Road to Pro: Jensen Prevails at Monza
December 21st, 2016 by Paul Slavonik
From the start of Round Six of the iRacing Road to Pro Series, the online race looked as if it’d be one to remember. With 26 cars taking the field in the top split at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Freek Schothorst was in good shape to continue his solid form after taking pole position. Cem Bolukbasi would start alongside with Mack Bakkum and Jamie Fluke taking third and fourth, respectively, ahead of Pashalis Gergis.
Green and Yellow
As the lights went green, both of the front row drivers seemed to have a bad start and were immediately swamped by the field as they headed into the treacherous Variante del Rettifilo. Losing multiple positions, Schothorst would go on to recover the lead momentarily before beginning a descent down the order. Unfortunately, the damage to his car and a later incident would ultimately claim him in the end as he retired from the race in 20th spot.
The field would continue to be shaken up over the course of the 53 incident-ridden laps at Monza. In fact, the only car to finish the race without a single incident was that of Daniel Bida who started the race from 16th to finish in 13th. For everyone else, it was a case of attack, defense, and survival on the high-speed straights of the historic Italian circuit.
One sim racer, however, was able to take advantage of the chaos going on around him and conveniently move himself up into the lead. That would be none other than Marcus Jensen. The Dutchman started the race from sixth and ultimately took the checkered flag with a nearly 6.5s gap to his closest competitor. After a rough finish outside the top-five during the previous event at the Circuit of The Americas, Jensen’s maiden win allows him to not only accrue 320 championship points, but to also assume the lead of the Road to Pro Series.
The only podium finisher to start inside the top-five, Gergis didn’t earn his P2 finish with ease. Still, the Greek has more than proved his skills behind the sim-wheel with multiple top-ten finishes in the Road to Pro Series with this being his second podium of the season. As the race came to a close, Gergis was under heavy threat from Kevin Ellis Jr.
Starting from eighth, Ellis Jr. took full advantage of the mayhem unfolding around him. Although he wasn’t able to grab the runner-up spot from Gergis, the Scot took third after he succeeded in holding off the charge of Bakkum who finished the race in fourth ahead of Fluke. Currently sitting in 11th in the championship, Ellis Jr. hasn’t been too prominent in the main split although he does have a win from a second split race at Montreal.
With six rounds in the books, Jensen’s win at Monza boosts him into the overall lead with 1794 points after coming to Round 5 in second position. Fluke moves up two spots to assume second with 1552 ahead of Bono Huis who was a no-show at Monza. Gergis’ strong showing puts him inside the top five with 1485 ahead of Bakkum by one point with 1484.
With the Round 7 taking place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the race for the top-ten who hope to claim their spot in the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series is getting close.
Be sure to check out the full race replay brought to you by Apex Racing TV here.