defensive for The Chase. Rabsztyn took a bit too much of the inside curb at the corner and lost the back end, spinning him all the way down to P12. What’s more, strange mechanical sounds began emanating from his engine, meaning he would have to pit for repairs. Swirydowicz also lost a position when evasive action took him off the track and gifted Townend with fifth place.
Townend’s charge continued just a few corners later, at the start of Lap Six, when a fantastic run through Hell Corner gave him more than enough speed to take fourth place off of Hamilton a couple hundred meters before Griffins Bend.
Townend was clearly on a mission to continue moving up through the field and, no doubt his next target — Mercer — was flooded with the memories of their epic battles from last season. Townend looked to make the same move on Mercer on Lap Seven as he had done on Hamilton the previous lap. Mercer proved a bit more challenging however, and Townend could only clear him by a couple of feet at most before braking for Griffins Bend. Townend braked early but left room on the left if Mercer decided to use it. Mercer was caught off guard and a bit of oversteer mid-corner cemented Townend’s overtake . . . and cost Mercer two more positions to Hamilton and Swirydowicz in the bargain.
Mercer’s misery didn’t end there, however, as he clipped a wall in the Esses. The contact put him out of rhythm, resulting in oversteer and – ultimately – contact between his rear right wheel and the barrier at the exit of the same corner. He would have to deal with the resulting damage for the rest of the lap before pitting for repairs and dropping to P13.
While Mercer was pitting for repairs Hamilton was busy retaking his podium position from Townend on Lap Eight in the very same spot where Townend had taken it from him. Hamilton held-off the advances of Townend until Lap Ten (the final lap) when the latter caught a bit of the oversteer at Griffins that Mercer had experienced not long before and ceded fourth to Swirdowicz.
At the tip of the spear Povey and Ward were still locked in a war for the lead; each had won battles on various laps but neither was ever able to pull away from the other after taking the position. Approached the crucial Forrest’s Elbow on the final lap they were confronted by a spinning back-marker who was just about parked on the apex of the corner. The wayward sim-racer engaged reverse and got out of the way as quickly as he could . . . but not quick enough for Povey who had to brake harder for the corner than normal. The resulting loss of exit speed allowed Ward to pull alongside Povey and grab the inside line for The Chase and first place with it.
Meanwhile Swirydowicz was not content with fourth and used the same stretch of road to overtake Hamilton and claim the final podium position, just behind Ward and Povey, with only three corners remaining.
As the sim-racers crossed the Start/Finish line for the final time it was Ward on top, becoming the third driver to win two races this season. Povey was just behind while Ward earned third place in the championship after surpassing Swirydowicz. The results enabled Povey to jump nine positions in the standings to tie Jamie Bird for P16.
Further up the championship ladder, Swirydowicz’s late race charge was enough for a podium, but not enough to keep his championship hopes alive as he now sits on 175 points even as Hamilton’s fourth place brought his total to 220. Even more crucially, Rabsztyn’s eventual retirement from the race meant he lost 18 points to Hamilton and is now 33 points behind, making Hamilton the 2014 Season 2 champion.
As always the full qualifying and race with commentary can be viewed on BSRtv here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd4iWo2PeIY