With five rounds of the iRacing Pro Series Road Racing (iPSRR) complete, Italy’s Luca Masier sits head and shoulders above the field, following the online racing championship’s visit Canada’s virtual Mosport International. Securing the highest points total of the week, with a victory in one of only two official sim races, Masier has extended his lead in the standings table to 53 marks.
“The first laps of the race were difficult,” Masier told inRacingNews. “Jeffrey Rietveld was very close to me and and I wasn’t much faster than him. Then after the fifth lap I started to gain more tenths per lap and this allowed me to win the race”
The Italian has now collected an unrivaled five wins from as many starts and led 93% of his racing laps in the series, a display of Huttu-esque competitive driving.
Bouncing back from a relatively poor showing at Brands Hatch in Round Four, Rietveld scored 258 points in Week Five, with his second place finish behind Masier moving him back into the championship runners-up spot on 1288 marks.
“I knew Luca would be there so I didn’t have a chance for the pole,” confessed Rietveld. “I already decided at the beginning to try and finish the race in second because I knew that Luca would be too fast. I pushed him in the first couple of laps to see if he would make a fault. He didn’t, so after about five laps I decided to back off and drive safely home into the second spot.
Sitting in third just a handful of points behind the Benelux Club member, Klaus Kivekäs also took a podium second spot in his only 45 lap race of the week, albeit in a weaker field, which meant the Scandinavian took just 243 points.
“This time I had a good qualifying lap but going to the race I knew my race pace was probably not fast enough to challenge Jesse Nieminen for the win,” explained the Finn this week. “I was able to follow him for the first few laps but then he started to steadily pull more gap. I pitted one lap later than him and the gap was about seven seconds after the stops so I knew the second half of the race was going to be incredibly boring.”
On the back of the best result in week four of the championship, the aforementioned Nieminen has closed the gap to third in the standings to a mere seven points. The Scandinavian claimed the third highest total from Mosport International, after taking a flag-to-flag victory in his solitary appearance this week.
“I managed to get a really good lap in qualifying which put me on pole for my split,” Niemen shared post race. “I had a clean start and was sacrificing a little bit of pace at the start so that I would have better tires at the end of the stint, so I wasn’t too worried even though Klaus managed to stay with me quite well for the first 10 laps. After that though he started to fall back more and more, and before I pitted I had managed to pull the gap to about five seconds. The pit stop went with no problems this time(!) and I came out with a seven second gap to Klaus. The second stint was problem free and in the end I managed to win the race quite comfortably, even though the results aren’t 100% representative because of Klaus had an off.”
Moving into the top five of the standings for the first time this season, Martin Macjon took a podium third place finish beind Niemen and Kivekäs to secure 234 points and put the DE-AT-CH club member ahead of his countryman, Maximilian Vietmeier. Having collected 225 points in Week Five of the iPSRR, Vietmeier has bounded his way up to sixth in the championship with 1108 marks, an improvement of three positions in the standings table. Gracing the pages of inRacingNews for the first time this season is Hugo Luis, who is one of only two non-Europeans in the top ten this week as the South American sits 36 points adrift of Vietmeier following a fifth place finish at Mosport.
Despite the advances of Vietmeier and Luis in the standings, DE-AT-CH’s Michael Hohenauer remains eighth in the championship fight, following a top ten finish in his only race of the week, netting him 171 points. In contrast, pne of the biggest losers in the ‘top ten reshuffle’ of Week Five, Matthias Egger, drops to ninth in the standings after failing to make an appearance at the virtual Mosport. Tenth placed Bryan Heitkotter was also conspicuous by his absence in from the Canadian circuit.
Week Six of the iPSRR heads to Infineon, with the wheat inexorably separating from the chaff as the title fight and qualification for the iDWC hots up. Will Masier be able to continue his 100% record, or will the likes of Niemen, Rietveld and Kivekäs be able to halt the Italian’s charge?