Juha Norolampi has won the sixth race of the 2015 ANZ Skip Barber Championship by twelve seconds from Evolution Racing’s Benjamin Smith at Mosport.
The much discussed new tyre model released before this round threw a spanner in the works, reshuffling the usual qualifying order and catching drivers out throughout the race.
Smith led the field away from Norolampi, Ian Bevan, Richard Craig, Colin Suttie and David Buda. He relinquished the lead when he ran wide onto the grass at Moss Corner on Lap Five, dropping to third behind Norolampi and Bevan. One lap later he would drop behind Richard Craig after a bold move on the run up into Moss Corner.
Troy Burgess was the first victim of The Esses in his Castrol themed Skippy, spinning on Lap Xix out of ninth position. He rejoined in 13th and started to march back up the field before another off track excursion which lead to damage, and he eventually retired on Lap 27.
All hell broke loose at the end of Lap Eight. Ian Bevan passed Richard Craig around the outside into Turn Eight, and the two argued the case through The Esses. Craig got too close through White Corner and sent them both spinning into the pit wall. James Keene and Colin Suttie traded minor damage trying to avoid the carnage. Bevan managed to limp home to finish on the lead lap while Craig retired for the second race in a row. Meanwhile, 100m back down the road Troy Duffin spun on his own through The Esses and collected the wall hard to retire from the race.
Norolampi and Smith started to break away, but the battle for third intensified as the carnage allowed Anthony Mancarella and Paul Wood-Stotesbury, who started 12th and 13th, to join onto the train. Kevin Wilmen was a little off the pace early on but not far behind.
The Esses saw more action on Lap 12 as Mick Grey moved to the inside of James Keene for fifth, and the two collided. Mick would spend some time in the pits and rejoin, but Keene would retire as well.
At Lap 16 Smith had muscled his way back to the lead ahead of Norolampi, Suttie, David Buda, Wood-Stotesbury and Kevin Wilmen.
Norolampi moved back into the lead on Lap 18 around the outside of Turn Eight, and he would maintain the lead as cars started to dive into the pits for their compulsory stop.
David Buda became another high profile victim of The Esses. The championship leader dropped back from fourth to sixth, but kept it off the wall to fight another day. Meanwhile Kevin Wilmen moved into fourth after Wood-Stotesbury ran wide onto the grass at Moss just before the pit stops.
Smith pitted on Lap 22 and elected to take tyres, allowing Colin Suttie to jump into second. Suttie could not hold off a charging Benjamin Smith on fresh tyres in the closing stages, and would drop back to third. Meanwhile, Norolampi managed to conserve fuel and get to Lap 26, requiring only a splash and dash to get to the end. His strategy created a very large gap following the pit stops, one that Smith could not make a dent in with the remaining time.
David Buda caught and passed Wood-Stotesbury on lap 30 for fifth, but would blow his engine on downshifting into Turn Three following a counter attack two laps later.
In the end Norolampi took the chequered flag at the end of 33 laps of sim racing from Smith, Suttie, Wilmen, Wood-Stotesbury and Brian Hender in a season high sixth, following a solid if lonely drive from 14th on the grid.
David Buda continues to lead the championship on 150 points from Paul Wood-Stotesbury (125), Benjamin Smith (99) and Kevin Wilmen (95).