Ehnström Storms to CTC Crown
January 22nd, 2013 by DavidP
Roland Ehnström stormed to an emphatic overall drivers crown in the 2012 Season 4 Classic Teams Championship series. The Swedish sim-racer won all but one of his races throughout the season and was a deserving champion as outgoing champion, Gernot Fritsche, struggled to come to terms with the heavily-revised Lotus 79.
With a couple of weeks to go and the championship more or less in the bag, Ehnström expressed surprise at just how well he had gone.
“Yes, I am very surprised, I didn’t expect to win this many races in my first season,” he said. “Coming from the World Championship, where a top-10 is a major achievement and a top-5 is like a victory, I was hoping to get some podiums and perhaps challenge for wins once I got accustomed to the Lotus 79, but I didn’t expect poles and wins on a regular basis.
“There are drivers here who have driven literally hundreds of races in this car in a dozen seasons, but the fact that the 79 finally got the New Tire Model at the start of this season, levelled the playing-field somewhat and rendered all previous setups obsolete. This no doubt helped me – perhaps it even gave me a slight advantage, coming directly from the Williams FW31, which has run on the NTM for a year already.”
Ehnström explained that he had originally not intended to compete for the full season but, as it developed, he realised how much fun he was having so continued. He stated, however, that he has no plans to compete in another season due to other commitments.
“A friend of mine introduced me to the Lotus 79… I was impressed by the small but very active sub-community that runs this car on a regular basis. So I tried the car with the NTM and was pleasantly surprised with how good it felt – definitely a big step up in realism compared to the old tire model, on which the 79 was much too fast,” he said. “The season started at one of my absolute favorite tracks – Suzuka – so I simply downloaded a setup off the forum, practiced for a couple of hours and then went to run a couple of races. One of these races happened to be the “Classic Teams Championship” race (Sunday 16:30 GMT), which I learned was broadcast on GlacierTV.
“I was very impressed, and decided to continue with this car for a couple of weeks. I was persuaded into joining the CTC and was assigned to the Brabham team, which was a great honor. In Week 2 I made four starts at Road Atlanta and got four wins, so after two weeks I was leading the championship and figured I might as well go for the full season.”
He added his thanks for all the background work that goes into the CTC and making it a success.
With an average score of over 280 points, 20 starts, 19 wins and 18 poles, the Scandinavian’s performance was utterly dominant and he rolled out a deserved championship winner. Equally dominant was the Ferrari team who put in a superb performance to finish 122 points clear of Brabham in the team competition.
The championship wasn’t all about one team and one driver as 500 drivers entered an official online race during the course of the season with over 100 joining one of the CTC teams and 105 putting-in at least eight weeks during the course of one of the most classic seasons the CTC has seen to-date.
72 drivers registered wins along the way, with record scores and strengths of field throughout the season. The highlight each week for many drivers was the televised race which saw the largest SOFs broadcast live by GlacierTV.
In the championship itself Henri Salminen rounded-out the top 3 despite a weak final week while the top 2 in the Aurora sub-championship completed the season quietly with a pair of non-starts at the challenging VIR circuit.
Third in that championship went to Kevin Law after an excellent season with a 139 point finally at the Virginia venue. All three finishing in the top 20 of the overall championship with Jan Wedin in eighth Tomasz Kozdron in 9th and Law in 16th overall.
In the teams championship Brabham’s second place was earned in the last round as Williams racing fell short of the Parmalat-liveried outfit by just six points after a poor round at VIR. In the Aurora series John Surtees, despite a non-score at the final round, took the crown from RAM Ultramar and David Price Saudi — the latter narrowly sneaking into the third spot ahead from Graham Eden by just half a dozen points.
The CTC was a great success this year with some excellent racing and with the series moving to seven days a week drivers are hopeful of the momentum continuing into next season.