Marcus Jirak and Andre Boettcher waged an epic dual over the second half of the World Cup Final at Road America. And while the outcome of the race may have been in doubt almost until the checkered flag, the champion of the World Cup of iRacing was not. Barring a collision between the leading teammates, the DE-AT-CH Club had the World Cup well in hand. And with fellow another team member Maximilian Vietmeier running third for good measure, the World Cup was well and truly DE-AT-CH’s to lose.
They didn’t. Even a bobble by Jirak in the final laps didn’t upset the DE-AT-CH Express, or Jirak for that matter. He rebounded from a mistake at Canada Corner on Lap 26 that put Boetcher in the lead to reclaim the top spot on the run to Turn One a couple of laps later. And with Vietmeier closing on the leaders on the run to the checkered flag, the trio swept past across the finish line in a victory formation that secured Jirak’s win and DE-AT-CH’s triumph in the inaugural World Cup of iRacing.
Jirak had controlled the race from the outset, starting on pole and jumping into the lead at the start. Boettcher commandeered second spot from outside front row starter Blake Townend with Adam Covell slotting into fourth ahead of Chuck Chambliss, Marek Synowiec and Vietmeier (up from eighth on the grid). Behind them chaos reigned in Turn Three as a multi-car crash decimated the second half of the field and led to the retirement of nearly half a dozen iRacers.
Lap Two saw England’s main hope, Townend, off course, requiring a tow back to the pits before rejoining in last place and setting off in an epic comeback effort. With Townend out of the picture, Jirak and Boettcher enjoyed a five second lead on Covell as Vietmeier closed fast, taking Synowiec in Lap Two and Chambliss on Lap Three. As Jirak and Boettcher disappeared up the road to the tune of two seconds a lap, Vietmeier made it a 1-2-3 for DE-AT-CH by dispatching Covell on Lap Seven.
For his part, Townend was carving his way back to the front in a charge that brought him all the way to second by mid-race, thanks in part to the fact that he went a couple of laps farther than the other front runners before pitting on Lap 19. Although he slipped back to seventh on pit road, Townend snagged sixth from Dave Hoffman on Lap 20 and passed Neil Stratton for fifth on Lap 26. And when Covell fell off the road three laps from the finish, fourth place was his.
Up front, meanwhile, Jirak saw a comfortable seven second lead evaporate in the pits as Boettcher closed to within a few tenths of a second. Boettcher shadowed Jirak for the next ten laps, pressuring his fellow DE-AT-CH iRacer but never making an overt bid for the lead. His passive aggression paid dividends on Lap 26 when Jirak ran wide through Canada Corner, handing Boettcher the lead. However, Boettcher’s straight line speed was limited by a damaged rear wing and he had nothing for Jirak when his teammate drafted past on the run to Turn One on Lap 28.
Although Boettcher kept it close, Jirak had made his day’s mistake. The lead duo was extra-cautious working around lapped traffic on the final tour, enabling Vietmeier to join them on DE-AT-CH’s victorious final run up the hill to the finish line. England’s Townend, Covell and Stratton also finished in line, with Ohio’s Dave Hofman the first domestic finisher ahead of New York’s James Allard with Markus Ager and Synowiec rounding-out the top ten and putting the icing on the cake for DE-AT-CH and England, respectively.