Round 2 of the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series took place at Interlagos in Brazil and after a good showing at the season opener Apex Racing UK’s drivers look to carry on with the momentum from the opening round at Spa. Qualifying was filled with mixed results as all 42 drivers qualified within 1 second of the pole position lap time set by Hugo Luis, however only 35 drivers can take to the grid for the race and unfortunately both Antoine Higelin and Lee Thompson just missed out on getting within the top 35 drivers that ended up being separated by just .8 of a second. An iRacing Server fault caused some drivers to lose a lap to the leaders, 2 of these drivers include Greger Huttu the raining champion and Olli Pahkala, the fault also gave threw in another hurdle as most of the drivers in the field acquired a slow down penalty costing some drivers some positions. Here is Apex Racing UK’s Alex Simpson and Lasse Bruun Hansen’s iRacing WCS Round 2 Interlagos race report in their own words:
Alex Simpson’s iRacing WCS Round 2 Interlagos race:
“My expectations were pretty low going into this race. I have a lot to learn with the setup on these slow style tracks and the priority was to make it on the grid & finish damage free.
Qualifying: Rather than going for a 1 lap run I decided that the consistency was not good enough to limit myself to 2 laps. My first lap was a steady 1:11.0 which I felt was plenty good enough to get on the grid. I pushed a little more on the 2nd lap but a scrappy first couple of sectors meant it was only a mid 1:10.8. My final lap was going so well and easy on for a .7 before getting a tiny bit of extra rotation in the 3rd sector and aborted the lap.
If I was offered P13 at the start of the week I would have snatched your hand off, so pretty happy with that. Gutted for both Lee and Antoine who missed out this week. Less that 1 second covered all 42 drivers.
Race: I got off the line great but had to check up really quick with Steve getting some wheel spin in front. Turning in from the outside of 3 or 4 wide was bad enough but getting a tank slapper on the way in really got my adrenalin pumping.
Seems like it was only Yudai on a 1 stop in-front of me; which would play well to the 2 stop strategy I opt for. Had a great battle with a bunch of 2 stopper while we tried to make our way past Yudai. The 10 seconds we lost would come back to bite us later.
I spent the rest of the first stint behind Isaac and just waited for the first round of pit stops to come. I came out around a bunch of 1 stoppers but not as far up as I we were hoping for. Confirming the impact the 10 seconds had on us in the first stint.
2nd round of pit stops came and I picked up a couple of extra places and made my way into the top 10. I had Jake behind me some 3 seconds back. The car felt a bit pushy in the last stint and couldn’t lap at the pace I needed to keep Jake behind.
I ended up in 10th (11th) at what is my worst track of the season.”
Lasse Bruun Hansen’s iRacing WCS Round 2 Interlagos race:
“Qual: 1st lap 11.242 2nd lap 11.278 3rd lap 11.374
Had a surprisingly great first lap and was on to a 11.0 pb, but lost out in the last corner with a dancing rear end, which cost me .25 unfortunately. Still it ended up being the qualifying lap, as the last two had minor mistakes. Seeing that the qualifying lap was just .1 from my optimal I’m very satisfied with getting into the race. Only .15 of a second from the cut-off. Amazing seeing the whole field only covered by 0.8 seconds!
Race: Had a great launch off the line from P31, getting past several drivers before/at T1 as a minor crash also happened, and again on entry to T8. Michele Mancusi in front of me got stuck behind a damaged Yuho Abe just before the last corner, which meant I could slip by and end lap 1 in P25, behind Teemu livonen.
A long train accumulated during the next laps, and I finally got a good run on Teemu on lap 7. Unfortunately I overshot my braking point a tad too much trying to make the pass into T1, which meant I practically entered it sideways – a bit too much cowboy there! Saved it though and got past, as well as Mancusi who was breathing down my neck. As Jörn Jens had an accident in the last turn, I was now in P23 by the 8th lap.
Lap 10, Jason Lovett and Simon Catell came together after T5, and I caught up with another train right behind Ilkka Haapala, now in P21.
Lap 18, Ilkka got a run on Aleksi Uusi Jaakkola and passed him into T1, with me right behind. Aleksi got a bad exit out of T5 which I took advantage of, as did Marcus Caton who had now caught up. Marcus put the pressure on me for the next 5 laps, but on lap 23 he got the run on me before T4. I settled in behind and was not quite able to hold on.
Lap 28, teammate Alex Simpson, who was on a 2-stop strategy, came out of the pits right in front of me in the small gap to Marcus, who now pitted at the end of the lap, making it obvious to me he was on a 2-stop too. Because of the heavier fuel-load, I slipped by Alex before T4 on the next lap along with Mancusi who was chasing me close again. He later slipstreamed me on the straight, and I was now P17.
Lap 37, pit stop went well and I came out in P22 between Mancusi in front, and Christian Lorente behind. Had a close call as Marcus and Mancusi came together in T11, with Mancusi and me getting the better of it.
Lap 40+ leaders had caught up and the following laps was a difficult combination of racing and making sure not to get in the way of the front runners on different strategies. By lap lap 48 I was in P24, where Dion Vergers and Olli Pahkala came together in T1, right in front of me. Luckily I was able to avoid and get by. Olli was quickly up to speed again, and passed me on lap 50.
Laps 50-60, close racing with quite a few people on 2-stop strategies, including Andre Boettcher, Joni Törmälä, Mancusi, Dion and Kazuki Oomishima.
By lap 60 I had a good run on Andre into T1, but couldn’t quite make the pass as Andre made it stick very well on the outside. It was an intense following ½ lap side by side, until I had to settle in behind by T9. On the straight I had another go entering T1, this time on the outside, and then again on the inside of T4 without luck! Once again, Olli arrived behind and took advantage of the dogfight and slipped by. Spent the next laps right on Andres bumper, and now Marcus had caught up once again by lap 63.
Lap 64+, finally made the pass on Andre on the outside of T4, with Marcus following right behind. Fortunately Enzo Bonito caught up with Marcus, waving the blue flag, which bought me some breathing-room again. Was able to string some good fast laps together and pull an extra gap, before I had to give room for Enzo on the last lap. Finished this very exciting race in P20, which is very satisfying starting on the 31st grid spot.
Many thanks goes to the team again, and our sponsors! Also congrats to Alex for finishing 10th on this difficult track! And kudos to all the drivers in the race who I raced, high level of racing here, and a pleasure to be a part of. What wasn’t a pleasure was the server issues everyone experienced – sudden slow down, and leaders losing a lap is ofc. not acceptable!”
The team would like to thank its sponsors as ever for the support:
Apex Racing UK Round 2 – Interlagos Highlights:
Round 2 Full Race:
Racesport Pre Race Show: