Entering the final week of the Skip Barber 2k World Cup, Richard Avery has already wrapped-up the championship. He gets to do a victory lap here while others fight for the final podium and top 10 standings.
Standings, results and links to video replays can be found at http://2kworldcup.com/
At Monza qualifying is not quite as important as usual. Every one wants to be at the front, but where you are within the top ten doesn’t make a huge difference. After the first lap, Philippe Leybaert, Avery and Enzo Canta were the top three sim racers. On his second lap Leybaert improved his time down to 2:13.975 to take pole position and was the only person to break 2:14. He was followed by Juha Norolampi and Arjan de Vreede. Avery and Canta fell back slightly to start in the sixth and fourth positions. The rest of the top ten were Brian Doell, starting in fifth, Paul Malokas in seventh, David Grunhill in eighth, Frank Winter in ninth and Matt Dafoe in tenth.
At the start, the whole field got away cleanly and Leybaert was able to lead easily through the first chicane. Behind Leybaert the field filed through without much change. In the following laps racers would start to move themselves forward. Canta took the lead to start lap three and Avery moved up to third. The top three had now created a small gap to the rest of the top ten. Behind the top ten was another gap to the rest of the field. To start lap five Leybaert, who had just gone back to the lead, cut the first chicane. While moving over to serve his penalty, closed the gap to bring the rest of the top ten back together.
While fighting for the lead on lap seven, Canta got into the back of Leybaert sending him through the first chicane and damaging his wing. This ended Canta’s day and Leybaert fell back in the top ten. This left the top four as Avery, Grunhill, Norolampi and de Vreede. They had a gap back to another group containing Leybaert, Malokas, Dafoe and Doell as the pit window opened. At the end of lap eight de Vreede pitted from the front group and was followed in by Leybaert, Malokas and Dafoe. deVreede came out in the lead of this group but Leybaert had closed the gap and was right behind. They had a small gap to Malokas who had a further gap to Dafoe.
On lap nine Grunhill took his turn in the pits and joined de Vreede and Leybaert on exit. Avery and Norolampi pitted the following lap with Doell following behind. Avery and Norolampi expanded the lead group to five, with Malokas and Doell chasing individually.
The five leaders extended their lead in the following laps setting-up an exciting finish. Entering the final lap Avery had the lead followed closely by Leybaert, Grunhill, Norolampi and de Vreede. By the end of the straight, Leybaert led followed by Avery and Grunhill. Going through the Curva Grande, de Vreede and Norolampi almost touched, costing them some time and creating a gap to the leaders. Leybaert maintained his lead through the Lesmos and defended into the Ascari chicane. Exiting Ascari, Avery and Grunhill came alongside to make it three
wide heading towards Curva Parabolica . . .
Into the final corner Leybaert held the inside with Avery in the middle and Grunhill on the outside. Avery took the lead under braking and tried to hold the lead through to the finish line. Leybaert and Grunhill both had good exits and were closing the gap quickly. It looked like it was going to be a three way photo finish but, inthe end, Avery held on to just beat Grunhill with Leybaert following closely in third. The gap between the three was only .02s. De Vreede came home in fourth and Norolampi in fifth. Malokas and Doell followed them in four and seven seconds later, respectively.The final places in the top ten were decided at the line with Winter finishing ahead of Dafoe and Dekota Fripp.
The race for 11-13th was even closer than the battle for the win with Tran crossing the line inches ahead of Mickael Lamoureux and Will Fisher. To be preccise, Tran ran finished .009s ahead of Lamoureux and Fisher who tied down to the thousandth of a second.
Avery didn’t need the win to claim the title, but it confirmed his form as the class of the field for this season. With his third place, Leybaert was moved ahead of Ricardo Faria and Vinicius Rocha into the runner-up spot in the standings. Faria finished with the last podium spot and Rocha finished in fourth for the season. De Vreede came home solidly in fifth place ahead of Doell who was, in turn, followed by Winter, Dafoe and David Stefanini.
Next season kicks-off in Week 1 with the oval at Twin Ring Motegi.
Final Championship Standings