Round 6 of the iRacing.com Road Pro Series took place at the sunny Phillip Island circuit in Australia. With the weather conditions perfect for racing this 4.5KM, 12 turn track had everything in place for a thriller. ApexRacingUK & sister team ARL-TV were happy with the preparation leading up to the race and it showed in Qualifying with all the drivers making the top 20 on the grid, with a better turn out in the race. We caught up with Podium finisher Alex Simpson who took us through his races.
Phillip Island is a favourite track of mine and the first place I took the FW31 for a official spin, I’m not one for slow speed tracks but the mixture of slow and high at this place really suits me. We made good progress with the car through the week and were lucky enough that our previous seasons setup only needed minor work to rebalance the car for this weeks weather and track condition.
As always it was important for myself to get a good grid place and after last weeks shocker I was under a little more pressure to deliver a good time when it counted. Fortunately I got a very competitive banker lap on my first lap which allowed me to push hard for my final 2 laps. While not a prefect lap and some 2 tenths of my personal best a 1:06.09 gave me second place on the grid 😀
We opted for a long strategy this week as we were happy with the balance of the car in both heavy and light fuel. It would make us a little vulnerable the first 10-15 laps until the fuel levels burnt down but after than we had great pace.
I got off the line really well but got slightly bogged down in the second phase of the start, this let Olli get a run into turn 1. As I expected the car was a little heavy and with everyone getting draft I couldn’t keep Rocco from getting a run down the straight to move up to 3rd at the end of the first lap. I didn’t fight too much at this point it was just to early to be going defensive and felt I still could get the jump later on with our pit strategy.
It was a few laps later when a fast and what I though light, PJ caught up to me going into turn 1. I was able to defend the place but seeing Olli spin in front, I took a second and got out of the gas only for PJ to get the run going into Honda hairpin. Again I didn’t fight to hard feeling for sure we would get the place back as he was carrying less fuel.
Still in 4th with a little battle going on behind me I was able to settle into a rhythm. I was gifted 3rd when the leading car of Tommy Nilsson spun coming out of Siberia and from here it was just about maintaining the gap to the front two.
I slowly started to catch the battle ahead and the gap was down to 2 seconds when it appeared Rocco ran out fuel, I was able to get past safely but it let PJ slip back to 3 seconds ahead. I thought it would be pretty close in the pits as we were already pretty far into the race and he was yet to pit. To my surprise we hit lap 45 and we both pitted, remind me to give the ARUK pit crew a kick as I lost another 2 seconds in the pits and once again found myself 5 seconds back.
From here the race was straight forward, No point in trying to chase down PJ as 2nd would still net me 40 points and secure my World Championship license for next year. Instead I just maintained the gap to 3rd and played it safe.
Congrats to PJ for his win & Michele for his podium.
Massive well done to my team mates for netting some solid points and LJ who got his first un-damaged finish of the season.
Thanks to the sponsors, wouldn’t be able to do it without your help.
Precision Sim Engineering
GT Omega Racing
See you all next week in Japan.