- Jun 29, 2013
Guus Verver takes first blood in an exhilarating race that lived up to all the hype, and then some.
It was a fifty minute race treated like a ten minute sprint, with most of the field flat out and continuously jostling for position. The battle that drew the most attention was that for the lead - Neto Nascimento started the race on pole position but it was Guus Verver taking the victory after some fantastic wheel to wheel action, and a somewhat risky pit strategy.
Tal Segal gets it all wrong on the exit of turn 1, hitting a barrier and spiralling back onto the track...
...the resulting carnage spread debris everywhere and left cars completely wrecked.
If you mix a RedShift and a BlueShift, you'll get an angry purple across the drivers' faces. As Tal Segal and Yuri Kasdorp got together in a heavy impact incident that would end both their races early, it was the opposite story for Walk Racing who displayed some good teamwork. Austin Ogonoski kept piling the pressure on Fábio Assunção, freeing up Guus Verver to concentrate on catching Nascimento and challenge for the lead - a lead he would take eight minutes into the race.
It was a lead, however, that lasted only two corners, when in a dramatic moment Nascimento tagged the back end of Verver, pushing him into a spin. Despite how close the field was, Verver only dropped to fourth. Ogonoski's battle with Assunção would continue ahead of him, the two trading places a number of times.
Neto Nascimento pushes Guus Verver into a spin. He'd later give the position back in a show of good sporting spirit.
Walk Racing generally looked more comfortable on track, where Ghost Racing looked like they were on the brink, on the limit. And so it was proven, when fifteen minutes into the race Assunção drifted wide in turn one. The resulting side to side racing with Ogonoski would allow Verver to make an impressive double overtake by the end of the lap.
Further down the field, both Ryan Seltzer and Paul Watkins were putting in steady races, working their way up the field and gaining valuable positions after starting in fourteenth and eighteenth respectively. Watkins, however, would fall foul of the "Commentator's Curse", spinning out by activating his boost button before his car had settled as it came out of the penultimate corner.
The battle up front wasn't over by a long shot - Nascimento gave the position back to Verver in a display of good sporting spirit, then made a cleaner attempt to regain the lead. He was the first driver to jump into the pits for fuel and new Pirelli Zero tyres. Verver would pit next time round, but opted for a different strategy - one that would ultimately help him win the race - taking fuel, but deciding to stick with the same set of wearing tyres.
Jake Cooper and Fábio Assunção duke it out.
Fábio Assunção and Jake Cooper would be late pitters, and while their on-track battle made for fascinating watching, it did slow them down. Frank van Oeveren, despite being a lap down at the time after his pit stop, could easily match their pace, and looked faster, showing how much time could be gained on new tyres versus old. Nascimento was faster than Verver for the rest of the race, gaining almost a second every lap, but inevitably ran out of time before he could catch him.
"winning by a small margin... makes it much better"
Andrew James: So Guus, how does it feel to take the first win of the season? It looked like a tough battle out there with Neto!
Guus Verver: I am very happy to have won the race. Winning always feels good of course, but winning by a small margin after an intense race with some good battles and overtakes makes it much better. First half of the race was action packed for me, especially when I had to catch up after a small contact with Neto. He gave me the position back after so that was very nice of him. We continued to battle very closely until he entered the pits. The battle with Neto was a strategic one in the second half of the race, as he put on fresh tyres in his pitstop and I did not. I was intensely looking at the gaps in the second half of the race, seeing him catch up rapidly. Very relieved when I finally crossed the line. With multiple strategies looking viable to win the race it looks like its going to be a very nice and exciting championship
Server 2 Round Up
The race in server two saw a huge ten cars fail to make the end, and only five cars crossing the finish line. With drivers dropping like flies it was the consistent drivers who took the spoils.
Risto Kappet held the lead easily, as expected after the pace he showed in pre-qualification, and will be relieved to be in the main server for round two where he has to be one of the favourites to take the win. Franklin Stegink also held steady in second place, while Andrew James took advantage of Corrado Conti running out of fuel on the last lap to take the final podium position.
In an incident eerily similar to Tal Segal's in Server 1, Andrew Harper loses it on the exit of turn 1 and flicks back across the racing line for a high speed collision.
While the first half of the race saw some tough battles for fifth to ninth place, the second half was a calmer affair, with each of the remaining drivers knowing that simply finishing the race now meant promotion to server one for round two. There was no need to take any risks.
While Kappet and Stegink headed off into the distance, the mid-pack battled it out.
Allan Groth may be disappointed after losing an easy chance to gain promotion to server 1 where his pace says he should really be. After a self-induced spin early in the race, it seemed he gave up and retired rather than trying to regain lost ground or returning to the pits to repair any damage - clearly a mistake seeing how many DNFs there were, and how Antonio Merino finished fifth despite being a huge six laps down at the end. Perseverance paid off.
Andrew James: Congratulations on your win Risto! It looked pretty straightforward for you out there; talk us through your race. Happy to have avoided any carnage in the server and making it back into the main server for the next round? Your pole time in server 2 was faster than the pole set in server 1.
Risto Kappet: Thanks, the race was indeed simple in the server. I did not put the practice in which I would in case of server 1 but yes I beat the pole time of server 1 and I had very good pace without mistakes in the race as well. I was looking forward to comparing the total times and pace compared to server 1 as I'm sure I would have been fastest in the race as well, but I had a few litres too little in the tank so I had to stop on the start/finish line for thirty seconds to get one lap less and then cruise to the end. If I'd had to do that in server 1 then I would have been nowhere!
James: No doubt you'll be straight in challenging at the top. What are your expectations for the next round?
Kappet: In general yes, we will see what server 1 brings. I definitely want at least the team championship and will do my best to be the top driver by the end of the season as well. For the next race itself I expect nothing but winning everything. But the competition is very tough!
This week Thomas Hinss and R.J. O'Connell look back at a hectic and exciting first race at Cascavel.
Hinss: With such a exciting and close fought first round of the series, I really can't think of any way that it could have been better. The big surprise for me was just how hard the drivers were racing from the very start. There wasn't a period where everyone got into the zone of the race early on, it was just full on racing from lap one.
Also the difference in pit strategy between drivers was quite interesting. I'm going to be watching to see if perhaps teams and drivers try different strategies for future races, based on the time gained or lost on strategy during that first race of the season.
"...I really can't think of any way that it could have been better..."
In terms of the results I think it's no surprise that both GhostSpeed and Walk Racing were at the front - those are two teams I expect to be fighting for wins at each round. I did like also seeing a couple of the independents fighting it out with the big teams, as well as Nitor Velox getting two very good results from the race, certainly a team to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.
O'Connell: This was the first true online sim race that I have ever called on a broadcast, and I could not have been happier that last weekend's race at Cascavel unfolded the way that it did.
In the early laps we saw two exceptional drivers battle wheel-to-wheel for the lead, going for a gap too small for both to fit through. Inevitably, there was contact, and a spin, but Guus Verver drove brilliantly to regain the lead before the mid-race pit stops. The other player in that exchange, Neto Nascimento, drove brilliantly as well - nearly getting back to the front on what turned out to be the "alternate" strategy of the race, as many drivers neglected to change tyres at all during their mid-race pit stops. A good sign that drivers will be able to push these virtual Pirelli tyres much harder than their real-life counterparts in the World Championship.
Hinss: I also would like to thank everyone who came along for the ride and watched the broadcast, the praise which I have been hearing for it is really appreciated and just shows the fantastic community which is present here at RaceDepartment. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season that lies ahead, with such high quality racing I think me and RJ will be kept very busy every race of the season.
O'Connell: It became a mad scramble for myself and Thomas to keep up with everything that was going on in the race, cycling between drivers and keeping up with the timer and the standings and making sure that everything was correct to relay to a wonderful audience of sim racers who came to watch. For us, it was hectic. But in an amazing and totally rewarding way. I just hope the next round at Taruma is even half as good!
If you missed it, you can watch all the action from the main race here:
Round two sees the teams at Taruma, a short twisty track that should keep cars bunched close together and where the boost button may play less of a part than at Cascavel. You can watch the main race live and exclusively here at RaceDepartment on Saturday the 16th of May at 19:00 GMT in what is sure to be another thrilling event. Grab the spotter guide here!