With six rounds of the iRacing Pro Road Racing Series complete, Luca Masier has now established a firm grip on the Championship lead following a flawless outing at Infineon. Competing on the long configuration of the virtual race track, the Italian claimed a flag-to-flag victory to share the top points scoring honours for the week. Following his sixth win from six starts this season, Masier now leads the iRacing Pro Road Racing Championship standing by 87 points, a run of form that should draw the attention of the current crop of iDWC entries.
“‘Save the tyres’ was my mantra for this race, so the hardest part was finding a balanced pace that allowed me to be fast without overheating the tyres,” Masier told inRacingNews. “I started the race trying to do this, and I’m quite happy of my result. In the first ten laps Jeffrey Rietveld was very close to me, but then I started to gain time on him, maybe because of his problems with the tyres. After the pit stops I tried to drive with the same pace, and this allowed me to go safe enough until the end of the race. Definitely one of the hardest races so far.”
Sharing the same score as Masier of 268 points for the week, Englishman David Williams brought his Ford Falcon V8 home to the chequered flag, despite an incident with his team-mate a third of the way through the race. “I managed to improve my qualifying time in the session before the race, which just put me in front of Jeffrey [Rietveld] and behind my team-mate Hugo Luis in the race,” explained the My3id Racing Team driver. “Hugo got a good start, and immediately started pulling away. My strategy was to be nice to the tyres in the hope that I would be rewarded later in the stint. This worked well as I began catching Hugo again after ten laps or so. Come Lap 12 and I was right on Hugo’s bumper into the Turn Seven hairpin, when he completely disappeared due to connection issues. I went into the hairpin with caution but he reappeared spinning away from me, as we made contact. I’m gutted for him since he was going well, but still, he had a reasonable result. I pitted relatively late through the race, which dropped me behind Jeffrey, Michael Hohenauer, Marcus Saari and Bryan Heitkotter for my second stint. I had fresher tyres and managed to battle past them in some great racing to take the win.”
Bryan Heitkotter worked through the field from sixth position in his best result of the week, putting him on the podium behind Williams. The California scored 253 points following a pair of second place finishes for the week. Taking a podium and the 239 points that came with it, Marcus Saari finished behind Williams and Heitkotter at Infineon in a thrilling 45-lap battle. “That was an awesome race today. Everywhere I looked there was action,” said the Scandinavian sim-racer. “For the first laps I was watching David Williams and Jeffrey Rietveld fighting in front of me. Jeff clearly had better pace. Then some laps later his tires died and I was the one trying to get past him. I then followed the Jeffrey train behind Bryan Heitkotter, Michael Hohenauer and Hugo Luis. A few laps later Bryan dives into the pits around seven laps before my pit window. I thought his move was clever because we all were clearly losing time, so I pitted on the next lap too. My stop went quite well, but I had some traffic on the out lap which slowed me a bit. When I was through I saw Bryan a few seconds in front of me. No matter how much I tried for the rest of the race I couldn’t get past him. David passed us easily with way fresher tires at one point of the race. I actually tried to get an advantage out of it and follow David’s move on Bryan on the inside but was tad too far away to get side by side with him.”
Despite earning the fifth highest total of the week, Rietveld failed to find any positives from round six of the iRacing Pro Road Racing Series at Infineon. “My race was the worst race ever,” offered the Benelux Club driver post race. “Everything went wrong…. I’m glad we have drop weeks.”
As the Ford Falcon V8 series heads to Road America for Round Seven, Luca Masier has now broken free as a Championship favourite, with 1609 points to his name, a lead of 87 over Jeffrey Rietveld. Rietveld has a 236 point gap between himself and the likes of Michael Hohenauer and Hugo Luis; however, Klaus Kivekas, Jesse Nieminen, Bryan Heitkotter and David Williams are all lurking in the wings with only five results for the season so far, and each of these online racers are looking set to move up the order when dropped results start taking effect in the near future.