The Skip Barber 2k World Cup started Season 4 on Sunday with a unique venue: the oval at Twin Ring Motegi. This was the first time the championship has visited an oval circuit. As expected this added quite a bit of intrigue to the event and shook up the standings. A strong field of 38 started, but defending champion Richard Avery was not taking part.
Standings, results and links to video replays can be found at http://2kworldcup.com/.
With very hot conditions and a strong southerly wind, the track was more challenging than normal. This was done intentionally by the organizers to make qualifying and racing more challenging for the low power car. Qualifying was over quickly with teammates Will Fisher and Rob Read taking the top two spots. Behind them the rest of the top 10 were Philippe Leybaert, Fahim Antoniades, Paul Malokas, Brian Doell, Matt Dafoe, Niklas Hjelm, Peter Cowan and Brooks Lyrette. The top ten were separated by 0.272 seconds and everyone that posted a time was within a second of pole position.
At the start, the whole field was able to get away cleanly with the teammates Fisher and Read entering turn 1 leading, however by the entry to turn three the leaders were four wide. This fight continued through to turn 1 where Malokas was able to get a run on the inside to take the lead. This was quickly followed by the first caution due to Leybaert being involved in an incident. He was forced to pit for repairs.
After restart the lead was swapped a few times before Antoniades came out ahead when the next caution period began on lap 12. This led to the start of the pit strategies going into effect. With a full tank lasting 26 laps and 33 remaining, it was a risk to pit early, but many of racers towards the back of the race took the opportunity to pit and fill up. None of the top ten pitted. This was followed by a short stint of green and another caution on lap 17. This caution period saw many of the leaders pit, shuffling up the field with many different fuel strategies.
Going green again to start lap 21, Antoniades was the leader, with Aurelien Bonnet, Hjelm, Ricardo Faria and Daniel Nogueras Carceller in the top 5. This was the start of the longest stretch of green flag racing before another caution stopped the tun at the end of lap 27. Bonnet was the leader but pitted for fuel. This shuffled the field again with Leybaert taking over the lead and David Grunhill, Malokas, Doell and Dafoe completing the top five. At the restart another incident caused another caution before the leaders reached the line. Leybaert pitted under this caution, moving Yann Laprevotte into the top five.
Another short stint of green flag sim racing led to the final caution of the day and setup a one lap shootout for the win. The top five were Laprevotte, Grunhill, Doell, Chris McGowen and Malokas. At the restart Laprevotte maintained the lead but was being chased by a swarm of cars that were three and four wide through turns one and two. On the entry to turn three, Doell took the lead with Laprovette maintaining the inside line following closely. On the exit of turn four Laprovette was able to pull past Doell to take the win. Doell held on to second with McGowen, Peter Cowan and Paul Malokas making it five wide at the line. The gap from first to fifth place was just 0.068 seconds. The rest of the top ten were Neal Kemp, Karthik Pai, Martin Peck, Thibault Soubeyrand and Brooks Lyrette.
The win was Laprovette’s best ever 2k finish and is a great start to the season. The results will also shake up the standings for the early part of the season. Doell was the only sim racer from last season’s top ten to finish in the top ten. The 2k World cup now moves on to Lime Rock Park this Sunday for a more traditional road race.
Race Results and Championship Standings:
|4||Peter Cowan||UK and I||-0.042||39|
|8||Martin Peck||UK and I||-0.862||30|
|9||Thibault Soubeyrand||UK and I||-0.887||28|
|11||Collin van Raam||Benelux||-0.942||24|
|14||Ryan Devlin||New England||-1.744||19|
|19||Barry Morrison||UK and I||-2.327||14|
|22||Daniel de Vos||DE-AT-CH||-2.907||11|
|23||Arjan de Vreede||Benelux||-4.045||10|
|25||Rob Read||UK and I||-6.07||12|
|31||Aurelien Bonnet||New York||-40.214||2|
|32||Daniel Nogueras Carceller||Iberia||-41.535||1|
|35||David Grunill||UK and I||-1 L||0|
|36||Fahim Antoniades||UK and I||-1 L||2|
|37||Mickael Lamoureux||France||-5 L||0|
|38||Rich Jones||UK and I||-17 L||0|