The eighth round of the UK&I Skip Barber League’s first season in 2015 took place at Montreal’s legendary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Championship leader Sebastian Job took pole position for the second race running with his nearest points rival Tom Ward sharing the front row with him, while Rob Cain took an impressive third in qualifying.
There was drama with the top three shortly after the lights went green however, as Cain made contact with the back end of Ward into Turn Two. Cain was trying to brake late for the corner to defend from Matthew Daniels but Ward was down to 42mph while Cain was still going nearly 55mph and the resulting touch killed Cain’s momentum while sending Ward into a slide. Ward came under attack from Daniels, but Cain lost positions to both Richard Avery and Paul F. Grillo (with Swirydowicz now all over the back of him as well).
With no damage to his car, Ward set his sights on regaining his second place position from Daniels, who had lucked into a double overtake at the start. Ward seemed eager, but stayed behind until the long Casino Straight and took back what was his, heading into the final chicane.
Surely Daniels would have known just how powerful the slipstream could be, and with Job pulling a gap Ward would be vulnerable at the same place where he’d overtaken Daniels. With a strong tow and the inside line for the chicane, Daniels retook the position even more decisively than Ward had the lap prior.
On Lap Three, Avery found Ward and Daniels side-by-side at the hairpin which compromised their run onto the long straight. Avery took advantage of the situation and relegated Daniels to fourth at the inside of the chicane.
A couple of laps later and with a sizable gap to the rest of the field, Job made an uncharacteristic — and unforced – error at the Wall of Champions. Slight oversteer at the entrance combined with taking too much curb in the middle, resulted in both of right side wheels hitting the barrier at nearly 60mph and, ultimately, retirement at Turn One.
Now in fourth thanks to Job’s mistake, Swirydowicz wanted to continue his upward momentum by taking third place from Daniels. Surprisingly, Swirydowicz forced Daniels into a side by side battle at the hairpin and the pair of them drag-raced towards the final chicane with Daniels claiming the inside line but Swirydowicz having track position. With some late braking Swirydowicz got the job done with less than half the race remaining.
As the field began Lap Nine, Swirydowicz was pressuring Avery for second place with the inside line for Turn One, but Avery stuck with him and got the inside line for the much slower and much longer Turn Two. Again, Avery got the inside line for Turn Three and Swirydowicz was forced to concede. His compromised line for the first chicane also put Avery under attack again though from Swirydowicz at Turn Five. Only Avery didn’t seem to notice that Swirydowicz had gotten his nose alongside of him at the inside of Turn Five, and contact between them sent Swirydowicz spinning into the path of Daniels and both of them were out of the race instantly (nearly taking Grillo and Marc Mercer with them).
After the crash between Swirydowicz and Daniels there was no more movement at the front as Ward won the race by just over a second from Avery with Grillo about another second behind Avery. Mercer finished best of the rest in fourth but was almost nine seconds behind Grillo. In the championship, Ward’s win combined with Job’s DNF puts them equal on points with 158 while Mercer remains the nearest rival on 120 points. Avery’s second place finish moves him up two positions into P8 and Grillo’s podium puts him in P10, up from P13.