Wet weather stole the scene in round 2 of the Coach Dave Super Sprint. On an already demanding track such as Zandvoort, rain pouring down increased the level of focus and consistency required. The result of these unpredictable weather conditions has been a couple of tense races, with drivers trying to hold their nerves and bring their cars home in the best possible position.
Late drama for Simware.Pro: KKrämer Racing eSports takes the win in race 1
The number of overtakes on track might have been inferior to what we are accustomed to, but race 1 already reserved us an incredible turn of events. Starting from pole position and building a comfortable gap in the first stint has not been enough for the Simware.Pro by VDES #42. With just 12 minutes remaining, Mikhail Bykov was forced to pull his Bentley to the side of the track and retire. A hardware issue took away what could have been an important win for their campaign.
The late twist meant that KKrämer Racing eSports could claim the first win of the season. Marco Bischoff and Jonas van Dreuten did have quite an eventful race, but managed to come out on top regardless. After starting in P3, the Porsche #977 quickly became a threat to the #449 YAS HEAT – Pirelli Mercedes driven by Maciej Malinowski. Bischoff gained P2 when the two touched and Malinowski got the worst outcome, grazing the barriers coming out of the final corner and facing the wrong way. The episode was ruled as a racing incident, and with the Simware.Pro #41 hitting trouble, van Dreuten took the flag in first.
A much needed win for them after a bittersweet first round two weeks ago. In fact, in Brands Hatch they started off the season with the wrong foot getting just a P18. Finishing in seventh in race 2 partially saved the day, but this victory gave them a proper boost in the standings. Unfortunately for them, the second heat in Zandvoort has been a completely different story, as they just collected a P20.
R8G eSports and the other Simware.Pro each get a spot on the podium
R8G eSports #221 and the Simware.Pro #41 started respectively in P5 and P6 and stayed together for the entire hour, giving life to a tense battle. They finished the race separated by less than 3 seconds, with Niklas Houben and Luke Whitehead ahead. Talking about the podium positions in race 1, a honourable mention is needed for the Veloce #28. James Baldwin drove solo and finished in P2, showcasing some bold moves as he climbed the standings. Failing to perform a driver swap meant that the #28 was hit by a 130 seconds time penalty, resulting in a final P25.
Coming home in P4 was the Simracing Masterclass #777. Zaahir Essa and Raymond Mooney bounced back after a disappointing first round in Brands Hatch, where a contact in the first lap of race 1 relegated them to the back of the field. Top 5 was completed by the YAS HEAT – Richard Mille #75 of George Boothby and Jaroslav Honzik, able to recover after a disappointing qualifying that had them in P18.
Another team rising from the midfield was the QLASH Simracing #129. Amedeo Castorino and David Pertile clinched an important P6, just ahead of RACEWERK.com #91, after starting ten places behind. PRIME eRACING #77, YAS HEAT – Pirelli #449 and GTWR R8G Academy – Black #154 rounded up the top 10. A placement in these spots is always crucial in the Coach Dave Super Sprint, as the team in tenth starts from the front in race 2 with the grid reversal.
YAS HEAT Pirelli gets redemption in race 2
In race 2 it was the YAS HEAT – Pirelli team making the best of the reversed grid rule. Mikhail Statsenko was determined to get a good result following the unlucky events of the first heat and immediately took the lead coming into turn 1. A spot they would never leave until the chequered flag, thanks to a flawless performance by both Statsenko and Malinowski. The gap to their closest rivals, GTWR R8G Academy – Black #154, slowly increased throughout the race, reaching the 7.5 seconds mark at the end of the hour.
A crucial win that puts them up in second in the standings, just five points behind the leading Simware.Pro #41. It is still quite early to make any calculations, but one thing is for sure: they will be in title contention with the sister team, YAS HEAT – Richard Mille #75. The latter finished in third, following a collective effort. In the first stint, Honzik had the bravery to make an impressive move on Castorino between turns 2 and 3. The overtake gave them the track position, which was brilliantly kept by Boothby in the second half of the race, especially in the final minutes. A recovering Veloce #28 driven by Eamonn Murphy put some pressure on the YAS HEAT Ferrari, but Boothby never blinked to bring home a crucial P3.
QLASH Simracing emerges from busy midfield to clinch P5
Despite being on the other side of the move by Honzik, QLASH Simracing #129 did not discourage and claimed a season-high P5. This top-5 finish follows two consecutive sixth places and brings Castorino and Pertile un in the overall standings. The Italian duo showcased a competitive pace and strong nerves, holding off a crowded midfield.
With RACEWERK.com #91 once again finishing right behind QLASH Simracing, an even closer fight has been the one for P7, involving Simware.Pro #41, Simracing Masterclass #777 and Carbon Simsport #7. The three crews ended the race separated by less than one second! The action by this group of cars definitely kept the broadcasting crew busy throughout the race.
Simware.Pro takes P1 in the standings, as former leaders struggle
The seventh place by Simware.Pro #41, added to the P3 in race 1, becomes relevant for the title fight. Despite not being able to win a race yet, Vyacheslav Abuladze and Egor Ogorodnikov are now in the lead of the championship with 126 points, 5 more than YAS HEAT – Pirelli #449. This massive shakeup in the standings has been favoured by an underperforming Williams Esports. After starting in P28, the Mercedes #80 ended race 1 in P23. Things were slightly better in the second heat, with Daire McCormack and Tinko van der Velde on a desperate mission to save what could be saved and ending in P16. Only 8 points collected and a lot of work to do in the upcoming rounds to recover the ground lost.
Things have not been easy for the Jardier Community as well. After winning race 2 in Brands Hatch, the #44 Bentley occupied P2 coming into Zandvoort. A P14 and a P19 made them slide six places below in the standings, tied with Williams Esports.
These radical changes to the standings prove that the title fight for the Coach Dave Super Sprint will go down to the wire, as anything can happen. Will we see some more twists in Barcelona? We will find out in the third round, scheduled on the 31st of March.