- Jun 29, 2013
The Virtual Stock Car Championship delivers yet again as Risto Kappet becomes the third winner in as many races.
Despite racing round 1 in the second server, Risto Kappet is fighting back strongly. The battle for the championship is wide open. Guus Verver currently leads over Neto Nascimento by just one point, and with only the top 4 results of each driver counting towards the final standings there is no time to sit pretty and lose focus.
The championship battle.
Risto Kappet started the race on pole position, but it was team mate Guus Verver who took the lead before turn 1. Behind the lead battle Craig Patteson drifted slightly wide through Mergulho and dropped a wheel onto the slippery grass. His car spun back across the track, causing chaos. Frank van Oeveren was slammed onto the grass and despite his best efforts was helpless to stop his car crossing back across the track at the Miolo hairpin and into traffic. He, alongside Ryan Seltzer, Anders Nilsson, Razvan Ariciuc, Mark Breslin, and Angelo dos Santos, would have their races dictated by the damage the first lap incident would cause, while the rest of the field tried to work their way through the maze of spinning cars, carbon fibre, and tyre smoke. On reflection, it is a minor miracle that all 28 cars on the grid finished the race.
The first lap incident which, miraculously, didn't lead to any early retirements.
Kappet, with strategic use of the push-to-pass system, would retake the lead from Verver on lap 2 and apart from the usual pit-stop position changes, would hold the lead right through to the finish.
Nascimento took new tyres in his pit stop, where Guus Verver chose for the third race in a row not to, opting for a fuel-only stop. Just as in Taruma, the loss of grip as the race went into the final stretch allowed Nascimento to catch and pass Verver for second place.
Andrew James: Risto, congrats on picking up your first win of the season. How was your race?
Risto Kappet: Thanks. The race was quite straight-forward except for having a bad start again. Once I was in the lead I could push to get out of the slipstream of guys behind and then just do my pace. I wasn't actually sure what my strategy would be quite deep into the race, but I saw that I could pull away while driving quite smoothly so I decided not to stop for tyres and second by second I pulled away without any mistakes and took the flag. I dont think there was a big difference between the two strategies, so the ~10 second gap between Neto in 2nd was quite honest. Definitely very excited about the result and hope to grow my speed even further for next round!
James: You're still some way off the leaders with that race 1 set-back, but with the worst result of the championship being removed at the end, it's close than it looks on the tables. Are you still confident you can win season 3? Nascimento is clearly a match for pace.
Kappet: Indeed with the points system being so linear and the gap big at the moment, it looks hard and is hard, but I'm very optimistic, firstly about the team championship and then the drivers. I'm sure I can also keep giving Guus a helping hand to slot him between me and Neto!
I will be doing my best as always; how I do will depend on how much effort the opponents decide to put in.
The "Rivalry" - Part 1
Kappet may have held the lead for most of the race, but that's not to say it wasn't as exciting as ever just behind - Goiania threw up another entertaining race, and while the main focus has been on Walk Racing and GhostRider, it's the rivalry heating up between GhostSpeed and Nitor Velox by nFinity eSports that really caught everyone's attention in round 3. Jake Cooper, Miguel Lopes and Sergio Junior went at each other with such aggression that continued into the post-race forum. They'd all receive official warnings post race for the paint-scratching door-banging show. There's clearly some fierce competition going on between the teams that has built up over the past 150 minutes of racing and it's going to be interesting to see how they attack the next race at Cordoba.
After the race, I spoke with the drivers involved and asked them what they thought of this rivalry, and how they were going to approach the next two rounds. Jon Hicken, of Nitor Velox, thinks the word 'rivalry' is probably a bit too strong, but it certainly didn't look that way on track.
"... My buttocks were clenched the entire time... "
"Rivalry seems a bit of a dramatic way to put it. We have a nice, but not-too-comfortable gap in the team standings, so we know they're there, but we're not checking our backs too much, you know?" he said. "I think the perception of rivalry comes from the fact that Jake seems to find himself on the same piece of tarmac as GhostSpeed cars."
"GhostSpeed are fast, there's no doubt about that. Personally I can't keep up, they're a little quick for me. They definitely seem to push the absolute limits of the car, their talent, and the game engine and I respect that. It's naturally going to get a bit 'pushy shovey' when you have drivers fighting so hard over the same piece of track. I don't think I'll be able to sit down properly after watching Jake's Goiania race. My buttocks were clenched the entire time!"
Jake Cooper, who was involved in more than a fair share of paint trading reveals that the challenge from GhostSpeed has left them questioning their race strategy. "It's been difficult to stick to strategy as the GhostSpeed guys have always put in a 100% effort to get past us and in turn that probably compromised our strategy in all the races so far, especially the last one. So I think yes, it would be nice to consistently outscore them and I suppose from that point of view it is a rivalry of sorts. Hopefully we will get to a position where we have high mutual respect for each other and then the racing will be closer and even better than what it has been currently between us!"
"... GhostSpeed [has] compromised our strategy in all the races ..."
There's clearly respect coming out through their words, and perhaps some mind games, but only time will tell whether that respect translates onto the track.
Hicken adds that their "focus is strongly aimed at the Team Standings, which is how we approach every race. We spend considerable time working on our race and so far it seems to be paying off in our debut season. We're both hoping to continue to grab strong, consistent results in the coming races and hopefully Nitor Velox will be topping the leagues at RD! We have our eye on the Virtual Touring Car season next..."
In next week's Round 4 review, hopefully we'll manage to take a look at the rivalry from the other side, getting the thoughts of GhostSpeed Racing, and their Junior team, GS Racing. Don't miss it!
Server 2 Round Up
It was a comfortable, and probably expected, victory for Fábio Assunção in server 2, who sees himself promoted back to server 1 for the race at Cordoba. Pär Öqvist and Theo van den Brink round out the podium.
Fábio Assunção returns to Server 1 for Round 4
Andrew James: Fábio, you were in server 2 after an unfortunate DNF last round. You're straight back into server 1 for the next race.
Fábio Assunção: That's true Andrew, my DNF at Taruma was really bad. I felt I had the pace and the strategy to finish on the top 5 after a poor qualifying, but my wheel decided that it wasn't the day for it to happen and I flew off the track and got relegated to server 2.
James: Are you still confident you can get a good finishing position in the league, especially as only the top 4 results will count?
Assunção: To be honest I don't think so despite knowing that only the top 4 results will count, because I have now two bad results and only one will get taken off which will be the Taruma one.
Thomas Hinss gives us his usual point of view from the commentator's box after calling yet another entertaining race, and previews Round 4.
Thomas Hinss: Last round was a bit different in terms of the race for the lead, as it was not quite as close as it has been at the first two rounds of the season. Risto pulled off a masterclass of a race, commanding it from the early stages and controlling it once he started to establish a nice gap over the rest of the field. With both Verver and Nascimento being second and third respectively, it does mean that the points he gains on them is minimal however.
One of the main things I took from the last round was the continued form which Nascimento is showing, being more than a match for Walk Racing. GhostSpeed's hopes for challenging Walk for the team title continue to falter, as they just can't seem to match the pace and consistency of the Walk drivers. I'll be interested to see what GhostSpeed can bring to the table as we edge closer to the end of the series.
For round four of the championship I expect it to be a deciding one, with any mistakes made by the leading guys in the championship possibly ending their hopes of winning the title. I'll also be watching for Nitor Velox and seeing what sort of results they can get here, as they have continued to put up a so far successful fight against GhostSpeed Racing, as well as a convincing one to Walk Racing.
If you missed it, you can catch the race here:
It'd take a brave person to bet on a champion at this point. Tune in for round 4, which will be held at the Argentinian track, Cordoba, this Saturday the 30th May at 19:00 GMT on our Live Stream page with the popular chat box. Grab the spotter guide here!