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RESULTS: Wednesday Night V8 League: Round 5 @ Circuit Of Americas - USA

Friday, May 17, 2013

Qualifying

For the drivers who hadn’t practiced on the new Circuit of Americas track qualifying would prove to be an arduous task. The track’s undulation and twisty nature would test all of the competitors. On a track of this kind only a ‘master’ would rise to the top - who would be the master to deliver? The first to deliver was Lord who set the benchmark in qualifying, a 1:58.039 – he had previously set a lap in the 1:57 bracket whilst in practice, and was the only one to do so. Palladino looked unusually laboured as he cruised through qualifying but his searing pace emerged and it ensured he began from second on the grid as he set a 1:58.479. Goode did a great job to qualify third and almost broke into the 1:58 bracket (he set a 1:59.210).

 

Race One

 Although Lord started on the outside run to turn one he exited it in first place cementing his lead. Robinson put the hard moves on early and took Murphy out, a warning ensued. The middle order battle was comprised, as it often is, of Tran, Robinson, Cooper. Benny Tran moved to the front of this scrap on lap two whilst his brother Jimmy spun out at the hard braking turn 11. Lap four witnessed Goode cut turn one and take Salteri out, his move resulted in a penalty. Refalo was driving quickly and his race pace saw him applying pressure to Faull and Salteri. Deja vu entranced the audience on lap six as Jimmy Tran spun once more at Turn 11. Lord crossed the line to take the win. He was followed by Palladino and Goode; however, Salteri would gain third upon review.

 

Race Two

 When the lights went green turn one witnessed some heavy panel rubbing. The reverse order grid resulted in almost everyone arriving into turn 1 simultaneously. Refalo spun twice on the first lap and this eliminated him from the battle for the win. Robinson and ‘Hectic’ Hemi swapped some metal throughout lap one. Benny Tran led into turn one on lap two but was soon disposed of by Palladino. Lord, who often mistakenly believes his braking ability is innate within everyone’s feet, made heavy contact with Benny Tran at turn 11 whilst braking – neither spun and Lord eventually made his way past. Tran then fell into the clutches of Faull who he took out. After receiving the race stewards instructions he relinquished his position to Faull. Palladino led into lap three whilst Lord charged after him having spun on lap two. Salteri hit the limiter and entered the pits on lap five. Refalo was recovering after his poor first lap and was closing in on Benny Tran. On lap six Palladino and Lord entered the pits to get some new rubber. Lap seven saw Refalo spin twice trying to exit his box – lucky the mechanics are fictitious! After he rejoined he moved pass Hemi at turn 11. ‘Hectic’ Hemi overshoot the corner but managed to pull it up just before the fence. On lap eight Lord caught Salteri who was leading on worn tyres and past him through turn 11. Palladino dived for the apex at turn one on the tenth lap and that relegated Salteri to third. Salteri’s consistency had vanished as he spun on lap eleven; however, he managed to bring it home behind Palladino in second. Lord took the second win.

 

Race Three

 The start of the third race was quite busy and Refalo, Tran and Salteri came together. Salteri spun out but was shunted back into action and didn’t lose much time. He shrugged off the turn one chaos quickly and dived for third at turn 11. Faull moved passed Palladino whose pace looked indicative of a tyre conservation strategy; Refalo soon passed Palladino and by lap two he was running in sixth. The midfield was comprised of a different bunch in this race: Refalo, Palladino, Salteri and Hamilton all drove closely, pursuing one another for places ranging from sixth to second. The battle eventually intensified and Refalo fell from the immediate mix due to lacklustre drive out of turn 11. Salteri and Hamilton had a great dice, driving on the inside and outside of one another through the twisty section of the circuit. The Leader, Lord, pitted on lap seven and Salteri pitted from the lead he inherited on lap ten. Palladino’s enduring tyres lasted til lap eleven. He dived for the pits to bolt on some fresh rubber and up his race pace. Goode and Robinson enjoyed a middle order scrap. Goode moved past Robinson at turn 1 on lap twelve, and then past Jimmy Tran at turn 11 on lap thirteen. What filled the remaining laps was be the battle of the season with Lord, Salteri and Faull scrapping for first. Salteri and Lord battled amongst themselves whilst chasing Faull; they tried to repeatedly out brake one another which affected their exit speeds. Their tyre wear increased as they spun up their wheels for consecutive corners. At turn thirteen they caught Faull and their cars were side by side heading into turn 13. Meanwhile Palladino was charging towards the front and moved past Refalo into fourth. Soon Lord and Salteri dropped Faull and the battle became their own – Lord’s pace was obviously the quickest, but, to Salteri’s credit every time Lord tried to solidify an overtaking manoeuvre Salteri’s car would appear at the inside of the next braking zone. However, Lord made him pay by crossing underneath him when carried the brakes too far into the final corner which resulted in snail pace exit speed. Palladino, how had been closing on the leading battle, was tapped on lap seventeen by Refalo and spun out, he recomposed himself to take fourth and Hamilton snuck into third. Lord took the final victory to take a clean sweep and Salteri finished in second.   

 

Like watching The Doctor (46) on wide tracks (Qatar, Sepang) which offer high levels of racing line variance witnessing Lord’s dominance was enthralling – he cemented himself as the Master of the Circuit of Americas, congratulations!

 

The fastest racing lap of the weekend was Palladino’s 1:59.382.

 

      2013 V8 League
Drivers Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Race 10 Race 11 Race 12 Race 13 Race 14 Race 15 Race 16 Total Points Current Place
Iain Salteri 20 15 17 20 17 17                     106 1st
Michael Palladino 15 20 13 17 20 15                     100 2nd
David Lord 12 17 10 11 15 20                     85 3rd
Tim Hamilton 17 12 20 12 10 13                     84 4th
Nigel Faull 10 11 15 15 12 10                     73 5th
Paul Robinson 8 8 6 13 11 8                     54 6th
Michael Gray 13 13 11 9 3 0                     49 7th
Benny Tran 9 10 0 7 13 9                     48 8th
Matthew Refalo 0 6 12 10 7 11                     46 9th
Enda Murphy 11 9 9 0 8 4                     41 10th
Michael Goode 0 4 8 6 9 12                     39 11th
Rob Cooper 6 7 7 5 5 7                     37 12th
Jarryd Busuttil 5 5 5 8 6 0                     29 13th
Jamie Hemi 3 0 4 4 4 5                     20 14th
Jimmy Tran 4 0 0 0 0 6                     10 15th
Troy Tzislowski 7 0 0 0 0 0                     7 16th

By  Scott McDonald

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