The DE-AT-CH duo of Willi Kuhlmann and Gerd Hoefferer made the early running in the first round of what will hopefully be another classic season in the SR8 Radical. Changes between seasons 3 and 4 were minimal with global tyre changes and a greater range of spring adjustment.
Kuhlmann and Hoefferer were separated by just two points and six ahead of Iberia’s Jairo Via and a further four ahead of UK&I’s David Burnett. In contrast to last season, when Division 2 drivers made the early running, all four leaders are from Division 1, with the first Division 2 drivers holding the next three spots in the overall championship.
Miko Harji, Ricardo Inacio and Ian Card are the trio leading the second Division with all three separated by just five points in what was a very tight first week of sim racing at Watkins Glen.
It wasn’t just the points that was tight this week, however, as the racing was as close and exciting as ever, as typified by the second online race of the week.
Allan Paterson made the early running, making a break from Katier Scott who benefited from a good start, and the mistake of second on the grid, to briefly challenge for the lead. Scott was soon under pressure and had Fredrik Rutgers all over the back of her Union Jack-bedecked Radical. Rutgers soon made a great pass to start chasing down the leader.
The pressure was un-relenting with Lobsang Jordhen now applying pressure, he made it past the UK&I driver after nudging her into a slide in the boot, but crashed two laps later in Turn 1 handing third back but the pressure was still on.
Roger Jakobsson, appearing to be running much lower downforce, made a fairly easy pass but was almost rear ended into the loop, so early was the Scandinavian braking he caught the UK&I driver out. Next lap round the braking lesson worked to her advantage and she was back into third and looked set to hold the position to the end, especially after Jakobson dropped back on Lap 12.
Thomas now took over the challenge and a mistake on lap 13 let him through, and on the same lap Rutger’s chase was rewarded when the leader spun away the lead coming onto the main straight.
The last few laps were calm after what had been a very exciting storm and classic example of top class Radical Racing.
Division 3 features another narrow battle with Simon Mitchell2 just four points up on Martin Petrik and five on Rutgers. The race of the week was clearly led by drivers who were making decent starts to their season as Willershausen led Division 4 ahead of Jordhen and Jarryl Bond.
Nils Ruwich took the lead honors in Division 5, eight points ahead of Carlos Lopez and a whopping 19 up Katier Scott. Divison 6 saw half a dozen points separating the early battle with Jeremy Meyer leading by four points ahead of Carlos Dacosta and Lee Ward. The UK&I driver was another to feature in the race of the week, although he had a much quieter race than the first four finishers.
Participation in Division 7 was strong and produced another tight points battle with James Davies3, Erik Haag and Wesley Winterink split by just two points. Casper van Zon leads Division 8, Wes Hurd Jr Division 9 and Drew Motz was one of only two drivers to participate in Division 10.
Overall the racing is as good as ever as the field stays in the North American continent to go north from the Fingers Lakes region of New York to the sand hills of Ontario and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (aka Mosport).