Continuing his seemingly unstoppable winning streak, Luca Masier claimed win Number 12 from as many starts in the iRacing Pro Road Racing Series at Virginia International Raceway last week; a run of form in the virtual Ford Falcon V8 Supercars that will see the Italian become a name challenging for next year’s Drivers World Championship. From his twelfth pole position of the season, Masier broke away from the field after a handful of laps, to take the chequered flag unchallenged at the end of the 40 lap online race. “In the early laps of the race I took advantage from the battle for the second position between Joao [Vaz] and Matthias [Egger] and I gained a good margin of seconds,” he explained post race. “After that I tried to finish the race without making big mistakes, and since on this track it is really easy to make mistakes it was important keep a high level of concentration for all the race. So even if my race was not error-free I’m satisfied for what I did this weekend.”
Despite having to run three-quarters on the race with a damaged car, Matthias Egger was able to bring his car home for a podium second, nearly half-a-minute behind the winner. “At the start Joao passed me very easily and I spent a lot of time trying to overtake him,” the Italian told inRacingNews this week. “I was much faster but his car was very fast in the straight so I waited for an error. It came at about 10 laps and in the first corner I braked after him, I was inside safety but at the end I braked too much and the tires locked, so I pushed a bit outside and touched the front of Joao, damaging his car and mine. After this I finish easily second behind Luca.”
Earning a spot on the last step of the podium, Blake Townend had to defend his position to the flag from Vaz, who had recovered from his early collision to chase the Englishman until the finish. “I had a great race set up and I made a few changes to it before the race started,” the Radicals Online team driver explained. “The car was excellent and consistent, my lap times were pretty close towards the end with Joao pushing me to the limit just after I came out of the pits. I’m very delighted with third place, a fantastic race.”
The aforementioned Vaz’s race at ViR was certainly eventful. Following his collision with Egger, the Iberia Club member had several trips across the grass, but was still able to recover to claim his fifth top five finish of the season. “Quite good for me. Not too much time to practice but I think I managed a nice pace in qualifying at least,” Vaz shared. “In the race my tire drop off was just….impossible. I still don’t know how to set-up this car. I had two off tracks but I still managed to pick up fourth because Max Dell’Orco made a mistake in his pitstop and never got the chance to catch me again. I gained some vital points today, to get me in the run for the iWCRR which is my goal for this PRO season.”
Returning to the iRacing Pro Series following a lengthy absence, Dell’Orco secured a dramatic top five finish; dramatic because Dell’Orco had been running in third position until a mistake on his pit-stop forced him to fight his way back through the field. Entering pit lane bumper-to-bumper with Vaz, the Italian completely overshot his box and then had to reverse the car back several metres to get service. “I had not many expectations from this race, I just wanted to finish and try to get back a good race rhythm. I must say I’m quite happy,” Dell’Orco beamed. “At one point I was third and I was really happy with that place, but then a black flag for cutting and a stupid error in my pit (I was right behind Joao and the lollipop confused me) I lost a lot of positions and when out of pit I was ninth. I did three overtakes and in the end my fifth final position is OK. iRacing has changed so much since I left and I feel old now.”
As the iRPS heads to the Dutch sands of Zandvoort, Masier carries a 135 point lead over his countryman Egger who, in turn, is 351 points clear of Jesse Nieminen. However, Nieminen, Klaus Kivekas and Bryan Heitkotter have not yet registered a full quota of results, and will be looking to challenge when scores level out. At the other end of the scale Vaz, Martin Macjon, David William and Aleksi Elomaa sit on the cusp of the top 20 and could fail to make the cut for next year’s iRacing World Championship Road Racing if they don’t get secure some good finishes.