The Skip Baber 2k World Cup moved to Circuit Zolder this week. In the past few weeks, Mikko Nassi has been able to qualify in front and control the races from there. However, many of the championship contenders were ready to challenge him. The Zolder Circuit is a challenge both in keeping someone behind you and in keeping the car in one piece. The large curbs and tight chicanes lead to a lot of close racing and can spell doom for wings and noses if you step out of line at all.
Complete standings and results can be found at http://2kworldcup.com/.
Qualifying is critical at Circuit Zolder as it is a challenge to pass without risking multiple positions. The first qualifying lap saw Nassi lead with a time of 1:45.191. He was followed by Paul Grillo and Philippe Leybaert. However the second lap saw Ricardo Faria jump from fourth position up to the lead with a time of 1:45.156. Nassi made mistake on his second lap and did not improve but did hold onto second position. Grillo, Arjan de Vreede and Leybaert completed the top five. Behind them Angelo Cellura, Dekota Fripp, Chris Crome, Francesco Maggi and Fahim Antoniades secured the final positions in the top ten. The rest of the field was all closely bunched. The top 20 were all within one second of Faria on pole.
At the start, Faria and the rest of the top ten got away with little change. However, behind them were a lot of two and three wide battles throughout the first lap. By then end of the fist lap gaps had started to appear. Just behind the top six Crome and Fripp had an incident that sent Fripp down the field and created a second pack of Crome, Antoniades and Maggi. Behind them was a large group being lead by Matt Dafoe and Karthik Pai.
As the front of the field settled down and help position there were a lot of great battles happening throughout the rest of the field. Paul Malokas and Emmanuel Menendez ran side by side through multiple corners. The group of Colin van Raam, Greg Seitz, Frank Winter, Dekota Fripp, Will Fisher, Antoine Drouin had an epic battle between the first and second chicanes. Van Raam and Seitz entered the first chicane side by side with van Raam getting the better run and taking the position. However, Winter, Fripp, Fisher and Drouin all had good exits and they all quickly converged into a five car pack, with Sietz leading into the second chicane. The result was Winter, Fripp and Fisher entering the chicane three wide. Winter and Fripp touched and cut the chicane to cede the positions to Fisher and Drouin before they settled down again.
Leading into the pit window the lead pack had shrunk to five with Cellura falling behind into the group with Antonides, Crome and Maggi. Then on lap 11 the fireworks started. Entering the final chicane with Faria leading over Nassi, Grillo, de Vreede and Leybaert, both Grillo and Leybaert made mistakes entering the pit and collided with Nassi and de Vreede respectively. Grillo, de Vreede and Leybaert all limped into the pits immediately and Nassi spun but continued for another lap. Faria got away cleanly and now had a good gap.
This shook up the top ten and after the pit stops ended, the situation was Faria leading comfortably with Nassi, Leybaert, Antoniades and Maggi rounding out the top five. Behind them de Vreede, Crome, Dafoe, Grillo, Malokas and Cellura held the final places in the top 11. The top 4 were all running individually and were well clear of the chasing group that included the rest of the top 11. This group saw most of the action for the rest of the race. De Vreede was able to pass Maggi. Then Crome was also able to get past Maggi. Then with three laps remaining and Grillo challenging, Maggi spun and fell down the order and moved Cellura back into the top ten. This led directly to Grillo, Dafoe and Malokas battling through the second chicane, with both Dafoe and Malokas getting past Grillo. At the front Faria was able to cleanly finish the race and win by a few seconds over Nassi. On the final lap, Leybaert slowed and let both Antoniades and de Vreede through to give the final podium position to Antoniades. De Vreede finished fourth and Leybaert in fifth. Crome came home alone in sixth and the rest of the top ten came home as a group, with Malokas taking seventh, Dafoe eigth, Grillo ninth and Cellura tenth.
With the win Faria keep his season hopes alive, although with a few poor results to start the season he has his work cut out if he wants to battle for the championship. Nassi continues to finish well and has moved into second place. Leybaert still leads, but the lead is shrinking and he will need to get back to winning if he wants to secure his first championship. Arjan de Vreede moved into third position with his fourth place but is still in a close battle with Malokas, Grillo and Faria for the final podium position.
|3||Fahim Antoniades||UK and I||-17.363||30|
|4||Arjan de Vreede||Benelux||-18.791||39|
|9||Paul F Grillo||UK and I||-26.33||27|
|13||Collin van Raam||Benelux||-35.879||14|
|16||Rob Read||UK and I||-41.152||17|
|22||Aurelien Bonnet||New York||-51.196||3|
|26||Barry Morrison||UK and I||-00:01:16.05||7|
|28||Daniel Schwonek||DE-AT-CH||-1 L||0|
|29||Frank Winter||DE-AT-CH||-1 L||0|
|30||Daniel Nogueras Carceller||Iberia||-1 L||0|
|31||Ryan Devlin||New England||-2 L||0|
|32||Tuan Tran||Benelux||-3 L||0|
|33||Dekota Fripp||West||-5 L||0|
|34||Brooks Lyrette||Canada||-5 L||0|
|35||Mike McCormick||Texas||-7 L||0|
|36||Scott Fountain||Australia/NZ||-11 L||0|
|37||Henry V Brown||Brazil||-17 L||0|
|38||Julien Lardy||Canada||-20 L||0|
|3||Arjan de Vreede||188|
|5||Paul F Grillo||173|
|20||Collin van Raam||70|