Patrick Bieri extended his stay at the top of the Mustang Cup standings for the third straight week with a solid performance during extra-long races at Watkins Glen.  Ordinarily the series races run about 25 minutes for the top drivers, but 18 laps on the “boot” configuration at The Glen ran nearly 40 minutes.  The longer races tested the Mustang FR500S sim-racers’ ability to manage tires and maintain a race pace.  “It was definitely more challenging keeping the concentration level up that long,” noted Patrick Runald.

Patrick Bieri (#3) leads the pack into Turn 1 at the start of the Pacific SOF race, but Honczarenko (#2) would take the lead on the next lap and hang on for the win.

Bieri wasn’t the top points earner in Week 3, but with the second largest points total at The Glen he maintained the top position at 653 points.  Defending champion Dariusz Bielawski fell slightly father behind at 586 points.  Season 2 champion Todd Honczarenko turned in the top performance of the week by winning the Pacific SOF race (Saturday 2:15GMT) over Bieri, earning 246 points for the week and closing within 14 points of Bielawski.  That race produced three split grids, with the racing in top split featuring nearly all of the current top 10 drivers in the series.  “The top split was amazing – SoF just short of 4000. I was total cannon fodder – I drove the fastest race I’ve done all week to finish 9th!” reported John King.  Dylan DeYoung finished third in that race and claimed fourth overall in the season points at 505 points, with Antti Pihlaja at 451 points rounding out the top five.

Mike Baures (#2) fends off a charging Matthew Pilus (#3), but it was the patient Felipe Persona (#1) in the background who would pass them both before the end of the race.

The sim-racers weren’t complaining about the extra time on a track that is a favorite among the pony car drivers.  “Really fun car/track combo this week,” commented Connor Dayton. “I’ve really grown fond to this car and the excellent sportsmanship of the drivers.”  A relatively new driver in the series this year, Elliot Meme enjoyed the close racing even in the mid-pack: “Had a great time, one of the most fun 18 laps I’ve had on the service. Everyone fought hard.”

Brakes glow as Leon Wright (#2) stalks Michael Brenner (#1) deep into Turn 1 at Watkins Glen.

Top qualifying time at 2:07.298 was Dylan Gulson with the four next drivers all within two tenths.  The week featured 240 drivers running in 33 official races/splits producing 26 different winners. Nobody ran more races than John M King at 12 starts, claiming two wins in the process.  Mike Baures took the most wins at The Glen with three victories out of five races entered.

A tighter line rewards S.C. Sobrinho (#11) with a pass on the inside of Donald Pike (#13) at The Glen.

Week 4 appears likely to shatter all prior records for participation in the Mustang series, with the inaugural visit to Bathurst.  Early testing at Mount Panorama had drivers lamenting the damage on their pride inflicted by the challenging runs up and down the mountain: “Just purchased this track. Dare I say…WOW!” exclaimed Mike Baures, one of the fastest series participants. “Who cares about setup I want crash bars on all four corners. I completed zero clean laps out of 10+. Going fast here is certainly second to survival. Even when trying to be careful I hit something,” he reported.  It seems a little bent virtual-sheet metal is unlikely to dampen the excitement in Week 4, so all participants can find a track guide, setups, videos and other tips in the Series Forum.

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