The third race of the third season of 2014 for the UK&I Skip Barber league ventured to a track Allan Paterson had expressed his excitement about in my Q&A with him earlier this year, and the newest road track to iRacing did not disappoint. Donington Park is a circuit that brings this league one step closer to their dream of an all-British season. Sebastian Job took top honors in qualifying with a 1:44.041 ahead of both SSR team members Simon Povey and Simon Hulbert who sat in second and third respectively. Mark Jarvis qualified fourth by a couple of hundredths ahead of George Lambert in fifth while Marc Mercer could only manage P13 for the league’s first race at Donington.
The big surprise after the lights went green for this 15 lap race was the contact between Kris Fraser and Rich Jones at the first corner. Fraser braked much earlier for Redgate than Jones and hit him from behind, sending Fraser off to the right and into Tim Adcock.
The first move at the front came from Clarke Williams on Lap Two when Lambert had a sub-par trip through the Old Hairpin gave Williams a run on Lambert and eventually the inside line for McLeans and fifth place along with it.
On Lap Six Povey began eyeing Job’s first place position and started making moves at the Old Hairpin. By the time they reached the chicane they were side-by-side — not an easy way to negotiate the chicane. Contact between them lifted Povey’s right side off the ground and sent him into a spin through the grass, dropping him to P11.
Job’s exit speed from the chicane was effected as well and the other SSR car of Hulbert grabbed the inside line and the lead of the race at the Melbourne Hairpin. Jarvis in third took the racing line through Turn 11 and made a dive for the inside of Goddards where he dropped Job to third.
Job didn’t delay in returning the favor to Jarvis and grabbed the inside line for Redgate and the Craner Curves before completing the overtake at the Old Hairpin and returning his focus to Hulbert ahead.
After seven laps of sim racing Richard Avery was up to sixth from eighth on the grid but an accidental corner cut at the blind-apex McLeans took his foot off the gas and dropped him to P10 behind Clive Armstrong.
One of the four sim-racers who passed Avery was Mercer who got a great run through the final corner and nearly grabbed two positions at Redgate on Lap Nine when he made a dive from the outside of Dominic Brennan towards the inside of Lambert. Lambert held the outside line well and got a good enough exit speed to hold onto his newly found sixth place position for a few corners before Mercer grabbed it at Coppice.
Hulbert held the lead with vigor until Lap Ten when Job mounted an attack with the inside line for the chicane. Hulbert defended as best he could but lost the position and immediately came under attack from Jarvis who made a stunning four-wheel slide into the Melbourne Hairpin, dropping Hulbert another position.
As the sim-racers started Lap 11 Mercer appeared to have some struggles through Redgate which caused him to pull to the side of track and lose the four positions he had fought so hard for. The reason may have been Mercer’s aggressive use of the pit-lane exit, or possibly just a technical malfunction.
Avery had similar issues the same lap when he pulled wide at McLean’s and lost positions to Armstrong, Mercer, and Povey.
Povey experienced his own running-wide event just a couple of laps later on 13 when he made a mistake under braking for the Old Hairpin and lost a position to Mercer.
By the final lap Povey had passed Mercer back and was pressuring Lambert for P6 when Lambert went wide into Redgate and lost positions to both drivers and went side-by-side into the Old Hairpin with Brennan.
Meanwhile, just ahead of Lambert, Mercer was having his own struggles through the Old Hairpin which sent him off the track and dropped him to the back of the pack in P11.
Lambert’s battle with Brennan continued until Coppice where he had the outside line and lost positions to Brennan and also Avery before Armstrong also pulled alongside and dropped Lambert a third position at Coppice.
Lambert bit down and used the inside line at the chicane to grab P9 back from Armstrong with only two corners remaining.
When Job crossed the finish line for the final time he was over eight seconds ahead of the battling Hulbert and Jarvis. After taking the lead on Lap Ten he never looked back and dominated the rest of the race, putting in a 1:44.096 on the final lap of the race. Hulbert and Jarvis battled until the bitter end but Hulbert’s move on Lap 14 was the last between them as he finished in second ahead of Jarvis with Williams and George Wiseman not far behind (less than 1.5 seconds separating all four cars). Povey finished in sixth with a three second gap to Brennan behind followed by Avery, Lambert, Armstrong, and Mercer in P11 (less than two seconds separating all five cars).
In the championship Job maintains his lead over Avery who retains second as well as Wiseman who retains third. Williams moved up into fourth while Brennan advanced to fifth at the expense of Antoniades, who now finds himself P6. The biggest movement in the championship came from Hulbert whose second place finish moves him into eleventh in the points, just ahead of Jarvis.