Round 3 Review (S9)

Division 1

Two rounds, two different winners after the winner of race 1 was missing in action at Australia. The Estonian driver returned to the grid on Wednesday night aiming to reclaim the lead in the championship. He was off to a phenomenal start by claiming pole position in quali where newcomer Klepy had a great debut by taking the second spot. Defending champion Evan had third, just ahead of Zettervall, while the winner of last week’s race, Relliott, was all the way back in thirteenth. Nevertheless, that’s still way ahead of Nellboy, who for the third race in a row opted to avoid lap 1 carnage and had to start from the back.

When the red lights went out the fight for the lead on the long straight began and it was newcomer Klepy who immediately took the lead. After the initial wheelbanging and pushing around on the opening lap we had a leading group of 4 drivers; Klepy, Lebedev, Evan and nhonwkey that slowly ran away from the rest of the field. It wasn’t until lap 9 that the first real action up front started, when Lebedev spun in turn 1 and Evan was unable to avoid the spun car and lost his front wing while doing so. The Irishman had to pit to repair the damage and just when he entered the pit lane it was good old Jack (kzngll) who crashed at the end of the esses after a not so successful night for him, where he managed to lock himself out and had to call the locksmith to make sure he could get in just make it in time to enter the race. And believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time it happened.
With his crash bringing out the safety car everyone basically had a free pit stop and Evan didn’t lose as much time as initially anticipated, although he was the only driver that switched to the soft tyres, while everyone else was on hards or mediums, which meant he was always going to have to pit again.
With the restart in lap 13 it were Klepy and nhonwkey fighting for the lead into turn 1, but that ended poorly for both when they hit each other. Both were able to continue their race, but Klepy was down to 18th, while dropped to 8th. This opened the way for Lebedev who now lead the race for the first time tonight. A few laps later Beni and Hayward tangled into each other were reversed on track, taking this week’s Haas driver Hammers with them. His teammate Nellboy, meanwhile had moved up from 19th to 7th and was his race was starting to look better and better ny the lap.
When Connor crashed out in lap 20 another safety car came out which helped those who were in trouble earlier to get back in the race. Near everyone pitted for fresh tyres, apart from Zettervall who was the only driver to stay out. Even though this got him the lead in the race, being on 11 lap old hard tyres, while everyone behind you is on fresher ones and with about 14 laps to go, this seemed like a strategy call of Ferrari like levels. As you can imagine, not long after the restart the Swedish driver (Zettervall) was overtaken not just by the new leader Lebedev, but by near half the grid. This is where he opted to pit for soft tyres and this threw him all the way to the back of the grid. Up front Lebedev was building a firm lead over Gooner and Athanasiou and Nellboy, although he did have a 3 second time penalty waiting for him for exceeding the track limits too many times. This should not be an issue as his lead was around 5 seconds and growing. With 3 laps to go Zettervall decided to end his misery and retired from the race, resulted in a very late safety car. Given the amount of laps left in the race this would only be a one lap SC period. Nevertheless some drivers pitted and put on soft tyres and hoped to make up ground in the last two racing laps with much better tyres than everyone else. The commentator questioned openly if this was a good idea to do so when you’re in second place in the race and would give up many positions with just 2 laps to make up ground, while already having a time penalty. You could say Athanasiou gambled and lost as he gave up second place for eight. In his rush forward on the fresh tyres he exceeded the track limits a few more times and picked up another time penalty. This made him chancheless for a top finish. Who did fight for the win? Lebedev managed to hold off a surging Nellboy who got ahead of Gooner on the last lap, but the time penalty Lebedev got earlier in the race did cost him the win as Nellboy, Gooner and Beni all managed to stay within 3 seconds and got classified ahead of Lebedev.

The full race results:

Division 2

The Second division in DTR’s F1 league was one of much lesser action. It was more a story about total domination. Season 7 champion of this division Paqman rose to his old greatness and took pole by more than five tenths over his nearest rival Hammers, nine tenths on number 3 Manlikedonkey and a full second on number 4 Rycka. The latter two were unable to enjoy their race very long. Them two and HummerGP tangled into each other at the start and ended up in the barrier. How both Manlikedonkey and HummerGP were able to continue at all was quite the miracle in itself, but after repairs they were able to try to get a good result after all. For Rycka the race was immediately over.

See below for an onboard of the incident:

For the second day in a row Connor ended up in a wall ending his race early on. Up front it was just pure domination by Paqman, who only could be followed by Hammers, even though he picked up a few penalties along the way. This made the virtual lead for the Greek driver even bigger as behind Hammers the gap was quite big as well. Hammers managed to build a gap of over 10 seconds and growing while behind Bob it were Berzerk, Paqman’s brother and team mate, Brother Adam, Skipper and Bogarovski were figthing for fourth. Adam was the only one on a two stop strategy and his fresher tyres near the end helped him the 4th, with Bogarovski in 5th and skipper in 6th.
When Hammers managed to build a gap of over 20 seconds he decided to pit with just a few laps to go to get some fresh softs and get the point for fastest lap and the extra ticket for the end of season lottery, but he countered right away by Paqman, who on the last lap of the race also managed to set the fastest lap and complete his hattrick.

A showing of pure domination like he did will surely put him back in the title fight if he can do this more often.

Full results

Next week we go to Monaco, see you there!

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