After a week off halfway through the season it was time to strap on the seatbelts again and put on the helmets as we went to Singapore for round 7 of the championship. The night race in the small Asian state is always something special. It’s narrow, very technical, the weather can change at any moment and a safety car is always just around the corner. It’s one of those special moments in a season where even the lesser quick drivers look forward too as they know the circumstances are different. Usually there are quite a few cars that won’t make it to the finish line, combined with a possible safety car, so if you stay out of trouble and make the right tactical choices and this could result into an upset race with different names up front.
When qualifying started we already knew we were about to see something very entertaining. The rain poured down on the streets of Singapore and as Will Buxton would say: “when it rains, it’s wet”
Most drivers filled their tanks more than usual and went out for multiple laps, to get a good feel for where the grip is and improve their time lap after lap. Not many people expected a rookie that made his debut to be on pole, but in the rain he showed he’s quite a drivers. RPM_KvKFC aka the Chicken Man set a set a time that simply no one was able to beat. Right behind him we saw the ususal names, with championship leader Jari in second, just ahead of Wesley, Chalkers, Shaby and Michael.
The full results:
When quali was over the sky cleared, the track dried and the outlook was that it would stay dry for the rest of the night.
As usual the start and first lap are quite eventful. Although turn 1 and 2 where pretty clean, it went wrong quite quickly after. KFC kept the lead at the start but behind him two of the main title candidates collided with each other. While currently the stewards are still debating over who was at fault or if it was a racing incident, on the straigt after turn 5 Shaby and Chalker had a slight contact that sent Shaby into the wall. He was able to continue his race, but with a damaged car his hopes for success where gone. He had to pit right away, just like Chalkers himself who also had damaged his front wing in the incident, dropping the two drivers to last in the race. However help came quickly. Invisible and Boompje also had to pit and the latter managed to spin coming out of the pitlane, having to retire his car and with him being positioned in a very unlucky place on the track a safety car was called upon. This gave the cars who were involved in incidents early on the chance to close in on everyone else.
When the safety came in we very soon had another driver able to do the walk of shame as the race leader spun on the final turn coming up to the straight at the restart. The chicken man was not available for comments after the race, which is given his action somewhat understandable.
This meant Jari got handed the lead of the race with Wesley right behind him. The Ferrari driver was unable to keep up with Jari and formed quite a train. Unfortunately for him all the cars in that train overtook him one by one. Wesley just didn’t have the pace today. As the race moved on Jari built a lead over all other cars as he was just simply faster than everyone else. Midway through the race most of the drivers that started on the medium tyres had to pit, making sure that those who started on the harder tyre moved up, just like Shaby and Chalkers, who pitted for the hard tyre on lap 1.
Halfway through, when nearly everyone had pitted, apart from NoJug, this was the running order:
After his pitstop Jari was right behind Chalkers and Shaby, who were on much older tyres, giving Jari a major advantage. When he tried to overtake the Englishman it went wrong for Jari, as he spun and lost quite some time. Luckily for him, the gap behind him was big enough not to lose a position.
Shaby completed his major comeback when not much later he took the lead by passing De Rooij. In lap 24 the race got turned upside down again as an incident on track made sure the safety car was called out again. The leaders all pitted, but some other drivers opted for track position and stayed out. This made sure we had a new race leader. LTrocker, Marcel and NoJug were the new top three, with Shaby now in fouth on fresh soft tyres and Chalkers in fifth onder a bit older mediums. All we had left was a sprint race of a hnadful of laps and loads of drivers having different types of tyres. The restart was a bit of a mess and the numbers two and three in the race collided at turn 1, making room for Shaby who was now in second again. Other victims at the restart were Wesley and Kiko while Livingwall hit the wall a few corners later. Even though there were only four laps to go, a new safety car was called upon by the race director. The last restart of the night was at lap 30, so with just 2 laps to go it was a sprint to the finish line for the remaining drivers.
The restart was lead by LTrocker, but he was no match on his 14 lap old hard tyres against Shaby’s fresh softs. The pass was done fairly quick and that gave the Dutch-Moroccan driver a clear path to victory, after being in last at the first lap. Behind him a lot went wrong for others. Bossmotz crashed, Invisible got disqualified and Jari sent his car in the wall and had to retire. A no score for the championship leader.
The podium was completed by LTrocker and Prins, with Blackmamba, Xavi and Chalkers completing the top six. Another happy man was Gunther Steiner as both his Haas drivers scored points today, with DyMx in 7th and NoJug in 9th.
After an absolute chaotic ending of the race Shaby also took the lead in the championship, making him now the man to beat.
The full results:
As for the championship, with 5 races to go it looks like this:
It’s still very close at the top and it looks like five drivers will fight for the title, but anyone on a good run could still take home the biggest trophy.
Next week, will be another special race as we will be having a sprint race weekend, with extra points to gain. Until then, take care and see you in Austria!