Is it really 12 weeks? Crikey how the time flies when you are enjoying yourself. Over those weeks my interest in this league has grown, and continues to do so. In a series like this you have the time to get to know the drivers and they have the time to get to know one another. In my experience this makes for better more interesting viewing from here in the stands.
The early races were dominated by Andrew Hopley in his BMW M4 resplendent in his Haitch Motorsport livery. But as the season has progressed the domination of the BMW has been increasingly challenged by Kevin Viemont driving for MEKA e Sports and Tyler Newitt in their Porche Caymen GT4’s. The genial young American demonstrating how truly international our sport is.
In the other half of these Multi-Class races Tom Stanley made a great start for Asimetric TCR but had serious competition in the form of Ascari Autosport’s Chris Shaw. These two were the cream of the crop in early season; but as the weeks passed David Eyers and Karl Hardy have been chasing hard to close the gap; putting in the hours of practice required to prosper at this difficult art of Sim Racing.
The points give Andrew a pretty much unassailable lead in the GT4 class. It would take something pretty seismic to unseat him. But the TCR’s lead held by Tom Stanley was within reach of Chris Shaw with only a handful of points separating the two. The team prize was also still undecided with Haitch and MEKA just heading Result Clothing.
So the scene was set for a great evenings entertainment at Monza, as Iconic a place as it gets in motorsport. Just the words ‘Curva Parabolica’ make me shiver!
As the grid formed up after qualifying it was Andrew Hopley leading the way with ‘Double RR’ Romaim Rateau in second and the also well initialled ‘Triple AAA’ Abdulkheir Al Amry in 3rd. The BMW’s as expected having the edge in outright pace down the long straights at Monza with Tyler Newitt as the first Porsche on the grid in 4th.
In TCRs the familiar sight of Tom Stanley was in the first slot putting his Asimetric team Mate Mark Heron into second by a whisker. Chris Shaw was having technical difficulties with his equipment; just what you don’t need when there is a title on the line.. But Chris is a fighter and his top three spot put Karl Hardy in his Safeguard by Result colours into 4th.
If you know Monza at all then you know all about T1 the excruciating chicane that rears up just as everybody is going full chat down the straight. Everybody was holding their breath as the cars negotiated this obstacle for the first time. Thankfully the GT4’s were through clean as a whistle and it seemed like the TCR’s would be too, but a wheel off track for Mark Heron set him on a collision course for championship contender Chris Shaw. Slight contact ensued but both cars avoided serious damage and continued OK.
Meanwhile Andrew Hopley had made a flying start and was leading the pack when the dreaded slowdown struck; probably at the worst possible moment with the cars still bunched from the start. Mr Hopley took his unpalatable medicine, falling down the bunch from 1st to 7th in seconds.
As the second lap started the 1st chicane again showed it’s teeth as Stephan Goebel completely missed his braking point and gave Kevin Viemont a bad moment..
Princess Pete Bingham was doing his usual uplifting work highlighting Erectile Dysfuncion in this weeks themed paintwork.. More to the point, following last weeks great performance he was again running in 5th position. I miss his presence in the commentary booth but his performances on the track have proved the princess is handy with a steering wheel as well as a microphone.
just up the road it looked for a moment as though Andy Hopley had given Stewart Dick a touch on the rear wing as he spun but the eagle eyed Commentary team soon realised it was another pesky ‘Net Code’ incident and there had been no contact. Typically Andy gave up the place; the kind of sporting gesture we associate with him, and with this league in general.
Romaim was holding on to the lead with Greg Vranch in 2nd and AAA in 3rd Tyler was still in 4th but Andy Hopley who is the reigning champion and is the leading contender to retain his crown was wasting no time and by the start of lap 4 had climbed back into 5th after his adventures.
Things were just as hot in the TCR race as Martin Brennan was in a 3 wide tussle with Roger Morton and David Eyer’s. Martin’s switch from the GT4’s over to the TCR camp seem to have been an inspired idea with his times in practice and qualifying putting him firmly in the race. At the front of the TCR’s Tom Stanley had a couple of seconds over Garry Craig and Scott Malcolm, Karl Hardy in close attendance.
Tyler had just watched Mr Hopley ease past into 4th and had tucked in for a helpful bit of tow from the more powerful BMW. Concentrating on making the best use of every bit of help to stay with the leading group of BMW’s.
Kevin Viemont in his Porsche was working hard to climb up the field passing Paul Burgess to put him in 6th just behind Tyler in the other leading Cayman. Romaim had pulled a convincing lead over the 2nd 3rd and 4th runners who were in a tight group and creating a gap to Tyler as lap 12 arrived.
As the half-way point approached the pit stop window began to open and there would be the usual period of re-settling and finding out if there were any winners and losers. Meanwhile Garry Craig and Karl Hardy running 2 and 3 in their TCR’s were working hard to try and close the gap to Tom Stanley.
LAP 16 SAFETY CAR
Yes! The Yellow flags are flying..the random Safety Car is in play.
As the cars bunched up there was a bit of back and forward to get everyone in the right place after a technical hitch quickly spotted by Bill, but Clyde and Sam sorted it out with some aplomb and the cars were soon lined up ready for the Green Light.
Lap 21 and a clean re-start to the race with everyone funnelling through turns 1 & 2 safely, straight back into the close racing. Roger Morton and Martin Brennan were still hard at it with Scott Malcolm having some issues and joining the fun having fallen down the field. The racing was instantly intense through the length of the field, my friend Mr Morton trying a bit of landscaping on his lap.
The leading group of Tom Stanley Garry Craig, Chris Shaw, Mark Heron and Karl Hardy were eyeballs out at the front, changing positions and racing hard. Finally Chris Shaw headed Karl in second and Mark Heron rounding out the podium. At the front of the GT4’s Triple A crossed the line ahead of Rob Venn and Tyler Newitt. Phew!
What a race, what a series.
Andrew Hopley is our GT4 Champion once again. With Kevin Viemont and Romaim Rateau in close attendance on the podium. The TCR Challenge ended With victory for Tom Stanley by 3 points from Chris Shaw with David Eyers in a well earned third position.
The Team Championship was turned on it’s head by a late rush from the Result Clothing team followed by MEKA e Sports and Haitch Motorsport.
Great end to a most enjoyable series They Will Be Back. and I can’t wait