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RESULTS: Tuesday Night Mixed League, Rnd 1 @ Spa

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The beauty of racing in the simulation world is that there is no off-season. Whilst the V8 Supercar teams are packed up and preparing for the 2013 season, Racecentre in Sydney decided to hold an off-season championship with a twist; running V8 Supercars on the most daunting and exciting tracks from around the world! With six members vying for the unique championship, it was sure to bring some electrifying and close racing.

Deep in the Ardennes forest of Belgium lies the famed Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Tallying just over 7km in its current layout with huge elevation changes and a bevy of different corners, it would surely prove a huge challenge to the drivers. The format would be two qualifying sessions and two ten-lap races.

League new-comer Scott Durham took out the opening qualifying session with an impressive 2:22.436, with Matt Refalo and current ‘Dash for Cash’ leader, Michael Gray trailing within three-tenths of a second. Race one proved to everyone how tough the V8’s are to get off the line cleanly; Dan Maher produced a very decent smoke display that would not go un-noticed at Summernats, however majorly hurt his race chances when he looped it off the start. The run down into Eau Rouge was surprisingly close, yet clean, with everyone making it through safely. Relative rookie, Poland Lau made a slight mistake towards the end of his first lap and ended up on the grass which promoted him to fight with Dan for the lower positions. Three laps were completed when the unfortunate James Kyte spun his Commodore to a halt at the high speed Pouhon corners. Forgetting to dip the clutch, the car stalled and he was unable to get it restarted, becoming the races first and only DNF. James’ spin promoted the safety car to appear and as a result bunched up the field. On the restart, leader Michael Gray was penalised for speeding too much under the yellow flag conditions and Matt Refalo was given a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Another spin after the restart brought the safety car out again with the result being a one-lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Scott and Matt were fighting inches from each other all the way until the start of Les Combes, where Matt put on an amazing late braking move to promote himself to the top spot. However, all was a few corners later when Matt spun at the Fagnes Esses handing the lead to Michael. With Scott second and the hard-charging Dan in third, it was truly an exciting race!

A quick break was taken by all after the intense first race. Rehydrated and refreshed, the drivers climbed aboard their rigs for the second qualifying session. Blasting in a very quick, 2:22.356 was Matt Refalo, who was showing increasing speed throughout every session. Not to be outdone, Scott and Michael followed closely behind in second and third respectively. Another refreshingly clean, yet close start saw the contenders dive into Eau Rouge again almost nose-to-tail. You could not slide a piece of paper between Matt and Michael as they battled for most of the first lap as they jockeyed for the top spot. Eventually, Matt unfortunately made a mistake at the Bus Stop chicane and in the process made a small amount of contact with Michael. Purely a racing incident, both drivers decided to pit for a fresh set of boots and repairs. Scott opportunistically took the lead and decided to pit a few laps later. A quick lapse in concentration saw him gain a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. The ever consistent James Kyte inherited the lead for a short while until he too pitted for tyres. It was becoming increasingly obvious that tyre management would play a large role during this round. After the field had sorted themselves out, Michael had stamped his authority on the race, clearing the field by almost two-minutes by the time he received the chequered flag. Matt and James rounded out the podium whilst Poland pipped Dan for fifth position.

A great display of driving talent was shown by all the competitors over the course of the event. It was a credit to watch. The next round will be moving to the legendary Interlagos circuit for more exhilarating racing. If you feel this series is right up your alley and you wish to become a part of it, please do not hesitate to contact the Sydney office on 02 9212 4114 to secure your place!  

Overall Leaderboard

Total

Michael Gray

10

Scott Durham

7

Matthew Refalo

7

Dan Maher

4.5

James Kyte

4.5

Poland Lau

3



By Ryan Bestulic.

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