Best Race of the Season (Part 2) – A New Champion
October 27th, 2014 by JaimeB
Shortly after Sebastian Job had retaken the lead of the race at Sonoma on Lap Seven from Stuart Adcock there were a few incidents for Tom Ward. Ward hit the inside curb hard entering the Esses and was pushed wide, off the track, before coming under attack from George Lambert at Turn 8A. Lambert made the overtake with the inside line for Turn Nine and Marc Mercer tried to follow behind him and overtake Ward in the same way. However, contact between Ward and Mercer sent Ward off the track once again exiting Turn Ten. Ward exhibited expert control of the difficult situation and wrestled his F2000 back onto the track, allowing him to not only defend from Mercer but to dive up the inside of Lambert at the Turn 11 hairpin and maintain his fourth place position.
While Ward was retaking the position he’d lost from Lambert, Adcock was doing the very same to Job at the very same corner. Adcock snuck the inside line for the Turn 11 hairpin and, once again, took the lead of the race from the championship leader.
Once again, the goliath of Job was relentless in his pursuit of victory. The very next lap, Lap Eight, Job used the outside line for Turns 7 and 7A to overtake Adcock into the Esses, in the exact same way as the prevous lap.
Adcock tried the same maneuver on Job less than two minutes later on Lap Nine, but with unfortunate consequences. Adcock caught some understeer heading into the first left-hander of the Esses and contact with Job sent him off the track with damage where he came to a stop and retired.
After his contact with Adcock, Job came under attack from both Ward and Simon Povey. Although he lost the lead to Povey pretty handily at the Turn 11 hairpin, it appeared he was going to be able to fend off Ward with the inside line for Turn One on Lap Ten. Surprisingly for Job, Ward hung around the outside and kept Job in a side-by-side battle all the way until Turn Six before Job finally pulled back ahead.
As the field started Lap 11 Povey came under attack from Job at Turn One. Povey defended expertly, and was able to retain the advantage until Job got the inside line at Turn Six and, once more, regained the lead.
After a relatively tame Lap 12 the action resumed immediately on Lap 13 with Povey attacking Job at Turn One. Job defended a bit better than Povey had done two laps prior, and instead of challenging for the lead, Povey came under attack from Ward who retook second place at Turn 3A.
Later that same lap Ward began attacking Job and the two of them went side-by-side through the twisty section. The resulting impaired racing gave Ward some oversteer and Job a bad exit speed coming out of Turn Ten. Povey took the normal racing line and swung his F2000 to the inside line for the hairpin where he jumped from third to first in a matter of seconds.
With just over a lap to go in the 14 lap race all the sim-racers were pushing hard to try and get themselves in the optimal position for the final lap of the race. As the front-runners powered out of the hairpin Ward’s engine gave out, and began dumping black smoke in the face of Paul F. Grillo. Ward lost a significant amount of power from his engine troubles, and began dropping like a stone as they started the final lap of the race.
After Ward’s troubles, Lambert found himself in a podium position and within striking distance of Povey in P2, as Job began to pull a bit of a gap (finally). Lambert tried his hardest through the first half of the lap, but after failing to overtake Povey he had to turn his focus to Grillo in the car behind. Grillo used the same move at the outside of Turns 7 and 7A that had been so popular in earlier laps, and with the better exit speed grabbed the final podium position on the final lap of the race.
In the end Job finished under a second ahead of Povey, with Grillo another 1.3s behind Povey (and Lambert two tenths behind Grillo), with Ward limping home in P14, 28 seconds behind Job. Overall, the top ten drivers were separated by less than seven seconds after the full 14 laps of sim racing. In the championship, Job’s fourth win of the season extends his lead to Richard Avery to a whopping 43 points, making Job the 2014 Season Three champion. Povey’s second place finish at Sonoma moved him two positions up in the championship with 142 points, only ten points behind Graham Carroll. The big mover of the week, however, was third place finisher Grillo, who moved up a dozen positions into P27 with 25 points.