January 28th, 2013 by DavidP
The 12th and final round of the 2012 Season4 iRacing.com V8 Supercar Championship took the teams to the UK for a visit to historic Brands Hatch. Madison Down’s absence from the final round meant Richard Hamstead would claim his second iRacing.com V8 Supercar Championship and join the missing Mr Down in becoming the second sim-racer to win more than one title – although he still has a ways to go to match Down’s five titles.
Justin Ruggier captured the pole with a 1:26.702 while Hamstead would start from second after posting a best lap of 1:26.751 with Mitchell McLeod and Scott T McLaughlin starting from the second row. Vail Riches and Shaun Kelly occupied the third row ahead of Michael Fabian and Joshua Muggleton, while John Emerson and Jon Latham rounded-out the top 10 starters for the final main race of the season.
When the lights went green it was Ruggier leading the way up front with Hamstead and McLaughlin in tow ahead of Muggleton, who made a great start and gained two positions before the Druids hairpin. The first person to DNF from the race was Thomas Guerrini who put a wheel off at the end of the back straight and lost control. Into Paddock Hill Bend on the start of Lap Two Muggleton got down the inside of Riches to gain another spot up and close the gap to the four guys up front. The action continued at Paddock, as Hamstead took to the inside of Ruggier to claim the lead the following lap.
As this race was a bit of an economy run, drivers had to try and save around 2.48L per lap to have enough for about a one lap flyer at the end. The biggest talking point occurred when McLeod tried to stick the nose of his car on the inside of McLaughlin into Druids on Lap Seven. McLaughlin gave him room but got a bit sideways on the exit after some incidental contact. McLaughlin was able to hold the inside line into Graham Hill Bend but McLaughlin tried to squeeze him a little to stop prevent him from getting the cross over. The resulting contact sent both Ford Falcons off the track with matters escalating further later on in the lap when McLaughlin tapped McLeod, sending around and all but ending both of their days.
While all those shenanigans were unfolding behind them, Hamstead was pulling a gap on Ruggier – a gap which would force Hamstead to try and conserve more fuel later on in the race. Come Lap 18 the battle for the lead heated-up as Ruggier made the move for P1 at the end of the back straight. A few corners later, when Ruggier thought he had got it all done, Hamstead made a late call and passed him right back. Undeterred, Ruggier regained the lead into Paddock Hill with 12 laps to go.
Meanwhile, Samuel Collins’ race came to an abrupt conclusion when he overcorrected into the wall once he got a little bit of wheel spin even as Muggleton mounted a late race charge to try and close on the leaders.
In the end, Ruggier held-off champion-elect Hamstead by .871 at the line with Muggleton’s charge netting third place, another second behind Hamstead. Riches held-off team mate John Emerson for fourth with Michael Fabian having a great run finishing in sixth position. Shaun Kelly came home seventh. Jon Latham, Carywn May and Matthew E Hill would completed the top 10 finishers, with May the race’s biggest mover and shaker, moving up a total of eight spots, from 17th on the grid.
Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall
1. Richard Hamstead – 2010
2. Madison Down – 1983
3. Justin V Ruggier – 1925
4. Rens Broekman – 1823
5. Vail Riches – 1736
Split Two Winner: Chris Luckey
Split Three Winner: Tony Clarke
Split Four Winner: Robert Cori
Broadcast done by the crew at www.v8sonline.com.au