The iRacers converged on Road Atlanta for Season Three’s final round of the iRacing.com V8 Supercar Series by Bigpond Sport.
Much like the Las Vegas IZOD IndyCar finale’s celebrations were horribly muted by the loss of Dan Wheldon, this end-of-term party was spoiled by yet another motorsport tragedy, this time the death of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli. It was a dark week for world motorsport. As said last week, the whole motorsport community feels it heavily, and sim racers are no different.
Still, the V8 iRacers got on with business and with Madison Down atop the series ladder with a margin of 68 points to Mitchell McLeod, a solid result would secure his second title.
But this is sim racing, where real life tends to get in the way somewhat more than it does for the people who race in real life. Down was absent on work duties, so McLeod took advantage with pole position in Split One of the 7.45pm race, a whisker from Nfinity teammate Broekman. With Down’s points lead however, hauling him in would prove to be a tall order.
Cal Whatmore and Paul Larkin were having red-letter days, filling out the second row.
Next was Stuart Wood, Josh Muggleton, Samuel Collins, Richard Lock, Marty Atkins and series sponsor Bigpond’s Vern Norrgard in tenth.
The top three launched in grid order. Wood and Muggleton mugged Larkin and took over fourth and fifth respectively, shuffling him back to sixth.
By Lap Ten, McLeod had eked out a three second lead on Broekman. Whatmore was not having it so easy, being molested by Wood. Road Atlanta’s flowing curves punish all errors but don’t reward the pursuer easily. Whatmore got tail happy and all but left the road at Turn Two more than once, but Wood was unable to capitalise on the awkward downhill slalom before the back straight.
Muggleton was getting similar attention from Larkin.
“I was probably a bit kind to Rens in Turn One” – Mitchell McLeod
Further back Collins, Lock, Atkins and Hingston were spread out. Norrgard in eleventh was being harrassed by Trevor Johnson. Johnson almost pulled off one of those passes which took several corners to construct, taking the outside of eight and nine, dragging up the back straight to position himself on the inside at 10A, only to outbrake himself, run wide, and allow Norrgard back through.
By Lap 21, Whatmore had dropped Wood, who had in turn fallen into the clutches of the Larkin and Muggleton duel. In fact, Whatmore did more than just drop Wood- he caught Broekman.
Lock and Atkins were also hard at it, a squirming Lock even offering Atkins a free pass, but Atkins was suffering equal tyre trouble, so they elected to race it out anyway. Atkins prevailed eventually, with a slight touch into Turn One.
For an “uneventful” V8 supercar race, there sure was plenty of action. McLeod won by over 13 seconds from Broekman, Whatmore, Wood, Larkin, Muggleton, Collins, Atkins, Lock and Norrgard.
The second split was won by Warren Pead from Thomas Guerrini and Darren Smith. Split Three saw Paul Gallen break through for his first win from Yoon Ho Choi and Robert Northway.
RACE 2 at 9.45pm was basically the same suspects. McLeod started from pole from Broekman, U’Ren and Muggleton.
Broekman took the lead and was never headed.”I was probably a bit too kind to Rens going in to turn one” said McLeod, who shadowed him for the entire race. U’Ren came in third, making it an Nfinity 1-2-3. Cal Whatmore was fourth from Beau Cubis, Samuel Collins, and Jakob Fredriksson. Joshua Muggleton was running third until he looped it at the final corner on Lap Ten, running in fifth, but limping home eighth after contact with Cubis.
Next were Simon Black, Richard Lock, George Fullerton and Vern Norrgard.
Split Two was won by Bryan Godsall from Kevin Duwel and Trevor Johnson. Split Three: James McKnight, Todd Gibson and Andrew Cooper.
For McLeod, in the end, it wasn’t enough.”I thought I had (Down) covered at the beginning of the series, but he came back strong. Well done to him…”
1. MADISON DOWN
2. CRAIG WOODHOUSE
3. COLIN BOYD
4. ANGELO MASTRANTONI
5. WAYNE CULLEN
6. THOMAS GUERRINI
7. CARWYN MAY
8. PAUL GALLEN
9. KEVIN JOHNSON
10. SIMON WILLIAMSON
11. JOHN BRIGGS
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS SEASON 3
|22||David Jaques||1||New York||912||-839||16||4||4|
|36||Shane van Gisbergen||1||Australia/NZ||761||-990||7||5||5|
|38||Craig A Miller||3||Australia/NZ||748||-1003||14||0||1|