The iWCGPS circus made it’s way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to Road America for the fourth round of the championship. After a bitter-sweet showing in Montréal three weeks ago, it was time for the team to show it’s pace once more.
After the RaceSpot support races, it was time for qualifying. A great effort from French man Antoine Higelin would see him place his MP4-30 in 4th place behind very strong competitors of Kronke, Schothorst and Huttu. Michael Dinkel put his car 13th, with Peter Berryman following in 16th. Outside the Top 20, it was not as high as was hoped for Marcus Jensen and Jamie Fluke who took 21st and 24th respectively. Kevin Ellis would be the only Academy driver to make the Top 35 putting his machine in a well deserved 19th.
10 minutes warmup, and everyone took their places. Lights out and away they went with Antoine getting a good start holding off deJong into turn 1. Further back it was a great start for Peter who made 5 places in the first lap and also for Michael who got a steady first lap with not much dramatics. Marcus and Jamie meanwhile moved up several places after lap 1 shenanigans in the final corner for others, but it was a difficult opening lap for Kevin who sustained damage from an out of control car ahead. From there everyone put their head down and got to work on the first stint. Likewise for Michael who found himself entangled in other incidents putting him down towards the rear of the field.
Antoine made his way past a rather erratic Schothorst soon and began to build a gap to the 4 car scrap for 3rd place. Things began to settle after several laps though he had a convenient 7 second cushion to those behind meanwhile Kronke stormed ahead in the lead. Peter, Cem Bolukbasi of CoRe and Mack Bakkum of Coanda were fighting hard for the majority of the opening stint for 6th place. Marcus and Jamie were both putting in decent pace with a few cars along the way making for some tough fights but nonetheless they continued on. Kevin and Michael were also pressing onwards and soon were racing for the Top 20 after falling back earlier.
Once the pit stops came into play, it was Mitchell who was really pulling in Antoine and he jumped him at pit exit which was crucial for P2. Cem also played Mack and Peter by going for a very early stop which would place him in 6th after the rest had pitted, but this soon ended abruptly when he spun a lap later. Peter was showing very fast pace and was pressuring Mack for several laps until he went for a move the long way round for T5 and T6 moving him into 5th. Jamie also got his strategy right and was P14 ahead of Marcus who was dicing with Radicals driver Kazuki Oomishima for 15th. That went on for a while, and further back Kevin was now inside the Top 20. Disaster struck for Jamie though as he lost control of his car in a comfortable gap in the tricky kink after the carousel sending him into the barriers and ending his race. The same would be for Michael who had a trip to the armco and scoring only a DNF for this one.
In the end, after a relentless chase on Mitchell deJong, Antoine would still bring home 3rd place and his first podium in his 3 year iWCGPS career, a fantastic showing from the 21 year old. Peter would follow with a sterling P4 after coming from the middle of the grid and was happy with the result. Marcus would hold off the two Radicals machines for 13th place with Kevin in the Academy car securing 18th place.
A great result for the team to have two cars within the Top 5 on a track as random as this and for sure will be motivation to everyone heading towards Monza in a few weeks. Until then be sure to catch up on the broadcast from iRacing Live / RaceSpot.
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