After a 2 week break from the previous round at the Circuit of The Americas, it was the Autodromo Nazionale Monza that was host to the sixth round of the iRacing Pro Series 2016/2017 season. After coming from the high speed esses and twists and turns of COTA, drivers would trim their cars out to the last to get every bit of extra top end for the track known as the Temple of Speed. After Bono Huis of Team Redline took the top step of the podium two weeks previous, every entrant was hungry to claim a first or extra victory to their accolades.
After a very close qualifying, in mild conditions, it was 53 laps of exciting, fierce and unpredictable racing, hear how Apex Racing UK drivers got on from them!
“Qualifying: I put in a solid banker lap to begin with with a 21.9 but I knew I could gain a couple of tenths. Unfortunately on my second lap I made a mistake out of the Della Roggia and was clumsy through the Lesmo’s and still did a 21.9 but no improvement. I was very happy to end up in P4.
Race: I got a strong launch from the second row and was almost alongside Bolukbasi on the run to T1. Unfortunately I never got alongside to the point where he would need to give me room so I had to slot in behind. I misjudged the braking point into T1 and had to slam on the anchors to get the car stopped. Next thing I know I have Freek to my left and not a lot of room left. Being on a single screen in this position sucks, so I ended up turning for T2 a bit early as the iRacing spotter didn’t tell me it was 3 wide until it was too late. I fell back to 11th and had mushed the front tyres.
There were a series of incidents ahead, none that I could see personally aside from Oscar’s disconnect, but I was behind Marcus who also had a poor start set about trying to move through the field. I was comfortable with the car in dirty air which is generally not a great sign for when I get into clean air. A couple of overtakes later and we weren’t far away again from the front pack. Unfortunately about 15 laps in the car became really difficult to drive and I faded off the back of the train as we headed into the pit stop phase. I decided to stick with my own race and see where it would land me at the end rather than react to any moves. My goal was solid points today, so my driving and my strategy was geared for that. Therefore I stuck it out longer than everyone else to lead a couple of laps before pitting and coming out in a reasonable position. Not sure what happened to Wensing and to Gotsch, but I was suddenly 4th with Bakkum behind me, fresh wing to boot.
Despite the tough day at the office, looking around me it could and possibly should have been a lot worse. P5 at a weak track for me is perfectly fine and I can move forward into the Christmas break in a great position to get a licence. In hindsight I made a setup error and should have went in a different direction, but it’s a lesson learned for next time. Massive thanks to everyone again, a lot of hard work put in over the two weeks. Massive thanks as well to Pashalis for the help on the Q set which found me a couple of tenths to put me as far up the grid as I was.”
“Qualifying: I haven’t driven this car/track combo before this week, so to get P10 with not as much practice as I would like, I was quite pleased
Race: I got a good launch, making my way around the other cars and I was P7 after Turn 1, then when Marcus was run wide, into P6, I was very determined on getting a Top 5 from here. From there, I was making small errors, and Wensing was bearing down on me quite fast. I knew from practice sessions that he was very fast in race trim, so I decided to not defend and just stick behind him. Then there was the mayhem between the leaders and all of a sudden, there’s 5 of us within a few seconds for the lead.
I was confident that my car was going to get faster as we went further into the stint, so I tried to stick behind the others, get around Freek quickly, and catch back up. Then on Lap 10, for reasons I’ve no idea why, iRacing boots me from the server. My internet was rock solid too, and there was nothing on the log to suggest anything on my end, so it’s a bitter pill to swallow when a Top 5, even a podium may have been possible after all that happened mid race. That and the fact, it could’ve very much helped with the possibility of Top 10 in the series, so that’s out the window. From here, I’ll just show up for the Top 20, and then focus on getting some races in next year in the summer once my exams are over. Plus I’ve got the BSR Formula Renault Series upcoming for a few of us, so that’ll be priority from now.
A big thanks to Jamie for helping with the car and strategy too. Also a big congrats to Marcus and the two Academy lads for the 1-2-3! Very well deserved!”
“Going into this race I didn’t practice much, so I wasn’t expecting much. Because of this I was quite surprised to get 7th on the grid, and just wanted a top 10.
Unfortunately I got a bad launch off the line and this meant I went into T1 3 wide, in the middle. Got battered about a bit but I dont think there was any damage, though I didn’t really have enough time to test this out seeing as I spun in the next corner. I then smacked into a wall when trying to turn around, and had loads of damage.
Not a good race, thanks to James for spotting, as short lived as it was. And congrats to Marcus, Pashalis and Kevin.”
In the end, after 53 nail biting laps, the driver to claim the chequered flag was none other than Marcus Jensen, followed by Apex Racing Academy drivers! This victory becomes Marcus’s first victory in the Pro Series, and signs point that won’t be the last!
Pashalis Gergis and Kevin Ellis Jr. carried 2nd and 3rd to the flag
“Qualifying: My first lap was quite good but I knew I could improve quite a bit. But again I ruined my second lap, so I only started p6. That was still better than my 2 previous qualifying results, so it wasn’t awfull