The proverbial road to become an iRacing professional has for another year, begun. The lucky plight of drivers who think that they are the best to the lucky who want to fire their way to stardom. The lucky few want to become the next Martin Krönke, the next Greger Huttu. And so without an Albert Park, Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace would create the chaotic start to the season that is almost customary now in iRacing circles. All aboard because the hype train begins, and there will be 10 races to cover during the season.
Many a hopeful entered through the Brazilian gates to get to the German finale and with a lot of stacked races in between, pressure was about to mount on the greatest pretenders 2017 had to offer. Many teams were looking to bolster their line ups into this series and the signings kept on delivering and delivering as a systemic purging of the best indie talent in iRacing with the two largest culprits being Radicals Online and Evolution Racing Team.
Despite this, CoRe were looking to cement their status as team three in the division, one and two it would be, Frede “OP” Rasumussen ahead of Sebastian Job. Apex Racing UK would also prove to have strong capabilities as Michael Dinkel would start third ahead of team boss Alex Simpson. And to make things looking even more realistic to the real world of Formula One, Evolution Racing team would lock out row three with Maarten van Loozenoord ahead of Riley Preston, now free from his Orion loan. Row four would see two promising talents with Josh Rogers of TTL Esports and Michael Partington of the Evolution Racing Team.
The race would kick into life with a flurry of quick moves into the tricky Senna S and Sebastian Job would make the worst of the starts for the front runners, dropping a position on the relatively short run to the opening section. Remaining scrappy into turn four, Riley Preston would make two positions at the expenses of Van Loozenoord and Simpson, sneaking down to the inside. Positions would change early as Job would find his rhythm on lap 3, making light work of Michael Dinkel down the inside of the Curva do Sol.
Dinkel would run into more issues on lap 4 as he would spin in front of the field just before the Pinheirinho, collecting front wing damage and slotting himself with Josh Rogers and Alex Simpson. You could accuse the race of trying to calm down but no such thing would happen between the two CoRe drivers at the front as Job methodically took two tenths of a second a lap to make the move down the inside of turn 1 on lap 13 of the event. Frederik would be left to hold station as he slowly dropped back in the opening stint. The other Rasmussen, Nicklas on the other hand would have more difficulty as he defended against a train of cars just outside of the top ten. He would make a mistake out of Junção and lose two positions in the next half a lap.
Alex Sadler would run into issues just before the pit stop window as he would collide with Heusinkveld CORE Motorsports driver Moritz Lohner on the exit of Mergulho. the Radicals Online driver would be bumped backwards down the pack. Further up through the field, the tyres would start heavily going away on the Evolution Racing Team machines, meaning Van Loozenoord would drop back behind the frigate of Apex vehicles with Riley Preston pitting at an equal time. Preston would remain ahead however Michael Dinkel would have to change his front wing, dropping him back to fifth overall. Van Loozenoord’s degredation would mean he would stay behind both Apex Racing UK McLaren’s.
Sebastian Job would not have his race plain sailing as on lap 41, an incident involving Carlo Labati, Eneric And Istvan Balogh would see the young Englishman go around the outside of Ferradura onto the run off to escape damage. Frederik Rasmussen on the other hand would pounce, and get back within one second. Rasmussen would try and find a way around his teammate but eventually after laps and laps of searching, the answer would be blank as Rasmussen would half spin coming out of the Pinheirinho on lap 55 of 71.
Preston on the other hand would be reeled in by Apex Racing UK team boss Alex Simpson and Simpson would showcase why he is often overlooked for his talents, pressurizing the back of the Australian’s gearbox and forcing a mistake out of the Senna S, confirming in part why Riley Preston is the unluckiest man in Sim Racing. That wouldn’t be the only incident towards the end as Nicklas Rasmussen in the GAP SRT machine would collide with Ricardo Orozco into the Descida do Lago with the former having not too many places to go during the corner. Michael Dinkel would prove to be like a machine as he hacked and slashed the gap down to his teammate and boss before comfortably making the move down the inside in the final few laps to secure the podium.
Sebastian Job would eventually have a comfortable finish to the event, winning by 4.4 seconds over Frederik Rasmussen in second while Michael Dinkel would deservedly collect a podium. Alex Simpson would collect fourth while Riley Preston and Josh Rogers would collect fifth and sixth ahead of Maarten Van Loozenoord and Michael Partington. Special mention has to go to Positive Sim Racing’s Tommy Ostgaard who majestically rose through the field from outside of the top 20 to 11th overall.
Overall the race had a lot of promise and showcased a beautiful array of talents scrapping and battling to make it to the major leagues. The majority of the moves were very clean and everyone made sure they had a memorable moment at some stage in the event. The overall story was a very good two-parter with Job battling to the front in the opening stages and then the Labati incident after the stops. The race could be accused of dropping off towards the end of the event but there was still enough to keep an audience interested before the end of the race. The lead battle did end early but I can’t complain in a battle between two teammates.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
A solid opener for the season with not too many shocks and surprises but enough to be considered a good to a very good race. The main protagonists have been instigated which is very useful for everyone to pick a favourite moving forward. I think Interlagos hasn’t disappointed again and has created another good F1 race which I would recommend as a good race to show new people to Sim Racing about a stereotypical race.