Champion Motorsports returned to iRacing with an exciting season opener at the famous Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos). With the exception of a couple first lap incidents, the racing was clean and quick. The Kia Optima and Mazda MX-5 drivers shared the road, in true CMS style, with respect and elegance.
Qualifications went smoothly for most. Newcomer Jeff Shuster suffered from strange connection issues which would later see him starting the race from the pits. Christien Hoogveld had no such issues and took the pole position in the Kia Optima class with a personal best lap time of 1:41.899 . It’s no secret that Interlagos is one of Christien’s favorite circuits to drive. Driver Kent Connolly captured second place on the starting grid with his time of 1:43.833, which brings us to Wayne Fitzgerald, or as we know him, “the Fitz”. Wayne placed third on the grid with a time of 1:44.011. John Paquin is a formidable driver and he wasted no time raising the bar. John seized the pole position in the MX-5 class with his breakneck lap time of 1:56.464. Newcomer Jarret Lawson, with his lap time of 1:57.751, would squeeze favorite Mike Ruder into third by a hair. Mike’s excellent lap of 1:57.883 was no joke and only punctuates how competitive the MX-5 class is proving to be.
The rolling start went off seamlessly as a colorful parade of Kias and MX-5s skillfully squeezed through the allocated orange zone. It would only be near the end of lap one that all of the race incidents developed at approximately the same time. The most dramatic crash occurred when Mike Ruder and Dave Slee made contact at Arquibancadas, arguably one of the fastest sections at Interlagos. Unfortunately this led to an extremely hard crash as the two cars slid uncontrollably towards the pit wall’s concrete divider. Jeff Shuster, who started his Kia from the pits, found himself with no escape as he plowed into Ruder’s MX-5. Due to the severity of the collision all three cars would not finish the race.
The Fitz had an uncharacteristic incident entering the Senna Esseand also retired. No stranger to the winners circle, The Fitz has taken the incident in stride and looks forward to our next online race at Lime Rock on the 24th of July.
John Paquin (MX-5) and Christien Hoogveld (Kia Optima) went on to win in their respective classes, each driving from pole to podium. JarrettLawson finished second in MX5 ahead of Donald Fryman. Congratulations to the winners and podium finishers of the MX-5 class! On the Kia front, David Hiles took runner-up honors with Austin Carver finishing third. Congratulations to the winners and podium finishers in the Kia Optima class!
Please join Champion Motorsports at http://cmsracing.com for our second race in the three part miniseries on Wednesday July 24th at the deceptively simple Lime Rock Park.