The 2017 spring season of Skip Barber 2k World Cup got underway last weekend at Summit Point. The season will feature 13 races over 10 weekends. Two time champion, Philippe Leybaert, returned to start the defense his championship. A field filled with former champions, podium finishers, and potential title contenders contributed to making this an incredibly deep and competitive field.
With the depth and quality of the field, qualifying was expected to be extremely close and any mistake could make a big difference in starting position. After the first of two laps, the top three were Leybaert, Enzo Canta and Paul Malokas. On the second and most important lap the field changed significantly. Canta improved his time to take his first pole in the series. Ricardo Faria jumped up to second and Fahim Antoniades jumped up to third. Laybaert and Malokas fell to fourth and ninth. The biggest surprise in the top ten was Chris Malcolm with a great lap to start eighth. Overall, 47 of the 53 racers posted times within one second of pole position.
The race got off to a clean start with all 53 drivers getting through the first laps without major incident. At the front, the shuffling of positions got started soon after. First Faria went to the lead, and shortly after Benny Simonsen took the lead from Faria. The biggest mover in the early laps were Tom Ward who was quickly moving up from his 14th place start into the top ten.
An incident at the back of the top ten split the field, with the top eight pulling away from the rest of the sim racers. At this point the contenders were Faria, Simonsen, Canta, Laybaert, Antoniades, Ward, Rocha and Malokas. That wouldn’t change until lap ten when Simonsen and Faria came together and Faria was sent into the wall. This reduced the pack to seven entering the pit window.
The ensuing laps saw Ward complete his charge to the front of the race and lead the pack of seven. Laybaert was the first of the leaders to pit at the end of lap 16. The lead pack then shuffled more as Simonsen and Ward came together to start lap 17. This shuffled Ward to the back of the group and left Simonsen chasing a couple of seconds behind. Canta, Antoniades, Ward and Simonsen all pitted on this lap. Malokas and Rocha completed the pit cycle on the next lap.
Coming out of the pits, Laybaert looked to have the lead, but Malokas came out even with him. Behind them Rocha and Canta would form a second pack a couple of seconds behind. Ward, Antoniades and Simonsen formed a third pack a couple of seconds further back. This all changed when Laybaert and Malokas were involved in an incident on lap 20. This ended Laybaert’s race and put Canta and Rocha within reach of Malokas. This made it a lead pack of three and a chase pack of three.
Canta took the lead soon after and defended hard each lap. Entering the final lap, Canta lead, followed by Malokas and Rocha. The second pack was lead by Ward who was just over a second behind Rocha. The lead pack went three wide through turns two and three, then Canta took the lead entering The Esses. Rocha and Malokas continued side by side until turn six when they touched wheels and Rocha spun. In the second pack, Simonsen suddenly ran out of fuel, forcing Antoniades to slow and leaving Ward alone in fourth.
All this action gave Canta what appeared to be a comfortable lead with just a few corners remaining. Malokas continued on in second with Ward, who had passed the spining Rocha, now much closer. Malokas took too much curb on turn 9 and got very sideways. He saved it, but this allowed Ward to come through for second position. Meanwhile Canta started sputtering just before the final corner. Exiting the final corner Ward and Malokas both passed Canta with Ward winning and Malokas following closely in second. Canta limped home to third with Antoniades and Rocha coming home in fourth and fifth.
The championship now moves on to Road America for a sim racing double header on January 22nd.
|10||Arjan de Vreede||-18.887||31|
|14||Hector Pereira B||-30.469||27|
|17||Casey J Seymour||-37.956||24|
|32||Collin van Raam||-1:09.31||9|
|36||Rodrigo Durán||-1 L||0|
|37||Aleksi Kallio||-1 L||4|
|38||Mike McCormick||-1 L||3|
|39||Cristian Garreton Eissler||-1 L||2|
|40||Alberto Carmona Saiz||-1 L||1|
|41||Tobias Nätterlund||-1 L||0|
|42||Ryan G Walker||-1 L||0|
|43||Ronald Moons2||-1 L||0|
|44||Brian Doell||-2 L||0|
|45||Rob Adams||-8 L||0|
|46||Philippe Leybaert||-10 L||0|
|47||Cris Higgs||-12 L||0|
|48||Stuart Adcock||-13 L||0|
|49||Adam Blocker||-14 L||0|
|50||Andrew Procario||-15 L||0|
|51||Ricardo Faria||-16 L||0|
|52||Victor Mayorga||-22 L||0|
|53||Hector Balaguer||-23 L||0|