So we begin the final loop of the four tracks in the Advanced Solstice season 3 series and return to Summit Point Raceway for week nine. My goal this week was to score at least 84 points which would improve my points standings for the season (by making my poor week three be a ‘drop week’).
I started my practice on Monday evening and set some good times in the 10:05pm quali session (setting some new personal bests in the process). When I joined the race session I saw that I was ranked #2 in a small grid, and would start the race second. However from the warmup pace I could see at least three drivers who would be very difficult to beat based on their laptimes, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I had a good start from second but from the outside position I could not gain enough on the leader to take the lead at turn one. I resorted to taking a slower line into turn one (following the leader) and lost second place in the process. What followed was an intense battle between the first two racers that was amazing to watch and view from one second away! There was one or two places where I might have sniffed a half chance but both times I played it safe and kept a safe third (all the time I had fourth breathing down my neck).
I could see some lairy (but ultimately safe) as the first two battled for the lead and secretly I hoped they would end up taking each other out. What happened next was unfortunate as the second place runner experienced a laggy blip in an otherwise stable connection and was issued a phantom black flag (presumably the predictive netcode had assumed he had cut a corner somewhere) and thus he had to slow to clear it. Unknown to this at the time (and facing no other real choice) I took second place :
All the while I was trying to drive safely and keep my 1 – 1.5 second lead over the next chasing car. The leader was clearly much faster than me, but like the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare being the fastest racer doesn’t always result in the glory! Around the halfway point the leader made a mistake in putting his rear wheel on the slippy curb and caused a half spin, and lost a couple of spots :
I still had around eight laps to go and suspected the spinner would soon be on my tail (as he had only lost a handful of seconds in the incident). Still, it took a lot longer than expected for him to get back to second place and it was only on the last lap that he was in any position to come back for the lead – which was too little too late by that point.
I took an unlikely win in one of the most entertaining and action packed races I have had in iRacing so far. The 137 points massively improved on my week three score of 84 points and I managed to hop two drivers in the standings to 5th place. It will be difficult to stay there, but the next goal is to now improve on my week four score of 92 points.