A visit to Lime Rock Park for the tenth and final round of Premier Grand-Am iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series last weekend heralded the crowning of two champions in the mixed class online racing series: Anthony Roselli (Daytona Prototypes) and Dave Gelink (Mustang FR500S). With nearly $3500 in total prize money on the line, this year’s GRAND-AM-sanctioned series proved to be as competitive as ever, with a host of sim racer collecting wins in each class over the course of the season.
Fittingly, Roselli powered to the front of the DP class after 114 laps of racing at Lime Rock. Although it was his eighth win of the season, the New York based sim-racer had to work hard to finish at the front, after dropping from first to twelfth after 18 laps following an off-course adventure. After repairing to pit lane, Roselli clawed his way back up the field and with 86 laps on the board, moved back into the lead. Putting on a faultless drive for the last quarter of the race, the American was able to broke free of Kiddhy Engström to claim victory by a margin of 16 seconds. Roselli’s comeback denied Engström, who led the lion share of the race laps, his second outright victory of the season, although it did earn him 128 points for his efforts.
Struggling to bag a top-ten finish in the same race as Roselli and Engström, American Jason Dunnington made up for the disappointment with a pole-to-flag win in his second race of the weekend. The 125 points scored by Dunnington was enough to finish the weekend in third position, ahead of Scott Ford and Bryan Goddard, who both finished on the podium in their respective races.
The third winner of the final round of the Premier GRAND-AM Series was Christopher Hall, who marked an impressive début in the championship at Lime Rock Park, and placed eleventh for the weekend. The Floridian started his victorious race in fifth position, but within 20 laps of the green flag, he was into the lead as many of those ahead fell by the wayside. From that point, the American never looked back, and cruised to the finish line, three laps clear of the field.
With an unparalleled eight wins from 13 starts, Roselli walks away with the 2012 GRAND-AM iRacing Premier Series title, and $1000 in cash. Amazingly, his run to the title saw the American lead more than 50% of the laps in the races he’s competed in and claim the crown by a margin of 298 points. Although Joao Pinho failed to finish on the top step of the podium in any of the 2012 Premier Series races, consistent results in the top-five saw him claim $500 as runner-up in the points.
Safe in the knowledge that his third place in the championship was secure, England’s Blake Townend chose not to appear in the final round at Lime Rock Park, and finishes the 2012 season, on 1226 points, 221 adrift of Pinho, but 164 clear of the fourth placed DP entry of Kiddhy Ehgstrom. As a result, Townend bags a $250 from his six Daytona Prototype wins in thirteen starts.
Ford Mustang FR500S
With an unrivalled six Ford Mustang class wins to his name, Gelink retained the series title that he secured last year in similarly dominant fashion. Such was the Belgium-based online racer’s firm stranglehold on the standings, he could even afford to miss two rounds of the championship, as he amassed 1681 and claimed the $1000 first prize. Gelink was far from the only driver to enjoy success as Evan Maillard won 50% of his races and finished as runner-up on 1260 points and takes home $500 for his efforts.
With the front-running Ford Mustang protagonists absent from proceedings, Lime Rock offered an opportunity for some new names to chalk a one up in the wins column for the final round of series. Top of the pile was David Jaques, who claimed maximum points for an unfettered run to the chequered flag in his only race of the week. Starting from the second row, the American made a move on Darren Jump in the opening lap, before taking the class lead from Edmund Friedman on Lap Five. From there, Jaques never looked back, and secured the Mustang victory with several laps advantage under his belt. What’s more, Jaques’ win enabled him to edge-out Scott Michaels for third place in the overall standings (and the $250 prize) by a mere 53 points.
Australian Nick Brennan cruised from the green flag to the chequered in his 90 lap run to the top step of the podium, in just his second race of the series – earmarking him as a name to watch for in future sports car racing. The third and final name tasting the spoils of a Ford Mustang victory was Warrick Szpak, who was making his Premier GRAND-AM series debut at Lime Rock Park. The Antipodean certainly had his hands full, as he played out a race long battle with Volyka Csaba, Chris Barnes, Matthew Stuart and Mikael Gustafsson before getting his hands on his inaugural championship victory in the final event of an eventful 2012 Premier Grand-Am iRacing.com Online Sports Car Series.