Salminen Closes on Podium; Lotus Stretch Lead
March 26th, 2013 by JaimeB
For Round Seven of the Lotus Classic Teams Championship the field remained in Belgium, moving from the classic Spa circuit to the confines of Circuit Zolder. Most famous as the venue where the legendary Gilles Villeneuve lost his life, this circuit represents a huge contrast to the week before. With three tight chicanes and a hairpin, the average speed is a lot lower than at Spa and the chicanes’ curbs can easily cause a car to spin, so incidents are common around this tricky and technical track.
Once again Nicklas Lindqvist took it all in stride, scoring heavily and extending his championship lead but, in his wake, the battle for second looks to be getting more intense week on week. Ferrari’s Gernot Fritsche once again failed to score more than 200 points and as a result has increasing pressure on from the sim racers behind.
The ex-world champion hasn’t scored strongly since his 205 points score at Watkins Glen and on current performance may drop as far as fifth by season’s end. Tyrrell’s Michel Dudognon has been more consistent in general than the Ferrari driver and his 204 point score brought him to within 80 points of second place.
In fourth spot, Andrea Ventura scored strongly to keep himself in contention while Henri Salminen will, on current form, leap up to second by Round 10 of the championship due to two zero scores. Other than the two rounds he’s missed, the Brabham driver is the only sim-racer to have topped the 200 point mark in every race.
As the rounds tick off, positions tend to stabilise through the field, but Luca Zanetti made excellent progress after he scored a season’s best 218 points at Zolder, leaping seven places to 13th overall and must now be eyeing-up 10th overall.
Good progress was also made by Massimo Morselli, advancing four places to 27th and Nuno Moreira who gained the same number of places to move to P35. Moreira missed the first three rounds, his average of 140 points a round looks likely to put him in the mix for 15th or higher in the final reckoning.
On the team side, Lotus continue to lead the constructors championship and a huge 58 points haul from Zolder stakes them into a nearly unassailable 91 points lead. Brabham’s 44 points strengthened their grip on second ahead of Ferrari.
Behind the top three the battle for fourth is bubbling nicely. Ligier scored a solid 35 points, stretching their lead over Tyrell who were outscored, and caught up by, Williams GP in this second week in Belgium.
The field now moves to the United States and the technical, fast – and often blind — sweeps of Sonoma Raceway.
Bruce Poole images