During S1 2014 I raced in the Ruf Cup for several weeks until I got upset to be crashed multiple times. I left while still leading the championship and decided to come back to the series with even more speed and motivation.
I decided to run the series again in S4 2014 as I was on iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series vacation. This season was quite special as it was a 6 week season with only one drop week.
The first race week was held at Spa Francorchamps. Clear skies and high ambient temperature resulted in very slippery track conditions. I soon found out that low initial tyre pressure was the key for a fast and consistent race pace. I decided to run only one test race this week: I randomly subscribed to the monday evening 7:45pm race finding out later it was the high SOF race of the week. I started in P1, won the race and took the lead of the championship. This test race being successful I decided to run the full season.
At Mosport for the second week I ran 4 races. A very good setup with good traction out of the double right hander and good rotation in the downhill sections is key to low tyre wear and good lap times. I started the first race in 13th position without qualifiying, ran through the field up to P3 then crashed while battling for P2. After qualifying I ran several races with great battles against Karel Vorechovsky Kimmo Suominen and Maximilian Vietmeier for the lead. I was able to win the three subsequent races taking the best score of the week again.
Road Atlanta is somewhat similar to Mosport but requires very soft front and rear suspension to take the curbs in T3, T5 and T10a without upsetting the car too much. I qualified in pole position and I won all my races except the SOF race. During this SOF race Kimmo Suominen was following me closely for the most part of the race. Few laps before the end I lost concentration and Kimmo could overtake me. I drove on the edge for two laps to catch him and almost managed to pass him before the last corner. I was quite upset to score the second highest result of the week but was still leading the championship with a comfortable gap. At this point Kimmo had already taken his drop week but was still a strong contender considering his average points/week score. Sergio Avendaño and Renan Azeredo were just behind.
Interlagos is one of my preferred tracks, but I was really disappointed to discover that the track variant used for the fourth week of the Ruf Cup was the moto variant. This kind of layout with an artificial chicane doesn’t fit me at all. Additionally many drivers were complaining about phantom slowdowns. Therefore I decided to drop this week. Kimmo also skipped this week and with two drop weeks was out of the race for the championship.
The fifth week of the season at Bathurst was quite challenging. To be fast on that track you have to take the curbs and drive as close as possible to the wall. Performing a perfect qualifying lap is really difficult, but driving a race at full pace with the required millimetric precision is a real achievement. I started my first race without qualifying (can’t believe I did it again!) which turned out to be a mistake as I crashed after one lap while battling for P12 while Renan scored the best points of the week. I won both subsequent races including the saturday evening 7:45pm race. During this race I was battling with Karel Vorechovsky for the win. It was really close racing: we both made some mistakes, exchanged positions many times and ran through skyline 2-wide! This race was epic and I was really surprised to get no incident at all! Winning this race I scored the second best result of the week. At this point I had almost a one week advance on Sergio and Renan in the championship standing.
The final week was at Suzuka, a fast flowing track, where the slightest error would compromise a good lap time. After qualifying I ran three races including the SOF race sunday evening at 7:45pm. I won all three races, but the most interesting race was the SOF race. I started in second position behind Anthony Seminerio. I had in mind to pass him in the first corner, but he opposed good resistance holding the outside line. I followed him closely for several laps, putting as much pressure as I could on him. After few laps, I finally overtook him in the hairpin and quickly drove away. Again, I was able to score the best result of the week.
Having scored the best or second best points of every week there was not much suspense left concerning the outcome of the season: I’m really glad I could win this championship after a frustrating season 1.
As a conclusion, I must say that I was really pleased with the quality of racing in the S4 2014 Ruf Cup: side by side racing was very clean and backmarkers never held off the leaders. I also very much liked that in this series racecraft is at least as important as raw speed.
Thanks guys 😉