The sixth round of the inaugural GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sport Car Series, the online mixed class championship open to PC owners with a subscription to the iRacing Motorsports Simulation service, headed to the Netherlands and the virtual shores of the North Sea as the Riley MkXX Daytona Prototype and the Ford Mustang FR500S took to the former F1 circuit at Circuit Park Zandvoort.
With a hard fought victory in his only race of the week, Blake Townend topped the Daytona Prototype standings at Zandvoort with 255 points to his name, enough to keep the Englishman in the overall championship hunt. “I got past Jaro Honzik at the start, he then hit me slightly at the hairpin, it was all good as I kept it under control,” shared the Team RadicalsOnline sim-racer this week. “I got to the Mustangs and got blocked and Jaro got past. I just had to stay on his bumper to get by and that’s what happened on Lap 21: At the same place I got held-up, Jaro went wide while overtaking a Mustang. He then ran wide at Turn Nine and I got a better exit. Then on the last lap Wyatt Gooden slowed down in Turn One thinking he had won the race but we still had one more lap to go! I got past Wyatt in Turn One as did Jaro and that was the end of a very exciting and intense battle.”
The pinnacle divisional victory for Townend sees him close the gap to the top of the championship table to 331 points as the season reaches its half-way stage. Gooden, who heads the Division One Daytona Prototype standings, sees his lead now cut to just 25 points ahead of Honzik.
Omri Galili has only competed in three rounds of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series. However, his top score in Division Two from a podium second place finish at Zandvoort means the iRacer could be challenging the top of the divisional championship by the end of the season, when competitors best eight results from 12 rounds are counted. “This week has been the best one of the season so far for me,” enthused Galili. “Everything went pretty smooth the entire race except for locking up the fronts at Turn Six which led to a little off-track excursion and a subsequent loss of two places which dropped me down to fifth spot temporarily.”
Stepping into the overall Daytona Prototype top spot of Division Two, Australia’s Chris Buckley carries a 10 point advantage over John Payne, who leap-frogged his way into second ahead of Henrik Carlsson and previous divisional leader, Fernando Bento.
With his first win of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, Christopher Bente secured the top points score of the week in Division Three, despite his total coming from the average of his best two results from four races. Bente now occupies fifteenth in the divisional standings with only four rounds registered to his name. Continuing his domination of the division, Matthew Davis’ advantage is now 28 points over season-long rival Iker Estefania who is 98 clear of Chris Zijlstra.
Kjell-Einar Svendsen still occupies the number one spot in Division Four, with the Scandinavian’s lead extended to 129 points ahead of Jacob Desmarais following the visit to the digital replica of the Zandvoort Grand Prix Circuit. Svendsen who has dominated the division since the opening week of the championship, secured 147 points in his second race of the week, the highest divisional score of the week.
Moving up to the apex of Division Five, Damien Capelani’s fourth place in the Riley MkXX Prototype was the highest scoring finish of the week, handing the divisional lead back to the Frenchman ahead of Duncan Marais and Anthony Wood.
The honour of the week’s top scorer of Division Six fell to Richard Davis, who scored 90 points from a top five finish, his highest score of the season so far. Meanwhile, Todd Martelle’s relentless charge at the top of the division continues unabated, with the Canadian holding a 44 point lead over Guido Grosch, who is a further 10 ahead of Ed DeVoe. Just five points behind DeVoe, Germany’s Robert Wachter occupies fourth in the Division Six standings, ahead of Bruce Perry.
The leaders of Divisions Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten remain unchanged, with Scott Bennett (7), Don Davis (8), Sylvain Delpech (9) & Joshua Friedrichs (10), still being the names to beat in their respective divisional championships.
Ford Mustang FR500S
Despite maintaining his lead in the top Ford Mustang Division, Scandinavia’s Samu Snabb showed the first chinks in his armour after dropping 76 points to his main championship rivals with a below-par performance at the virtual Zandvoort Grand Prix Circuit. Taking advantage of Snabb’s ‘off week,’ Illka Kotisalo secured the highest points total for round six of the GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, to move up to fourth in the championship behind Marcus Jirak and Brian Strodtbeck.
“From the start I ran third in a queue with Dennis Grebe leading and Florian Goddard between us.” Kotisalo wrote this week. “I think Florian made a mistake which let me through and I followed Dennis closely for another 10 laps. I was a little bit quicker, but it is very hard to find a place to pass at Zandvoort, especially after the Prototypes started lapping us, which throws off your rhythm. The battle with Dennis ended in Turn Six, when a miscommunication caused a passing Prototype to hit the right front wheel of Dennis’ Mustang allowing me to pass. Unfortunately it damaged his steering enough for him to abandon the race. The rest of the race I was able to go on cruise control and make sure I gave the passing Prototypes plenty of room to get around.”
Moving up to third overall in Division Two, Steven McGarvey secured the highest total of the week to step within touching distance of Chris Keogh and Mathieu Gagnon who head the divisional standings, separated by just 10 marks. “Wow I didn’t even realize, that’s great news,” shared McGarvey after being informed of his top points finish at Zandvoort. “It didn’t feel like a great week for me, but I will take it. I am really enjoying this car now that I am using the clutch with an H-pattern shifter, it seems to be a little faster for me. I just hope the rest of the season goes as smoothly and I might end up getting a top five in points for my division.”
Not content with his position as leader of his Prototype division, Matthew Davis also heads the Ford Mustang FR500S standings in Division Three, although the American is finding his lead under pressure from the likes of Andrew Bakke, Dimitar Stefanov, Michael Hornbuckle and highest scorer of the week, Uwe Vass.
With a victory and podium finish at Zandvoort, Adam Parle’s highest score of Division Four promotes the Englishman up to fourth in the divisional standings, 29 points off the leading Tim Bamberger, who clings to the top spot by just a handful of points from Ricky Hardin and Jasper Groeneweg. Continuing his run at the top of Division Five, Robert Lawrie’s 86 points haul from Zandvoort extends the Briton’s lead to 45 marks over Mike Nachtigal and Thomas Christian.
A victory for Paolo Ghibaudo in his solitary race at Zandvoort not only secured the top points score of the week in Division Six, but also propelled the Italian to the top of the overall divisional standings. In hot pursuit of Ghibaudo and looking to reclaim the Division’s number one slot at the next round at the Watkins Glen Cup track is Alexander Khalkin who is 26 points off the lead and 33 marks ahead of John McNamara.
There’s no change at the pinnacle of Divisions Seven and Eight, with Ryan Cowley (7) and Hal Kermite (8), maintaining their stance as divisional top-dogs. In the ninth division, Petr Lysec becomes the new leader of the Ford Mustang FR500S class, as does Scotland’s Mike Hogg in Division Ten.