The Pre-WCS (World Championship Series) Showdown took place on Saturday with 30 drivers taking it to the track, and a good one third of the grid holding World Championship licenses. This was a chance for any lower-licensed drivers to race against these drivers as we are getting closer to the start of the 2014 WCS. Event sponsor http://www.v-racing.se jumped onboard and offered a $50 iRacing credit sum for the winner to spice things up. And it sure did…
With the showdown taking place in two sequences, the first race took place with the Star Mazda car at Watkins Glen Boot configuration. WCS driver Enzo Bonito showed the way in qualifying as he took pole position infront of Star Mazda specialist Marcus Hamilton and 2014 Pro Series Champion – Aleksi Uusi-Jaakkola. Petteri Kotovaara, Jarl Teien, and Joshua Chin, rounded out the top 6 for the start with still a handful of top drivers behind them. Eventually the race panned out into two halves, with a small gaggle of cars fighting for a podium position, and the rest of the field chasing down sixth position. At the sharp end of the grid, Bonito and Hamilton tore up the form-book and disappeared into the distance, with the former ahead of the latter, seemingly in control of the half-hour, 17 lap race. However this comfort zone came to a sudden and unexpected close on lap 13 when the Italian lost the rear of the car in the fast chicane known as the ‘boot’ and ended his race prematurely, promoting Hamilton to a handsome lead.
Teien made it past Kotovaara for what became 2nd place after a minor mistake from the Finn, whilst Jake Stergios remained hot on their heels for the entirety of the race just to throw a spanner in the works. Their battling allowed the second group of Cattell, Friskopps and others to close up, hoping for a mistake from either to gain positions. However the standings stayed status quo with the race finishing just soon enough, as Hamilton took the chequered flag with the rest of the top 5 putting themselves in good positions for the upcoming Oval race. Following them in 6th-10th were Robin Friskopps, PJ Stergios, Jack Sedgwick, Teemu Iivonen and Vinnie Sansone.
Time for the Oval race. Jarl Teien took pole position at Charlotte infront of Oval WCS driver PJ Stergios and Road WCS representative Aleksi Elomaa. Uusi-Jaakkola, Webster, Chin, Pence, Rosseno, Sedgwick and Letteriello took the remaining gridspots inside the top 10. With the pack so tight in qualifying, door-rubbing would be inevitable in the hunt for fifty dollars, and the race started off with two cautions during the first 20 laps, followed by a long green run. Teien, P Stergios and Elomaa swapped positions several times during the long green and put on a great show at the front.
With Hamilton buried down the field – Teien now had the chance to take the overall victory – until disaster struck when the Norwegian got technical problems with ten laps to go, just on queue as the yellows came out for the final time, this would however give the crowd a great 3 lap shootout to the finish. Elomaa, Uusi-Jaakkola and Palmer2 decided to stay out, while the Stergios brothers headed off in to the pits for fresh tires. An immense battle for the lead was now on once the green flag waved – PJ Stergios with his fresh tires made a daring 3-wide outside pass on the two Finns with 2 laps to go to snatch the win, followed by Uusi-Jaakkola, J Stergios, Elomaa and Chris E Pence rounding out the top 5. Hamilton, Friskopps, Dunn, Cattell and Lovett rounded out the top 10 positions.
The overall points would be a TIE for the win between Marcus Hamilton and Jake Stergios – but Hamilton took the overall win thanks to his 1st place in the road race, and therefore wins the $50 credits awarded by the event sponsor v-racing.se.
Final top-5 results:
Marcus Hamilton – 79 points
Jake Stergios – 79 points
PJ Stergios – 78 points
Robin Friskopps – 73 points
Simon Cattell – 72 points