Interlagos plays host to round 3 of the iRacing Grand Prix Series and all the drivers including those at ApexRacingUK eagerly awaited the new tyre compound that transformed the normally twitchy FW31 into a car that you can be super aggressive with and have a whole lot of fun. This improvment in the car has seen some new faces and some returning ones back to the Class A series.
What an amazing week that was at Interlagos! Had a few days in the very drizzly west country during the week, so only managed to get into the car for the first time on Friday night and start getting my head round the amazing new build and one of my favourite tracks of all time!!
Starting from 5th on the grid I was very aware of just making sure I got a safe first couple of laps in to try to make the most of being the highest position A-Class driver with only Daniel Lopez and Aleksi Elomaa (WCS drivers), Alex Simpson and Michele Mancusi (Pro drivers) ahead of me. Got a great initial launch off the line beating Mancusi to turn 1 but not good enough to prevent Christiaan Tanahatoe getting the jump on both of us and moving into 4th position! Ran a little wide through turn 6 and 7 not making enough of an adjustment for the dirty air of the cars infront and that allowed Mancusi to dive up the inside into turn 8.
End of lap 3 and Mancusi has a half spin exiting turn 12 losing him 7 seconds and moving me back into 5th. Elomaa was heavy with enough fuel to get him through the whole race and we had a fun couple of laps passing each other into turn 1 whilst Mancusi clawed his way back up to us. Mancusi comfortably passed me into turn 4 and then a lap later made a great move around the outside of the same corner on Elomaa, they stayed side by side all the way up to turn 6 when the slightest of contacts sent Elomaa off the circuit.
Once the pitstops had shaken out I lost out only to Elomaa’s no stop strategy bringing me home in a very satisfied 5th position after Alex suffered damage on lap 35 dropping him back to 6th position.
6th on the grid in a much stronger field, got another good getaway which allowed me to just barely avoid the carnage into turn 1 damaging a large number of the field. Managed to settle behind Jorn Jens until he lost the rear of the car accelerating through turn 3 damaging his front wing as he made contact with the inside wall. Rest of the race was spent trying to hang on to the back of Javier Soto (perhaps returning to run for pro) finished in 5th place 5 seconds behind for a bag full of points!
Starting 3rd on the grid in the ARL TV livestreamed SoF race, this time in an even stronger field with a good number of the Road to Pro contenders for the season all around me. Got a great start again getting up alongside Kazuki Oomishima round the outside of turn 1, I was happy to just slot in behind and maintain my position trying to fend off Tanahatoe behind. Oomishima was another on a no stop strategy and he struggled for the first few laps hitting his braking markers and apex’s. At the start of lap 2 he ran very deep into turn 1 allowing me a great run through the following corners and to the long straight leading to turn 4. Managed to get my nose in front at the braking zone and we went through 2 wide until Kazuki had to finally relinquish.
It turned out to be very important for my result to get by quickly as the following cars took significantly longer to get by the heavy with fuel Kazuki. By the time Muhammed Patel had managed to be the first to get by I had built up a 4 second gap. Muhammed was extremely fast though and he had caught and passed me (despite my protests!) by lap 22 and next my focus was on Samuel de la Fuente who was next to try to hunt me down. With him down to 8 tenths behind me with 2 laps to go I managed to pull out a couple of decent laps to hold my position and finish in an amazing 3rd position podium spot in the broadcast SoF race!!!
The week couldn’t have gone any better for me, I was expecting a drop week due to lack of preparation but ended up scoring 177, 211 and 233 points in my 3 races. A perfect weekend! Montreal could be very different….