January 16th, 2016 by Paul Malokas
The last two weeks of the Skip Barber 2k World Cup have been a display of domination by Mikko Nassi. Nassi has taken pole and dominated on his way to two straight wins. This week the championship moved to Homestead road course A and saw the return of former series champion Vinicius Rocha. Homestead road course A offered a different challenge from the last couple of weeks with very difficult transitions from the infield to oval sections.
As usual in this championship, qualifying is critical. The field is so closely matched that small errors can push a racer way down the field and limit their chances to move forward. Nassi set the pace on the first lap with a 1:35.244, he was followed by Vinicius Rocha and Jim Parisis. Nassi then ran into trouble on his second lap and didn’t record a time. However his first lap was fast enough to secure pole position. Philippe Leybaert came through with an excellent second lap to qualify second and Rocha fell down to third. Behind them Ricardo Faria started fourth, Arjan de Vreede, Brian Doell, Jim Parisis, John Keaveney, Ludwig Ghidi and Mickael Lamoureux rounded out the top ten.
At the start, Nassi got away cleanly and lead easily through the first corners. Behind him Rocha got a great start and passed Leybaert in T1. There was very little movement in the top of the field for the first few laps. The top 14 remained single file and nose to tail through the first four laps. This changed on lap five when Ghidi and Parisis made contact in Turn Eight. This cost both sim racers multiple positions but they were able to continue. At the conclusion of the lap, Leybaert got a great exit to the final corner and passed Rocha and entered Turn Two side-by-side with Nassi for the lead. He was able to complete the pass after Turn Four with Nassi falling in line behind. This left the top ten as Leybaert, Nassi, Faria, Rocha, de Vreede, Doell, Keaveney, Lamoureux, Tom Ward and Rob Read.
Heading into the pit stops the top of the field remained in line and pretty stable but some gaps had opened in the back of the top ten. On lap 13 Leybaert pitted from the lead with Faria following him in. Leybaert had a clean stop, but Faria was penalized and fell down the field. On lap 15 Nassi, de Vreede and Doell pitted. Rocha was the only racer from the lead group to not have pitted. Nassi and Doell had excellent stops and joined in front of Leybaert. De Vreede slotted in right behind Leybaert. Rocha pitted on the next lap and came out just behind Nassi but most importantly they were clear of the group of Leybaert, Doell and de Vreede. Behind the top five, Read and Ward were running together and then the rest of the top fourteen were in a larger group.
In the final laps of the race, Rocha passed Nassi and led for a number of laps before finally having to pit for additional fuel and falling back in the field. This left Nassi alone at the front to run an unchallenged last couple of laps to take his third straight win. Behind him the group of Leybaert, de Vreede and Doell remained together with Leybaert coming home in second followed closely by de Vreede and Doell. The group of Read and Ward raced hard in the final laps and swapped positions multiple time, before they came together on the final lap ending both of their days. The group behind them remained together with Dekota Fripp moving up a number of places but then running out of fuel in the final sector. This let Ghidi get away to finish in fifth place. He was followed by Daniel Schwonek, Keaveney, Faria, Paul Malokas and Mickael Lamoureux finished in tenth. Fripp fell to 11th and Rocha came home in 12th.
With his third straight win Nassi has taken a commanding lead in the championship. Kenneth O’Keefe, who missed this race, remains in second position but is now 37 points behind. Leybaert has closed in on O’keefe and is only a couple of points behind him in third position. De Vreede and Malokas round out the top five. The sim racing championship now moves on to Spa for Round Five.
|3||Arjan de Vreede||-2.523||43|
|26||Collin van Raam||-00:01:17.42||1|
|30||Tom Ward||-1 L||0|
|31||Rob Read||-1 L||2|
|32||Gavin Marsden||-1 L||0|
|33||Russell Clark||-1 L||0|
|34||Clarke Williams||-6 L||0|
|35||Markus Maier||-17 L||0|
|36||Jim I. Parisis||-17 L||0|
|4||Arjan de Vreede||124|
|12||Jim I. Parisis||63|