As the old cliché goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.” Time has certainly flown for competitors in the RUF Cup. It is hard to believe that it has already been a few weeks since Julian Rodriguez Moreno was crowned champion of the inaugural RUF Cup, but here we are, two weeks into the second season of sim-racing, as we kick off a schedule loaded with new and interesting tracks for thousands of sim-racers to compete on.
The first week of competition saw the RUF C-Specs make their way to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York which offers a beautiful landscape that is a far cry from the urban metropolis of New York City. The scenery in upstate New York provides a breathtaking backdrop to the racing at the famed Watkins Glen International road course. The Glen has seen a few configurations dating back to 1948, with the first Watkins Glen Grand Prix taking place on a 6.6-mile stretch of public roads. Due to safety concerns, a permanent course was constructed soon after. The current track utilizes two layouts: a 5.43 kilometer (3.4 mile) Grand Prix Course, which utilizes the boot section of the course, as well as the 4.06 kilometer (2.45 mile) short course, which is often referred to as the “Cup” configuration.
Nearly 1,000 RUFs competed on the Cup layout at The Glen for the first week of competition, and the battle for the top spot on the qualifying chart was a tight one. Rens Broekman (Benelux) emerged with the pole position with a blistering 72.474s lap to edge Jonathan Fuller (Midwest) whose best proved to be a 72.502s effort. Diego Comuni (Italy), who battled with Rodriguez Moreno for the first season’s championship, qualified third with a 72.517 second lap. However, it was Silas Yip (Canada) who would steal the show, as he netted 205 valuable points for his win over Broekman and Ermanno Palumbo (Italy). Broekman had astonishing speed, but Yip held-on for dear life after taking the lead with eleven laps remaining when Broekman slid off track. All was not lost for Broekman, however, as his 195 points for second place could prove to be valuable by the end of the season.
For the second week of racing, the RUFs made their way to the Silverstone Circuit in England. While the RUF Cup competed at the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit last season, nearly 700 took to the National Circuit this time around. The 2.64 kilometer (1.64 mile) layout has only six turns, so a perfect rhythm pays off dividends. Instead of traveling through the entire Maggotts/Becketts complex, there is an abrupt right-hander after a quick “esse” which leads to the longest straightaway on the circuit, which makes it arguably the most important corner on the track. This time Broekman put it all together and came away with the W, capturing the most points (187) after qualifying second, just two-hundredths off of Jan-Paul Niehuis (DE-AT-CH) who won the pole with a 56.111s lap. Kristof Kerekes (Central-Eastern Europe) made the second-most points on the week at 179 courtesy of his impressive win.
With two very solid weeks to start the season, Broekman heads into Week Three competition with a 42-point advantage on Christian Koch (DE-AT-CH). This season’s schedule will be a fun one, as thousands of RUF Cup competitors will see action at a variety of tracks that were not a part of the inaugural season’s schedule; circuits such as Oran Park and Barber Motorsports Park. This week, the RUFs take to the new-to-iRacing Circuit of the Americas in its highly anticipated debut, where Broekman will look for continued success in his effort to build the points lead after his strong start.