Premier GRAND-AM Round-Up
July 6th, 2012 by DavidP
It’s been a busy few weeks in the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series, the sim-racing championship run exclusively on the iRacing.com Motorsport Simulation service. The 10 race series hosts digital replicas of the Riley Mk XX Daytona Prototype and Ford Mustang FR500S, on millimetre precise virtual versions of some of America’s greatest road courses, including Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park.
Throughout the month of June, the GRAND-AM-sanctioned championship has played host to several rounds, with visits to Road America, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With the season heading into its final third, every point counts in the chase for the $1000 first prize.
Round Five – Road America
It was Blake Townend topping the Road America leader-board, as he claimed his fourth and fifth wins of the season. Leading from flag-to-fag for both of his victories, the Englishman scored 193 points for his efforts, keeping Joao Pinho at bay and second behind Townend on the track and in the standings table. Championship front-runner Anthony Roselli was unable to add to his tally of two wins in the 2012 Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series , however, the American did score 163 points for a second-place finish to continue his reign at the top of championship standings.
Carving his way from seventh on the grid to the bottom step of the podium, England’s Andy Kirschetorte edged compatriot Mark Egglestoven to fourth in the Road America standings. Although Frank Sumfleth and Neilor Maurico ended the week in twelfth and fourteenth respectively, both sim-racers chalked- up victories at the virtual Elkhart Lake.
Ford Mustang FR500S
Extending his run of consecutive victories in the Ford Mustang FR500S class to four, Dave Gelink continued to dominate the top of the championship standings. At Road America, the Belgian online-racer had to work his way past Evan Maillard, who conceded his position at the front after five-laps, to finish an eventual second behind Gelink; a result that was mirrored in the Round Five points table. Taking a pole-to-flag victory in one of his two races of the weekend, Dan Rasch placed third in the Elkhart Lake week with 204 points, clear of David Jaques and Scott Michaels on respective 163 and 153 marks. There were Ford Mustang class victories as well for American Frank Convertino and Englishman Karl McGuirk, but the ‘strength of field’ adjustment sees them end the fifth round in eighth and thirteenth, respectively.
Round Six – Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen played host to Round Six of the GRAND-AM Online Sports Car Premier Series, and it was Anthony Roselli returning to winning ways, with an outright victory that posted him at the top of the weekend’s standings. A second place finish for Joao Pinho in the Daytona Prototypes, scored the Iberian 175 points, 12 less than Roselli, and 11 ahead of American, Doug Liere. Likewise, fellow countryman, Bruce Perry, claimed a fourth-place finish at ‘The Glen’ to place ahead of Blake Townend in fifth, despite the Englishman claiming an unchallenged run to the top step of the podium. Placing just outside the top-ten, Brian Irby was the only other Daytona Prototype entry to secure a place on the top step of the podium at Watkins Glen.
Ford Mustang FR500S
Continuing his relentless charge towards the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series Ford Mustang title, Dave Gelink put in a flawless performance at Watkins Glen to secure his fifth win of the season, and extend his championship lead. Continuing to trail in Gelink’s wake like a spinster bridesmaid, Evan Maillard once again finished second behind the erstwhile leader, on the track and in the week’s score totals. Finishing on the podium in his solitary race of the weekend, Scott Michaels claimed the third highest score in Round Six, besting Kimmo Suominen and Kevin Parrish. The Finn and American both collected top-five finishes, with Parrish clawing his way up from eighth on the grid to fourth-place in his outing.
Finishing sixth and seventh in the week’s standings respectively, Karl McGuirk and Frank Convertino were the final two names gracing the race winners chart at Watkins Glen.
Round Seven – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Heading the Riley Mk XXs on the Moto GP configuration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Anthony Roselli made it two consecutive weeks as the leading racer, as he sailed to a pole-to-flag win to take maximum points. The American’s fourth win of the season extends his lead in the championship to 203 points. Following Roselli to the line, Joao Pinho’s 162 points were enough to secure second place ahead of England’s David Ward, who was the only other race winner for Round Seven. Rounding-out the top-five at the Brickyard were American Scott Ford, and Brit Andy Kirschetorte, who scored 142 and 126 points respectively.
Ford Mustang FR500S
In a reverse of conventional Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series form, Evan Maillard claimed the top honours at Indianapolis, with a class victory in his only race of the week. The Frenchman’s tenacious drive around the 2.6 mile circuit, kept the season-long dominant, Dave Gelink at bay on the leader-board, and around Indy’s 16 corners. A trio of Americans occupied the remaining top-five slots on the Round Seven leader-board, with Kevin Parrish, and Matthew Davis taking podium finishes, whilst Frank Convertino secured a fourth-place.
As the series prepares to return to Watkins Glen for Round Eight, Anthony Roselli on 1370 points has a 203 mark advantage over Blake Townend in the Daytona Prototype Championship. Just 39 points away from Townend is Joao Pinho, who will be looking to close the gap, in the fight for the second place prize of $500.
With three rounds of the Premier GRAND-AM iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series remaining, Dave Gelink holds an unassailable 590 point lead, and the Ford Mustang Championship title and $1000 first place prize money, looks set to head to Europe. On 981 points, Scott Michaels will be hoping Evan Maillard’s recent run of form doesn’t continue and eat into his 84 point buffer.