- Jun 29, 2013
Risto Kappet is crowned the champion of the Virtual Stock Car Championship season 3, while his team, Walk Racing, secures top spot in the team standings in dominating fashion.
It was a championship that went down to the wire. With only the best four results counting for each driver, the heat was on to amend for previous poor races and fight to the end for the championship. That added pressure showed, with many of the fastest, consistent, drivers in the league pushing to the limit, and sometimes beyond.
Kappet and Verver take top spots in the first turnSergio Junior secured an impressive pole position at the now defunct Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro. It was the closest gap at the top we've had all season, Junior's time only four thousandths of a second quicker than Kappet in second place, and only 3 tenths away from the other championship contenders Guus Verver and Neto Nascimento.
But pole position means nothing if you don't get off the line very well, as Sergio Junior learnt first hand. Risto Kappet blasted away into first and Guus Verver into second before turn one was over. It was the perfect start for Walk Racing, made all the sweeter when Fábio Assunção took a place from Neto Nascimento just behind them.
Ariciuc puts Seltzer into a spin
Further back in the pack it wasn't going so well for another member of the Walk family, Razvan Ariciuc who has had a disappointing season in comparison to his team mates. He got caught going into turn 1 too hot and rear ended Ryan Seltzer while bouncing off Theo van den Brink.
The battle for the win, and potentially the championship, raged until lap 3 when Guus Verver, in complete contrast to the consistency we've seen from him this season, spun his car around unaided and dropped to tenth place. It was the last challenge for the lead Risto Kappet would get for the remainder of the race.
Verver spins out of contention for the championship
Nascimento showed what phenomenal pace he can achieve during the first three rounds, but his championship challenge was sadly curtailed by a difficult round 4, and some errors in round 5 that led to an early retirement. "I messed up, like everyone else makes a mistake," he said after. "I do not like that track. Simple as that."
Sergio Junior had significant pace, put in a good pit stop, but his challenge to regain some positions wasn't helped when he and Razvan Ariciuc made contact going into the fast left hander at the end of the back straight. Forced off track and into the grass, he did well to keep control and carry on. Ultimately, he'd finish an impressive third - his best finish of the season.
I caught up with Walk Racing after the race. Bogdan Caramidaru, team owner, was justly pleased with his team's performance. "Well what can I say, I am extremely happy for several reasons, two more championships to our recent growing stats. I always loved RaceDepartment and always wanted to perform well here and we finally got the chance with such a great league... [I'm] glad that we where very competitive and the team worked well. For me it wasn't the perfect championship, maybe by stats but I am a bit sad that GhostSpeed boys weren't up there from the get-go. Anyway, extremely happy with RaceDepartment, I hope they keep them coming, Also to my team, thanks to all the drivers."
Main competitor for the championship, Guus Verver, added, "Very nice championship, all was very well put in place and the broadcasts were great. It would have been better if I won it but oh well, I kind of have myself to blame for that for making some mistakes. But all credit to Risto because it was his bad luck that put me in a good position for the championship in the first place and he was very fast and consistent all season. Shame about Neto being off his game in the final 2 rounds, and of course some more competition from other teams would have been welcome as Bogdan said. All in all I really enjoyed myself though and I am looking forward to more (GSC) leagues here at RD."
The expert commentary team of Thomas Hinss and R.J. O'Connell look back at Round 5, and the championship overall.
Thomas Hinss: Well what way to finish off a truly amazing third season of the Virtual Stock Car Championship here at RaceDepartment, that final race quite literally having it all. We had mistakes made by championship contenders, fight backs through the field, drama with contact moments between drivers on occasion and yet more of the fantastic clean but hard fighting we've seen all season long. Through it all however the man of the season, Risto Kappet, went on to take another dominate win, securing the championship victory with the worst result from each driver being deducted.
R.J. O'Connell: I first want to start by apologizing to the entire staff at Walk Racing, to Risto Kappet and Guus Verver, for failing to overlook a very big detail in the championship that ultimately affected the tone in the broadcast and resulted in myself and Thomas declaring Mr. Verver the champion, when the title went to Mr. Kappet thanks to his three victories. As I spent the broadcast researching who the provisional championship winner would be at multiple stages within the race, I take full responsibility for this major oversight and will ensure this never happens again.
"...that final race quite literally having it all..."
The third and deciding victory for Risto Kappet was one that again showed the well-rounded brilliance of the Estonian driver all season, from the start of the race he went mostly unchallenged as the title contenders behind him, one after another, ran into adversity that ultimately ended their title bids - including Neto Nascimiento's spectacular crash almost out of the gate. We saw a great race even outside of the context of a championship, with drivers constantly pushing the limits, making bold overtakes, and racing hard, but fair, throughout the course of the 50 minute feature race, even as the leader began to 'check out' from the field. We saw that even in a virtual recreation, with the real life circuit long since demolished, the Jacarepagua circuit which has seen so many great champions - from Alain Prost, and Nelson Piquet to Juan Montoya and Valentino Rossi - accounted for in its history of former winners, still has all the ingredients for great racing.
What was your highlight of the season?
Hinss: I think my highlight of it was when Nascimento took his win at Taruma, making that statement that said to watch for him as a definite championship contender and a real threat to Walk Racing.
O'Connell: Surviving the final round in Jacarepagua without losing my internet connection! Jokes aside, for me it was the moment when Guus Verver and Neto Nascimiento clashed in the opening minutes of the Cascavel round - establishing that the elite drivers in the VSCC were willing to take some degree of risk very early in the hopes of securing the title.
Who was your driver of the season?
Hinss: My driver of the season would probably have to be Risto Kappet, just how he bounced back from starting in server two and to go on and ultimately win three races during the season and win is an astonishing achievement. I think Guus Verver also deserves a mention here too, as his consistency was fantastic throughout the season, and the reason why he was leading the championship for so long.
O'Connell: Verver's consistency was unmatched, and Nascimiento relied on only himself and his driving skill for support in a series dominated by multi-car teams - and nearly won the title for his efforts, but Risto Kappet's speed and determination found little equal throughout the course of the season. Pre-qualifying issues aside, this is a driver who has a wealth of talent and outright pace that would translate well into the real world of motorsports.
Who do you think was the most improved driver over the course of the whole season?
Hinss: I think it's impossible to give that accolade to just one driver, as multiple drivers improved as the season went on. Paul Watkins is one that stands out for me, with consistent points followed by a top ten to finish the season was fantastic to see. Anders Nilsson is another one that comes to mind, after being very much in the shadows in the early part of the season, his results he managed to get in the later races really proved how talented he is. My last pick would be Franklin Stegink, as he was similar to Nilsson in being in the mid pack mix early in the season, but in the last couple of races showed great pace and consistency to be not far off the leaders in the top ten.
O'Connell: Time after time, I was impressed at the race craft of Angelo dos Santos, to recover from starting in mid-pack to finish well inside the top ten at almost every race that I had the privilege of calling. He should be extremely proud of the drives he put in all season.
What was your favourite race of the season?
Hinss: For me, I think the best race of the season has to be that final race, as it had so much going on from start to finish. Kappet did dominate the race lead, but it was the battles and drama which happened behind him that makes that race one that I'll remember for a very long time I suspect.
O'Connell: The opening round in Cascavel was such an amazing experience, and a great race that saw full-contact racing and a great mix of strategies throughout, setting the tone early for what proved to be an amazing slate of races. I struggle to think of a better introduction for myself into sim racing commentary.
Hinss: I just want to thank RaceDepartment for giving me the chance to commentate on this series, it was an absolute blast and a memory I will cherish for a long time. Also a big thank you to Davy, RJ and Roy for their work as well, the broadcasts would not have been possible without them. Of course a thank you to Andrew James as well, for running an absolutely spectacular league that is a real testimony to the level of commitment and professionalism which a top league such as this should have. Lastly, a big thank you as well to the community, for the support and praise I heard and received throughout the season, it really does make me so proud and honored to know the amazing people within the sim racing community. I do hope to do more commentary work for RaceDepartment in the future, so hopefully I will be back in the commentary box very soon.
O'Connell: This season was a thrill for me, and I feel honored to take part in the championship as a member of the broadcast team, becoming familiar with all of the great drivers over the course of the five-race championship season, even having the chance to interview them after the races. If I am ever fortunate to receive an opportunity like this for the fourth season, I hope to continue to make the most of it.
If you missed the round 5 battle, you can re-watch it here:
This RaceDepartment league was brought to you by: David Armstong, Graphics | Davy Vandevenne, Trailer and Cameraman | Thomas Hinss, Commentator | Andrew James, Organiser & Administrator | Yves Larose, Broadcast Organiser | Roy Magnes, Commentator | R.J. O'Connell, Commentator. Special Thanks to Bram Hengeveld, Yuri Kasdorp, Dave Stephenson, Frank van Oeveren and anyone else who assisted.