January 11th, 2017 by Paul Slavonik
After a long break for the holidays, drivers in the iRacing Road Pro Series resumed their quest for a coveted seat in the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series during Round 7 at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps.
32 cars took the grid for the 44-lap sim race with Mack Bakkum securing pole with a time of 1:45.307. Freek Schothorst had to settle for second by a mere .009s while Jamie Fluke and Daniel Arent Wensing would make up the second row of the starting grid ahead of Marcus Jensen.
The Man on a Mission
As the online race got underway, it quickly became obvious that Bakkum was the driver to beat. With early incidents taking out many sim racers including a few who started in the top-ten (including Round 6 winner Marcus Jensen), this opened-up the field for the front runners who were able to extend their overall lead over the remainder of the competition.
By the end of the race, Bakkum has secured a magnificent win from pole to checkered while leading all 44 laps along the way. To top it all off, the Dutchman also claimed the fastest lap of the race with a 1:49.377 to make it a bonafide hat-trick. With Bakkum coming into Round 7 in the fifth spot on the leader board, the win moves the Dutchman up to third.
Just under a second and a half behind Bakkum came Fluke. After starting from third, the Irishman strung together consistent laps and kept his McLaren MP4-30 in the front. Although he came up just shy of a win, consistency has been the name of the game for Fluke throughout the Road Pro Series. With top-five finishes in all but one round, Fluke will certainly be aiming to maintain his consistency throughout the remaining races and secure himself a seat in the iWCGPS.
Claiming the final step of the Round 7 podium was Radicals Online driver, Daniel Arent Wensing. Finishing the online event a few seconds back from Fluke, Wensing had a stellar drive nonetheless as he was able to improve upon his P4 starting position to grab a spot on the podium. Although the Brazilian hasn’t had the most consistent of seasons, Wensing currently sits 11th in the points with a win and a number of top-ten finishes to his name.
Despite not getting the win, Fluke’s runner-up finish was enough to elevate him into the lead of the Road Pro Series with 1851 points. Marcus Jensen falls back one spot with 1813 as Bakkum moves up to third with 1792. Pashalis Gergis (1713) maintains fourth ahead of Cem Bolukbasi (1636).
With just two rounds remaining this season, drivers will be looking to either improve or simply maintain their current positions in the final weeks. With the penultimate round taking place this weekend at the fearsome Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (commonly known as Imola), one can only hope that teams and drivers spent their winter break doing more than just drinking egg-nog and enjoying holiday ham. With no off-weeks for the remainder of the season, there will be limited time for testing and tuning for unprepared teams.