The round 1 nerves were out of the way and the championship was now getting serious as drivers prepared themselves for round 2 of The SOP Motorsports Sprint Cup Series. The weeklong wait was over, and it was time for another race day to begin where we would see 45 drivers take to the grid Wednesday night.
How would the drivers with ballast cope with the fast directional change that COTA presents? Would someone new come to the fore? and would we see rivalries start to shine through? Let’s find out what happened Below.
Round 2 – COTA
Qualifying and the race took place in some hot temperatures accustomed to Austin Texas, but it was Riccardo Malgotti in the Silver class who was as cool as a cucumber to stick it on pole by a whopping .700th of a second. Lightyears ahead of the pack when we are talking about qualifying times. Propping up the Silver qualifying podium was Markus Jousma and last week’s winner Matt Lee, although Matts race in particular didn’t go so smoothly and he finished outside of the top 10.
In the Pro class it was a different story as Malgottis .700th gap in the Silvers is what would separate the entire top 12 in the Pro class. It was a tight affair at the front, but it would be Milton Tomlinson-Dennis returning to the series who would grab pole position, with Luca Tavernari and Thomas Mourant taking second and third in a mirror image to round 1. This time it would be Mourant who fell victim to problems on the formation lap, however, and had to start from the pits.
The buildup to this race was something that would give anyone anxiety issues. Many drivers still to get track medals, many drivers to complete even just 5 valid consecutive laps, many drivers to even lay rubber on tarmac for the first time here, meant the start of the race was always going to be interesting. Such is COTA with wide sweeping entries to corners, which very rapidly narrow to single file exits, meant turn 1 of lap 1 caused chaos for some, as others managed to avoid it all and gap the pack from the word go.
Rewatch the entire race for yourself below:
Milton got the break in the Audi with its superior acceleration, to avoid it all behind. By the end of the race, he had a 20s cushion to anyone in a very dominant return. This puts him joint top of the standings with round 1 winner, Liam Page, due to the championships drop round feature.
Things got spicy very quickly behind Milton as a battle raged on between 6 other drivers, which was initially headed by Luca Tavernari, until his race unfolded dramatically, meaning he finished outside the top 10.
Peter Brett lost it through the COTA Esses as his game froze when running inside the top 3 and so it was Leon Sealy, who has recently qualified for the FIA Motorsport games representing Barbados, and Iain Egan who emerged from the pack to claim the other two podium spots, which they held for the majority of the race.
At the flag there was still only 15s separating 5th to 10th in Pro as others lower down struggled with track limits, collisions or other external issues.
The battle for the Silver class was an interesting one and the podium positions quite literally were contested until the final corner of the final lap.
Malgotti, much like Milton, got the break away with his Audi to steer clear of any danger behind, something he had succumbed to in the opening round. He went on to take victory in Silver, but also finished P6 overall in a vastly improved performance.
Andre Dixon Chen found himself second at the flag as he came through the pack pretty unnoticed, managing to avoid any troubles and keep his nose clean for his best result racing in the SOP Motorsport community.
Whilst it was Kris Vickers who rounded out the silver podium in a battle that went down to the wire. Marc Bunyan and Di Caprio in 3rd and 4th place collided and it was Kris who slide on through with just two laps remaining.
This race was fast, frantic and fruitful to say the least and we still have no idea after two rounds who the championship favorites are.
The full standings after the race can be found below:
A few special mentions and the round up from round 2 then:
This man pictured below, Iain Egan is the only driver from the top 4 in each class from round 1, who had repeat success, taking another podium in his 989 SOP Esports Honda. Whilst Christian Romano climbed up to P4 in Pro after starting P13 and Matt Comelio moved into P5 from P11. A great run for them both. In the Silver class Andre Dixon-Chen climbed into P2 for the Silvers after starting P14 and Di Caprio climbed up to P4 after starting P18 in two remarkable drives.
Round Up – Round 2
So that is round 2 done and dusted at COTA. A track I am sure the drivers are happy to put behind them. Two DSQs for driving the wrong way and 8 DT penalties for track limits is enough for one race. Round three in a week’s time will see the drivers head to Silverstone, Britain, where they can expect typical British weather.
The top 3 in each class from round 2 will now have to suffer the consequences of their success, as they will be hit with success ballast. 30kg for the winner, 20kg for second and 10kg for the third. This success ballast applies to the top three from every round and I am sure it will only further enhance this championship as it shakes up the pecking order each round.