Gas, gas, gas!
We go to Red Bull Ring in Austria for Round 4. It will be critical race for many, as it is mathematicly last race you can earn ballast and drop it before Le Mans Finale.
Red Bull Ring has always had tight, unpredictable and fun races. it has 3 long straights, so top speed will be critical, but also couple slow tight corners. Ballast should really be in effect here and as circuit is short, traffic will also play major part.
has had excellent start to the season, and made history last weekend in Spa. As NWR_Spookyluki
could not make the race, it was down to NWR_Bottlejob
to carry some points to the team. There was some concerns as he had struggled in Spa in past, but he qualified second and then took lead in lap 1. British driver pushed hard on opening stint with supersofts to build some gap to the rest. Rest of the race his gap slowly got smaller and smaller as others were in softer tires now and they drove through some thick traffic. In the end, he did just enough to take his first ever GT-MES win: ‘’ I definitely got a podium although I was expecting it to be the bottom step, not the top one. Even through the race it probably wasn't until the final couple of laps that I thought I was going to win, the Gr3s played a massive part in making the Gr2 class unpredictable as I think all 4 of us saw large losses at some point getting stuck behind them through either Pouhon or Les Fagnes’’.
It means Lexus wins back to back races for first time ever, and extend their championship lead. NWR_Spookyluki will miss another race, so NWR_Hatton93
will replace him for race this weekend. He holds record for most podiums without a win, and he has quite a good chance this weekend. No ballast for him and he was very fast last season in Red Bull Ring, just missing out on podium. NWR_Hatton93 comments on his return: ‘’ No expectations really, just happy to be back for a race and at a circuit i like, hope to get a decent result for the team as they lead the teams championship, no ballast so a podium should be possible’’.
Coming off from race win, NWR_Bottlejob is now carrying lot of ballast. He was great here last season with Gr3, but that does not make his job any easier this weekend: ‘’ Realistically, tomorrow is about finishing and striking off the +3% ballast gained at Round 1. At RBR, I won't be able to drive around my ballast so anything other than last will be welcome’’.
With NWR_Hatton93 possibly fighting for win, if NWR_Bottlejob can have big race and finish ahead of both Nissan’s, it would be huge for championship.
could not win in Spa, but had great result. TSR_JoeToGuy
defeated the odds again, and took 2nd place in Spa with very heavy car, while TSR_Tomsoft
took 3rd place. TSR_Tomsoft was bit lucky, due smaller field he started 4th due his penalty and quickly made his way to 3rd and then second. Eventually it was his teammate TSR_JoeToGuy as leading Nissan as they chased leader. They ran out of laps, but still good points for both drivers and the team. ‘’ Was pretty good and wasn't too much affected by my penalty. No major issues and performance was as I'd expected it. Gr3 were a bit of a problem but I can't really do anything against that’’
– TSR_Tomsoft. In very consistant and dominant championship winning season for TSR_JoeToGuy last season, Red Bull Ring was only circuit he missed podium. That was due ballast, and again he goes to Red Bull Ring with heaviest car. He still thinks podium might be possible, but main contender in Nissan should be TSR_Tomsoft that has lot lighter car, but he is not optimistic: ''I'm still struggling around working out the car here and there, so I just hope for a clean race and nothing further, podium would be a surprise, but Red Bull Ring is one of my weak tracks so I'll just enjoy the race and hope for good battles''.
has had tricky start to the season. jonimestari91
had technical issues, and missed first 3 races of the season, leaving sota59
as only Honda. He had bad race in Nurburgring finishing 5th. Sardegna he made his way to 2nd place, and in Spa he took the pole, only to drop to 4th place. Good news for them is that there is finally 2 cars on field, as 4-time champion Nils
return to Honda. After two seasons in Honda, he was expected to join Jaguar for second half of the season, but possibility to return to Honda came up. With Nils and sota59, Honda not only have their most successful drivers back together in Honda first time since Season 3, but also 2 most successful drivers in GT-MES in same team. They are 1-2 in most wins, most pole positions and most fastest laps, and also have combined 9 drivers titles between them, 7 in Honda. As Nils enters midseason, he does not have any ballast, so he should be fighting for win. He has never won in Red Bull Ring, but been close several times, and if he wants to still fight for title this season, he needs to start with bang. sota59 in other car should be fast too, he does not have that much ballast and was second last time we raced here. He also needs big result to keep title hopes alive: ‘’Realistically top 2 is not possible, but 3rd place is goal, and expectation. Need to get it done, won’t be easy though’’.
took surprising win in Sardegna, and then hit home run in Spa. GT250GTO
took pole position and lead early laps, but then slipped back to group behind him. As epic fight in Gr3 fired up, de-luck4
went with alternative strategy and could drive in clean air. In the end Toyota’s speed was too much for others, and de-luck4 headed GTO250GTO home for Toyota 1-2, his second win in a row. With GTO250GTO taking point for fastest lap, it was perfect race. ‘’ I'm very pleased with the result. Pole, FL, Toyota 1-2. Almost perfect. If I had not lost focus a little bit towards the end of the first stint, I could have won. Key for the good result was the awesome setup work of de-luck, though’’
- GTO250GTO. In race where almost every driver got penalties for track limits, stewards made controversial decision to change de-luck4’s time penalty for grid penalty for next race, keeping de-luck4 as Spa winner. With set to start behind big group of talented driver and now with +10% weight, it will be tough race for championship leader: ‘’ Balast starts to be a big chalange, specialy at track like this. Fact that i start last, takes all pressure away from me. Interesting where i can end at finish line’’.
Supra should be fastest car in Red Bull Ring, so don’t rule out top 6 finish out for de-luck4, but all eyes will be on GTO250GTO. Last season’s poleman has bit of ballast compared to last season, but lot more experience. Last season he dropped down the field quickly, will be interesting if he can reserve that and fight for podium or even win.
had difficult race in Sardegna, but they made good improvement in Spa. They could not repeat win from last season, but RLH_Wesley99
got solid 3rd place, not far off the win. Main positive was that he could start the race, and secure some points. He also was on alternative strategy compered to others, and could avoid some traffic, key to his podium. His teammate RTA_SAFFA
had quite opposite race, having to battle half the grid, on his way to 5th place. He dropped down to 6th due track limits issues: ''It was good race. Bad qualifying because I got blocked but it happens! Race was going well until I used the wrong tires in the wrong stint. Also got a 8 seconds penalty which hurt a lot''.
RTA_SAFFA will miss Round 4, so it will be only RLH_Wesley99 carrying team. He got his first podium last weekend, but needs more big results to fight for his second title: ''Hope I can carry the pace from last week with me to this race in the Red Bull Ring. I still don't have much ballast so I think you should be able to fight for the top step of the podium again''.
started season as one of the favorites to win both titles, but missed podium again in Spa. TSR_Swablu
was fighting for lead all race long, but ended up finishing 4th. He got +5sec penalty too, but luckily drivers behind him got penalties also. G4 Rotary
was struggling yet again, and ended up finishing 9th, 10th after penalties. TSR_Swablu now heads to Red Bull Ring with bit of pressure, he has not been on podium since Round 1, and if he wants to fight for titles, he needs podiums and wins. Jaguar should suit the circuit and ballast should not be issue: ''Not gonna get much practice which isnt great since i am needing some good results. Chance at a win if i find the time to practice and dial in a good setup''.
Since Nils went to Honda, driver in the second car for rest of the season will be Houdini Myers
from Portugal. He has couple races under him from Season 12, but he is coming in to new car middle of the season, it wont be easy. He is hoping to just have clean race and avoid finishing last.
missed podium, but it was not all bad. y_bearr_
could fight for podium with heavy car, eventually finishing 5th after penalties: ''It was a juicy one, I had a battle from first lap with pigeon and front runners. My pace was good ( think... because I didn't see my pace due to too busy dogfighting ). At the end I spun while battling with Saffa and Swablu. But overall it was good, battling hard but fair''
did not have pace to fight for podium, but solid midfield laptimes, but track limit issues left him 8th after penalties. Round 4 should be bit better, not his best circuit in past, but Porsche works well there and he has light car compered to others: ''A top 5 would be good, my car seems to have pace this weekend. However I haven’t been feeling well so I’ll try my best but nothing is guaranteed''.
y_bearr_ still has one of the heaviest cars, but says it is not as big issue as in past: ''I don't have enough practice this weekdays, but I hope I can find some speed this weekend. I had my last season weakness solved, so like I usually do...aim for podium for Red Bull Ring''.
had tough race in Spa after amazing trip in Sardegna. doc-shipman
ended 7th after all penalties and thunderpigeon
was 9th. But doc-shipman said they still had great fun: ''Excluding a couple of mistakes early on I had a great time. Not my best result by far, but a really fun fight with G4 and TP, some team tactics and communication worked well and a decent pit strategy meant I had softs at the end when the others were on mediums. Had a great time''.
His teammate thunderpigeon also said he enjoyed race, but frustrated by result: ''Bad performance from me. A failed move on ybear in the early stages put me on the back foot, letting amuda by. Then on my at the end of that stint, I out broke myself into the bus stop, as I was hoping to pit. I got reset and lost 3 positions on pit entry which set me back further and lost yet more time. I had the pace on those around me, but due to the speed of the Jag and the slipstream (and driver inability) I couldn't recover. But I enjoyed battling lots of drivers in the race, so still had a nice evening despite last on track''.
thunderpigeon will miss Round 4, so it will be just doc-shipman running: ''I'm not great at RBR, but I'm hoping for a good battle like last week at Spa''.