Following the fourth week of the 2012 Season 2 iRacing.com Star Mazda Championship at Oulton Park Circuit, it has become increasingly clear this season’s title is Tony Repussard’s to lose. But unlike the previous three weeks, Repussard was not the winner of the week’s high SOF race. Yann Sanchez, who entered Oulton Park outside the top five in points, instead took the honors.
Starting from pole position for the race was James Wyckoff in his first appearance in a high SOF race, ahead of Joao Rodrigues and Sanchez although, sadly, Rodrigues would be unable to compete in the race due to connection issues. Before the field reached Turn One, a crash effectively ended the races of Fernando Deutsch, Rafal Mroz, Teddy Tournois and Julien Flouret. As the destruction ensued behind, Sanchez made a quick pass on Wyckoff for the race lead while Michele Mancusi slipped around Wyckoff for third place. Not long out of Turn One and the former second place in points, Joshua Chin, found himself with a wrecked front wing after contact with Tuomas Turkki that sent the Finn spinning into the Armco barriers.
After the insanity of the first lap, the field began to settle among themselves. Jon Allott found himself in the tire barriers in Turn Five after going off in the high-speed Turn Four, almost collecting Matthieu Leroy in the bargain. As Chin continued on track with a damaged car, a line of six cars began to form behind him looking to pass. Wyckoff put himself in position to be on Mancusi’s rear wing entering the Knickerbrook chicane and made the pass on Lap Four to regain second position from the Italian. Joni Törmälä soon found his way around Chin’s damaged car, with Chin pitting soon afterwards to finally fix his damaged car.
Fredric Evers’ charge to the front after dropping a spot on the initial race start eventually stalled behind Leroy and Sebastian Hampf. Then on Lap Seven Evers found himself gifted a position from Hampf, who overshot the Knickerbrook chicane and had to give time back to avoid a penalty. The very next lap he passed Leroy in the same chicane with the latter’s subsequent loss in momentum resulting in Hampf catching up to him. Exiting the chicane the two sim racers made heavy side-to-side contact that ultimately resulted in both competitors finishing off the lead lap and outside of the top five.
Ahead of Evers, the battle for the lead continued as Wyckoff attempted to chase down Sanchez. Behind Wyckoff, Mancusi continued his pursuit of the top two until a mistake on Lap 12 put him into the wall after going too far on the slippery Turn Two curb. The contact destroyed the car’s left side bodywork and suspension, which left Mancusi unable to finish the race and with a 12th place finish that didn’t aid in his pursuit of Repussard in the points. Before wrecking-out Mancusi set fast lap of the race, at a 1:27.162, barely ahead of Wyckoff’s 1:27.187.
Despite Wyckoff’s hard charge, Sanchez’s lead proved to be too much to overcome and the French driver took the win by a one second margin. Evers held on to third position after the contact between Hampf and Leroy behind him, roughly five seconds back of Wyckoff to complete the podium. The drive of the race belonged to Törmälä who charged from dead last on the grid to finish in fourth after holding-off Joonas Nukarinen late in the online race.
Although Repussard didn’t score the most points for the week, he did take overall pole for the fourth straight week, with a 1:26.298. Rounding out the top five in qualifying for the week were Joao Rodrigues, James Wyckoff, Petar Peic and Yann Sanchez. In the time trial championships, Nicholas Bihan’s undefeated streak came to an end with Rodrigues taking top honors for the week. However, Bihan still holds the lead for the time trial championship.
After four weeks of competition, the standings are as follows:
1.) Tony Repussard – 797
2.) Michele Mancusi – 642
3.) Joshua Chin – 640
4.) Fredric Evers – 625
5.) Yann Sanchez – 609