Ethan Grigg – Gault, the Eggman as he is now known, has done all he can to ensure that he has wrapped-up the iRacing V8 Supercar Series, with yet another win at the marvellous Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal.
For the eighth time in ten races, a full field of 25 cars took to the track at the start of qualifying for what would be a challenging race ahead. After a hard fought qualifying over the twelve minutes, Sam Sutton grabbed his first pole position of the series with a lap of 1:35.198. In second place, surprising even himself in the Sim Spec Falcon was Jason Dickson, just .007s off of the pole time in what was a great return to action for him. In third came Grigg – Gault whilst in fourth was the perennial pole man, Ian Ford.
An encouraging temperature of 28 degrees welcomed the sim racers as they gridded up for the 35 lap race; a pit stop would be in order with the addition of fuel restrictions meaning that strategy again would play an important part in the race. At the green light Sutton led the field away from Dickson in second place. No real challenges emerged from the pack early, however, at the end of the first lap one at the exit of Turn 13 – and facing the Wall of Champions — Mario Vlasic made a driver error that would ultimately end the race hopes of a number of cars innocently tagged by Vlasics error. Vlasic, getting to power on too early on the exit spun his car in front of the trailing pack causing a high amount of damage to a number of cars, whilst causing the immediate retirements of others.
The racing, however, at the front of the pack was really heating up. Dickson, after making a strong start was passed by Grigg-Gault into the Virage Senna Complex, releasing Grigg Gault to close quickly on the race leader Sutton. Some tight close, clean sim racing ensued over the next few laps, with the cars often side-by-side in what was some of the best racing seen this season. Eventually though, with a tight exit from Turn Two, Grigg-Gault was able to overtake Sutton into the entry of Turn Three where he capitilized his position through the Pont de la Concorde complex into Turn Six. Predictably Sutton chose to immediately pit where a good stop and a strong out lap might have given some hope for an undercut through the series leader. Grigg-Gault, reacting to Sutton’s pit stop pitted the next lap, and upon both cars being clear of the pit lane it was obvious that Grigg-Gault would be able to continue his advantage. This advantage was able to be maintained throughout the closing laps.
In the middle of the field there were some great battles. The battle between an ever closing Corey Preston in the Apexi Falcon and a struggling Jason Dickson continued to close up with Corey putting himself in a strong position in the closing laps, Preston though, with a slowdown penalty from a corner cut with three laps to go was unable to make any pass attempts on Dickson who would go on and finish both with a season high in third and fourth positions.
Beau Cattell had a quiet race in the SSR Commodore but was still able to pick up a strong fifth position. Series runner-up, Ian Ford, after a quiet week on the track with very limited practice continued his bad run in Montreal retiring the Demidov Innovations car in the mid stages due to car damage.
As the race came closer to a finish the battle between privateer Boyd, ERA’s Hamilton and SDC driver Jason Quire was intense throughout. In what was a clean stoush the positions of ninth through to eleventh. In the end, just the .09s covered the three in what was an exciting finish to the race.
Next week the series moves back to the USA at the fast, flowing Watkins Glen Classic Boot layout real favourite amongst the V8 drivers that always produces close racing throughout. Ethan Grigg-Gault, has not officially won the title yet, however, the odds of him taking the title are very short.