Round Five of the iRacing.com V8 Supercars Series presented by BigPond took the teams to Sebring International Raceway where, for the first and only time this season, the drivers would be racing in the dark!  The old 5.95 km airport circuit produced some good, close online racing which saw the drivers having to conserve 300ml each lap to get home.

Madison Down would take the pole being the only sim-racer under the 2.03 bracket with a 2:02.556, half a second quicker than fellow TT-R driver Joshua Muggleton whose 2:03.074 was just .004s quicker than championship leader Richard Hamstead. TT-R made it a three out of the top four with Troy Cox qualifying in fourth place, with the first international — Curtis Chippeway – rounding-out the top five. Justin V Ruggier, Vail Riches, Scott T McLaughlin, Mitchell McLeod and Chad Chastain completed the top ten.

Down and Muggleton took an all TT-R front row as the V8s prepared to race into the night.

Down took the lead early with Hamstead in tow while Muggleton had a bad start and went from second to fourth as Cox jumped into third place. Back in the pack, contact between Chad Chastain and Brad Ryan saw them spin sideways across the track into Christopher Osborne. As Down lead the field into the hairpin for the first time Dave Newman got into the back of Simon Black, with Greg Stewart taking to the grass to avoid the spinning Black.

Lap Three saw some more action with McLeod and Ben Rothberg going side-by- side through Turns One – Two – Three.  Into Turn Four McLeod ever so slightly turned across on Rothberg but, with the latter still on the inside, Mitchell spun off and retired with steering damage. Lap Six saw Stewart try and go around the outside of Newman into Turn Ten.  However, Newman edged across under brakes and made contact with Stewart, sending Stewart in the tire wall with bent steering and, ultimately, back to the garage.

One of the biggest crashes of the event also occurred on Lap Six.  Hamstead got sideways coming out of Turn 16, enabling Cox to get a massive run to the inside. Unfortunately for Cox, Hamstead proceeded to lose it, making contact with Cox and putting him into the fence.Cox and Hamstead come together in Turn 16.

One of the biggest crashes of the event also occurred on Lap Six.  Hamstead got sideways coming out of Turn 16, enabling Cox to get a massive run to the inside. Unfortunately for Cox, Hamstead proceeded to lose it, making contact with Cox and putting him into the fence.

While everyone else was still in fuel conservation mode, Rothberg was charging through the field and had gotten himself into the top six with only a handful of laps to go and had a top five finish in sight. With Riches still trying to save enough fuel Rothberg went on the inside into the hairpin on Lap 16 and got the job done, As the leading “international,” Chippeway was sitting in fourth place.  But it was all about to come undone as, trying to conserve fuel, he missed his braking point into the final turn and went head on into the wall costing him a top five finish as Rothberg and Riches cruised past with one lap to go.

Rothberg and Riches enjoyed strong runs on the way to the top five.

So once again it proved to be the Madison Down show.   After saving enough fuel, he could put the hammer down in the final four laps and left Hamstead in the dark. At that, Down took the win by a little over ten seconds as Hamstead ran dry exiting the last turn but, luckily, managed to coast home in second place.  TT-R’s Muggleton completed the podium with Rothberg earning a career best finish of fourth place ahead of Riches’ freshly painted TTL Ford Falcon. Chippeway took sixth, albeit regretting his late mistake . . . but secure in the knowledge that the best part about sim-racing is there’s another race the following week!

Down had Hamstead covered in both pace and fuel mileage.

ANZ Motorsport drivers Justin Ruggier and Scott McLaughlin brought their cars home in seventh and eighth ahead of Samuel Collins with Michele Curina coming all the way from the last row of the grid to tenth!

Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall

1st – Madison Down – 1204
2nd – Richard Hamstead – 1192
3rd – Scott T McLaughlin – 1125
4th – Joshua Muggleton – 1028
5th – Justin V Ruggier – 1024

Split 2 Winner – Paul Gallen

Split 3 Winner – Aaron Wilton

Split 4 Winner – Stephen Jenkins

You can watch all the race replays on www.v8sonline.com.au

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