WCS - Round 1 - Interlagos Review - Apex Racing UK

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WCS – Round 1 – Interlagos Review

This past weekend saw the start of the the 2016 iWCGPS at Interlagos. With eight of our drivers taking part there was a lot interest in the season opener. Here is how some of the guys did.

Sebastian Job – 2nd

Feels nice to finally get that podium! Qualified in the top 5 seven times last year, but not a single podium. In fact, every single one of those races where I qualified top 5, I lost positions by the end. Glad to start the season off by breaking that habit, even if I was lucky with the crash at the start.

Qualifying went really well for me. I hopped into a practice before the session and both Aleksi and Olli had set laps in there which I couldn’t match, so I was not feeling at all confident. Luckily my first lap was a good banker with very few mistakes. On the second lap I could just push harder and found small amounts of time that added up. P5 was a huge success, as I spent way less time preparing for qually here.

Starts are much easier in this car, yet I still mess up. I fell back a bit before T1, but there was a crash on the inside that allowed me to get up to P4. I was able to stick with Martin and Joni for a long time, but once Joni got passed Martin I never had a chance. After 24 laps I finally got past Martin after he made a mistake, but it took a few laps before I could get used to the extra oversteer from having clean air. Not too long after I pitted, and got a nice undercut on Martin. From there it was all about making as few mistakes as possible, which didn’t go perfect, but well enough to hold on to P2.

Congrats to my team mates Antoine, Peter, Maarten and Cam for fighting through the field after struggling in q. 3 cars in the top 10 and 5 in the top 20. Unlucky to Graham and Alex, nothing they did wrong. Also a shame to see Oscar not make the grid. I know he had the pace but qualifying didn’t go well.

Congrats on a phenomenal win Joni, and congrats to Martin on P3.

Cam Stark

Qualifying for me wasn’t great, got on the grid by the skin of my teeth but just making the grid was the aim for me since I didn’t really have many expectations for this race.

Qualifying on the back row has it’s perks since I could just see everything ahead of me into turn one and be careful of where I manoeuvred my car. Turn 1 as a whole was a bit crazy but at least no damage was suffered. The first stint wasn’t too bad, picked up a good few positions without having any sketchy moments. The second stint again was good, no blistering pace or anything as usual, just my usual aim of being consistent without mistakes. I made at least 1 position during the pit cycle by overtaking Montanes and began to catch and pass Janis halfway through the stint, it was just a task to bring it to the finish and hold off Montanes on tires which gave up 6 laps from the end.

All in all not too bad, made the grid and finished which was by aim! Great results by the other guys, just a shame for Alex & Graham.

Peter Berryman

My qualifying was very poor and probably cost me the opportunity of a higher place finish. I couldn’t get the car in a good position for the conditions in qualifying which left me struggling into the 21st grid slot

The race was the complete opposite to qualifying, I managed to get the car sitting good (in hindsight) which meant all I had to do was bring the car home and I should score some solid points. Lap 1 was complete chaos getting close with lots of cars and some giving 0x contacts due to all the mayhem. I managed to avoid the crashes on lap 1 but on lap 11 Graham got taken out by a cars crazy manoeuvre which caused an accordion affect taking out Alex and braking my front wing also whilst trying to avoid them.
I was fortunate that the broken wing wasn’t costing me very much time and even though I had to change my wing in the pits I was able to battle through the field overtaking cars to finish 10th which was a season goal of mine.
Shame for the guys who couldn’t finish and hopefully the team has a strong result in Philip Island to follow up on Seb’s awesome P2. Big Thanks to the team and a big thanks to my spotter Marcus on a great job.

WCS Interlagos

Maarten van Loozenoord

My worst Qualification ever! I just made the grid, starting 31st. Luckily I saw Alex, Antoine, Sebastian and Graham in the top 15 so I knew I was capable of running higher up the field.

The first lap was a big mess but I made up some possitions, from 31st to 22nd in the first lap. After that I had Peter in my sights and I wanted to get to him. Every time Peter made an overtake in Turn 1, I was able to overtake the same driver in turn 3 (great teamwork). After having 14 incident points and 20 laps to go I did’nt feel that confident anymore but I did not want to give up my 11th position. I managed to deal with the pressure Michael Dinkel was giving me but after Gregger Huttu overtook Michael he was on my gearbox within a lap or 2. I managed to hold off a few overtaking possibilities but coming out of turn 3 he had a great run on me and made a pass round the outside of turn 4. My respect for that, great side by side racing!

After all a good race finishing 12th. On to the next one!

Alex Simpson

Qualify was okay but nothing great. 1st lap was a good banker but I knew I had a least .2 to find. On the 2nd lap I made a couple of mistakes but still managed to find some time. .380 off pole position but 17th. If there was any indication how close this series is going to be this season then this just confirmed it.

Race start was really good and I made up a couple of places straight away, turned into turn 1 and all hell was breaking lose. I checked up and hoped for best that everyone behind would and they did. Some of the drivers that were pushed wide rejoined right in the middle of the track in turn 3 and that caused even more problems. Somehow I managed to survive lap 1.

The car was excellent in race trim and I easy had pace on all those around me. That said overtaking was difficult due to the DRS train. Sadly the race didn’t last long, lap 10 a mistake from another driver caused my team mate to spin and rejoin right in my path. I slowed as much as I could but hit him hard, race over for both of us.

Very gutted, I know how good our car was and instead of 3 in the top 10, I think we could have had 4 or 5 without that. These things happen, we will push on to Phillip Island and try and do it there.

Grats to Joni on his first win. To Seb for our teams first podium and Martin for rounding out the podium.

See you in a week.

Graham Carroll

Qualifying didn’t go great to be fair, felt good going into it but a bad lap to start with put me on the back foot and only gained a tenth on my 2nd lap so P18 it was having Alex and Antoine right in front of me I knew we could push forward.

A messy start from everyone at the front gained me a few spots and then started picking a few people off in the early laps was great. Lap 10 however following Antoine passed Danni. I think maybe Danni was going to chuck it back up the inside of Antoine who really knows what he was up to but I was there and took both us out over the grass spinning back onto the track collecting Alex and it couldn’t have ended any worse really, Think the only reason we were not going crazy was due to the fact the rest of the team were doing awesome having Seb finishing 2nd and being the only team to get 3 cars inside the top 10 at the finish shows our preparation has been good and looks to be a strong season for the team.

Onto Phillip Island, really looking forward to it and working with the guys to be even stronger as a team.

Antoine Higelin

Qualification was not too bad. I drove a very cautious 1st lap to ensure a spot on the grid and was surprised to see it was enough for mid grid position. I could then push on my second flying lap, gaining 15th position on the grid despite some mistakes.

As usual my start was miserable but not as much as in the FW31 as this car is much easier to start well. I lost several spots before reaching the first corner. I could avoid the T1 mayhem and found myself on a fast line out of T3 in P12 closely followed by Graham and Alex. Pace was good,our train could catch several drivers and overtake them. Unfortunately Graham and Alex were taken out just behind me during the process. Too bad as we could have played it as a team helping each other out with DRS and ERS strategy.

After Mitchell’s early pit I found myself in 8th position. He followed me during several laps filling up his ERS before overtaking me on the button. I then followed him in the draft up to my pitstop. Mitchell pitted several laps later and came out 1.5 seconds in front of me just out of DRS range. I drove at the limit draining my ERS to catch him but he was on the button too to catch Isaac. I had to let him go and drove safely to the finish line in 9th position.I am really pleased with this 9th position as it is my best ever start of season in WCS. This is even more important this year as the new point system is all about consistency.

Thanks to all my team mates for their work on the setup and strategy.

Despite the misfortune of Alex and Graham the team had a fantastic start to the season. Next up is Phillip Island and it should be cracker.

Categories:   Alex Simpson, Antoine Higelin, Cam Stark, Graham Carroll, iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series, Maarten van Loozenoord, Peter Berryman, Sebastian Job