The Skip Barber 2k World Cup visited Road Atlanta this week. The return to the series and win by Mikko Nassi, last week, has the potential to shake up the standings. However, Philippe Leybaert has had an excellent start to the season and is sitting comfortably at the top of the standings.
Standings, results and links to video replays can be found at http://2kworldcup.com/.
The series is using the short configuration of Road Atlanta and as expected the shorter lap led to a very close qualifying session. Dekota Fripp set the pace on the first lap, however Nassi jumped him on the second and final lap to take pole position. Fripp held on to second position and was followed by Nemanja Djurdjevic, Paul Grillo, Philippe Leybaert, Juha Norolampi, Lionel Gamet, Peter Classon, Barry Morrison and Frank Winter in the top ten.
At the start, the field got away cleanly. Nassi was able to hold position and the entire field made it through the first few corners without an incident. For the first few laps the top of the field stayed in formation and the only change was a gap opening between Leybaert in fifth and Norolampi in 6th. At the tail end of the top ten changes were happening. Morrison was struggling and Ricardo Faria was charging through the field from his 17th starting position. After the first seven laps he had moved himself into eighth place. However, the fight to get to this point had opened a gap up to the top racers. The top five remained Nassi, Fripp, Djurdjevic, Grillo and Leybaert. They were still followed by the chasing Norolampi and Gamet and then a small gap to the group containing Faria, Winter, Paul Malokas, Tom Ward, Classon and Morrison.
The pit window at Road Atlanta Short is bigger than normal and leads to some interesting strategy. From the top 10 only Malokas pitted at the earliest opportunity. He was followed by Norolapi a lap later. From the group of the top five. Fripp, who had taken the lead, was the first to pit on lap 20. However he had a slow stop and was chased closely out of the pits by Faria. Lap 21 saw Grillo, Leybaert and Djurdjevic all pit together. Leybaert came out ahead followed by Grillo and Djurdjevic. Nassi has chosen to stay out until the end of lap 22 and was sputtering by the time he made it to his pit stall. All of this action shook up the top of the field. Leybaert was now the leader and was followed closely by Grillo. Then there was a two second gap to a group containing Nassi, Fripp, Faria and Djurdjevic. For the next series of laps these group inched closer together. Leybaert and Grillo swapped places and the group behind stayed in formation behind Nassi. At the end of lap 30 this all changed. Leybaert passed Grillo and Nassi had bridged the gap and was just behind Grillo. After being passed Grillo had a poor run through the first sector of the following lap and ended up side by side with Nassil. They touched wheels in turn three and Grillo was sent tumbling off track. Grillo was able to rejoin in the gap behind the group but was now out of contention. This opened up a gap to Leybaert in the lead and started a battle within the group of Nassi, Fripp, Faria and Djurdjevic. On the start of the next lap Nassi and Fripp came together and crashed, taking Faria with them and slowing Djurdjevic.
This ensured that Leybaert had a comfortable gap and could coast to the win. Djurdjevic came home alone in second and was followed by Gamet, Winter and Ward in the top five. Behind them Matt Dafoe, Brian Doell, Karthik Pai, Grillo and Duncan Coppedge rounded out the top ten. Faria, Nassi and Fripp all finished more than a lap down and outside the top 20. Leybaert’s win and poor results from almost everyone challenging him puts him in a dominating position 1/3 of the way through the season. Nassi has put himself in a difficult position with his third week with either no or very low points. The rest of the possible contenders have all put them into difficult positions and will have to have a great rest of the season or see Leybaert struggle to have a chance to challenge for the title.
|5||Tom Ward||UK and I||-24.69||24|
|9||Paul F Grillo||UK and I||-32.895||30|
|11||Aurelien Bonnet||New York||-33.883||18|
|13||Arjan de Vreede||Benelux||-36.616||20|
|14||Gavin Marsden||UK and I||-37.324||11|
|17||Barry Morrison||UK and I||-47.979||16|
|20||Fahim Antoniades||UK and I||-53.211||9|
|23||Rich Jones||UK and I||-56.309||10|
|26||Rees Gould||California||-1 L||0|
|27||Neal Kemp||California||-1 L||6|
|28||David Stefanini||Italy||-1 L||5|
|29||Tuan Tran||Benelux||-1 L||0|
|30||Ricardo Faria||Iberia||-2 L||0|
|31||Ryan Devlin||New England||-2 L||0|
|32||Dekota Fripp||West||-3 L||5|
|33||Mikko Nässi||Finland||-4 L||6|
|34||Collin van Raam||Benelux||-5 L||0|
|35||Thibault Soubeyrand||UK and I||-7 L||0|
|36||Paul Malokas||Northwest||-8 L||0|
|37||Daniel Nogueras Carceller||Iberia||-10 L||0|
|38||Mike McCormick||Texas||-14 L||0|
|39||Edward Cavalier||Texas||-15 L||0|
|40||Juan Luis Alfaro||Iberia||-36 L||0|
|2||Paul F Grillo||94||94|
|3||Arjan de Vreede||97||87|
|18||Collin van Raam||56||56|