Contact between Dudognon and Ventura on the race start: Dudognon had to retire.

Week Seven of the Classic Teams Championship took place at  the Mid-Ohio Sports Cars Course. The fourth American track on the schedule evoked different opinions from  CTC regulars, being a case of love or hate. Eight official races took place, with 78 different simracers participating in at least one of them. Among them, only six were able to win: Kalle Ruokola, Paolo Accurso, Gernot Fritsche, PJ Gaudie, Mattias Anreus and Tapani Linnaluoto, with Anreus and Linnaluoto the only drivers to win two times.

It was a great week for Linnaluoto. He had the best qualifying time and won two races, one of them the SoF race, where he also set the fastest lap. Sunday’s race produced two splits. In the second split, PJ Gaudie had the pole position and won without losing the lead, with Thomas Granbacka (second) and Tony Kloosterman (third) completing the podium in a race with 23 participants.

Meanwhile, the first split had 24 participants, led by Linnaluoto’s Ferrari. Anreus had the second place on the starting grid, followed by Michel Dudognon and Fritsche with Nuno Moreira and Andrea Ventura wrapping-up the third row. When the green lights flashed, a few minor incidents developed, but nothing very dramatic.  Sadly for Robert Plumley, Dudognon and Arto Ihamäki, however, the race ended before they completed the first lap. Dudognon made contact with Ventura in the Keyhole, and flipped out of the race, while Ihamäki had a similar incident with team mate, Marko Kiika. Ihamäki took his Ferrari to the pits for repairs, but gave up soon after. Plumley had to blame himself, after a strange crash on the pit wall.

Mid-Ohio produced many battles among the CTC competitors.

After that, an intense duel for the second place developed between Anreus, Moreira and Fritsche who came through the Keyhole three wide.  They reached Turn Four with Anreus in the middle, slowing down sooner, leaving Fritsche on the inside. Moreira would have had the upperhand on the outside as soon as they reached Turn Five . . . if he didn’t have some oversteer exiting Turn Four, leaving Fritsche with a good amount of room to carry the speed to secured second place. Anreus would spin his car on Lap Four, falling way behind to 17th. But he showed the competition good skills in a fabulous comeback and finished the race in seventh.  Fritsche’s intense pursuit of Linnaluoto lasted the whole race while Moreira (third) and Ruokola (fourth) would experience something similar during the 40 laps, before Ruokola finally fell behind near the end of the race.

Anreus mounted a remarkable recovery after this loss of control.

Ventura and Accurso also had a fine duel  for fifth place that saw Ventura commit a mistake on Lap Eight, creating an overtaking opportunity for Accurso. But soon Accurso would be in the same situation, at the same spot as Ventura, leaving his rival to get away with a valuable top five.

Ventura (Tyrrell) and Accurso had a strong duel for the top five.

Ventura recovered his fifth place after Accurso’s mistake.

As the race continued, two more drivers dropped-out as Allen Piercy spun before completing lap 16 and decided to leave the track, while Bill Fraser ended-up on the tire barrier, damaging his car.

Back on the fight for the lead, Linnaluoto had the constant view of Fritsche on his mirrors. The Lotus JPS representative didn’t give the Ferrarist a moment’s rest for 40 laps.  But it was Linnaluoto’s week, and it seemed that no one was able to beat the Finnish simracer. Fritsche ended-up in second place less than a second behind the winner while Moreira was a distant third, more than thirteen seconds behind. Ruokola came fourth and Ventura, fifth.

Linnaluoto won two times at Mid Ohio.

Coming next: Brands Hatch.

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