Retaliation down under
Will it be a two horse race for the championship? Was the question on everyone's lips, after Yuri Kasdorp and Risto Kappet dominated the round 1 of the W6S series. We travel to Symmons Plains raceway in Australia to find the answers. The racing action brought to you by WCS League, Symsync Pro and simnews.tv.
With the drivers having got to grips with the car and their nerves after round 1, the short ,sub 60 second lap of Symmons Plains raceway produced a very close qualifying session. The top 10 separated by about a second.
The session saw new contenders rise to the top. Chris Butcher of Red Arrow Racing put in a brilliant time of 0.53.145 to grab pole position. Risto Kappet again had to settle for p2 on the grid. The Belgian veteran Laurent Keersmaekers was p3 for Holland Racing Team on his first race of the season. The RSR drivers rounded of the top 5 spots, Chris Shepard beating his team mate Yuri Kasdorp.
When the Lights went for the 20 lap feature race, it was a clean start for everyone. Butcher held his lead , Keersmaekers lost out to both the RSR cars to drop to p5. The opening lap was action packed as few drivers misjudged their braking points resulting in contact but the experienced line-up managed to avoid major damage and all 24 cars continued their race.
After the opening excitement drivers got into their rhythm. By the half way point a similar pattern seem to unfold in the front as in round 1, where the top two cars stretched their advantage on the rest of the field. Chris Shepard was in a lonely 3rd. His RSR team mate Kasdorp lacked the outright pace he had in round 1. He lost 4th to Keermaekers by lap 10 with Argo Teder rapidly closing the pair of them down.
The entire midfield runners were locked in battle, it was great for the fans to watch attack and defense at every opportunity on every lap. The battle for the lead was not as action packed but just as intense as Butcher and Kappet were very evenly matched and running nose to tail . All that changed on lap 16 however as the leaders suddenly came upon a back-marker who had spun at the hairpin . They had to take avoiding action. Kappet tried to make most of this opportunity and got side by side with Butcher but was unable to get past. Sheppard closed right in to make it a three way battle for the win.
Chris Butcher held on take his first win of the season for Red Arrow. Risto Kappet finished 2nd, bagging the fastest lap for EVAL. Chris Shepard rounded of the podium for RSR. Keersmaekers and Kasdorp finished in the top 5. Adrian Campfield and Alistair long proved their racing skills by climbing 5 positions from their qualifying spots to finish 6th and 7th respectively.
The now traditionally hectic and action packed reverse grid sprint races promised to be even more thrilling, as some of the over-eager drivers scrapped paint on the warm-up lap !
Front row of the grid presented a striking resemblance to race 1,with Eval and Red arrow cars, but with Argo Teder and David Fidock. Could they replicate their team mates performances from race 1 ? We would have the answers after 10 short laps.
A great start for Teder when the lights went out ,the more hesitant Fidock barely managing to hold onto p2 from Heigo Poom. The opening lap was relatively clean with only Bojan Bogdanov unfortunately losing his front bumper.
The calm doesn't last too long in sprint races.Towards the end of lap 2 Chris Shepard and Chris Butcher came together,witch left Butcher spinning out. More cars up and down the grid jostled for position and lost out, the drivers clearly deciding it was time to get a move on.
By lap 7 the top 3, Teder, Fifock and Poom were comfortably spread out . All eyes were on the battling Dutchmen Keersmaekers and Kasdorp, trying to pass on the outside of turn 6. The ambitious move did not work and both lost several places.
The clean and consistent drivers were rewarded with the podium. Argo Teder taking his first win for Eval, David Fidock in p2 for Red Arrow and Heigo Poom p3 for Neptune simracing . Risto Kappet clawed his way up to p4 with the fastest lap.
After a long,hard evening of racing, we have our answers. Four races , four different winners. This series is way too competitive to have an early runaway leader. Definitely more than a two horse race with the caliber of the grid. It's only a matter of the drivers and teams finding their rhythm.
The Teams stay on in Australia for the next race, round 3 is at Barbagallo raceway on November 11th. can catch all the action Live on the WCS YouTube channel starting at 19:35 GMT.