Round Seven of the iRacing.com V8 Supercar Series headed to a brand new track to iRacing for this season: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (also known as Montreal). With the drivers now into the second half of the season, the championship is well and truly alive.
Qualifying was led by Josh Muggleton, following on his excellent form at Phillip Island to take back-to-back pole positions, with Justin Ruggier once again joining him on the front row. Richard Hamstead and Madison Down would start from the second row with the Leighs — as in Leigh Day (P5) and Leigh Ellis (P6) — locking-out the third row. Tobias Czerny led the internationals in seventh with James McKnight joining him on Row Four as Shaun Kelly and Wayne C Bourke rounded out the top 10.
After an exciting pace lap that nearly saw the pole-sitter bin the Tatts Falcon, Muggleton got the jump at the green light and lead the field into Turn One. Into Turn Eight for the first time, Down got a slow-down when he used too much kerb and fell back down the through the field. He compounded his mistake by earning another slow-down through the last chicane and completed an eventful first lap down in 17th place.
With Muggleton out front, if barely, Ruggier and Hamstead contested the second spot for the first ten rounds. Next time around, Hamstead locked the rears whilst trying to make the move on Ruggier into Turn 10. Accordingly, he went in so deep that Muggleton had to open up the steering and let Hamstead through to avoid being rammed by Hamstead. For his troubles, Muggleton spun trying to do the cross over, enabling Hamstead to take the lead . . . momentarily.
Into the final chicane Hamstead held the inside line with the following Ruggier pushing him along the straight. Both drivers lost control under braking, leaving a snakebitten Muggleton nowhere to go. Three wide into the last chicane was never going to work and they all had to drive over the kerbs . . . although they at least managed to avoid adding their names to The Wall of Champions!
Matters further escalated when Muggleton re-gained the lead from Hamstead through Turn Five into Six and Ruggier with trying to follow-through. Instead he over-drove the entry, forcing Hamstead off the road, resulting in contact and spins by both drivers.
Earlier, Tobias Czerny recorded the first DNF. Now the heavy contact with Ruggier sent Hamstead into retirement was well, soon to be joined by Shane van Gisbergen and Wayne C Bourke.
As for the sim-racers who managed to keep their Ford Falcons on the proverbial island, some saved fuel while others ran as hard as they could and pitted. Day pitted from second spot and lost-out, slipping down to fifth. In contrast, Down saved fuel and made it work, climbing back through the field after his first lap mis-adventures. Ellis made the pit stop strategy work – thanks to all the carnage – and rejoined in fourth place at the expense of Matthew E Hill who had spun on the opening lap due to contact and was doing a fantastic job while saving fuel.
In the end, Muggleton emerged from the carnage to secure another victory and keep the championship lead while the full-efficient Down saved enough fuel to run to the end without a stop and secure second place. The TT-R podium was rounded-out by Ellis thanks to a very strong run to third place.
Similarly, Matthew E Hill had a super run finishing in fourth with Day rounding out the top five. Ruggier recovered from his contretemps with Hamstead and Muggleton to finish sixth ahead of McKnight while Marlon McMullen held-off Kelly to maintain eighth and Beau Cubis rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall
1. Josh Muggleton – 1733
2. Leigh Day – 1541
3. Madison Down – 1500
4. Shaun Kelly – 1486
5. Justin Ruggier – 1470
Split Two Winner: Samuel Collins
Split Three Winner: Brad Smith
Split Four Winner: Henry King
Split Five Winner: Jamie Peeters
Broadcast done by the crew at www.v8sonline.com.au