So round 1 & 2 have been and gone and GTWR and Race Anywhere Simsport have been victorious in the opening two rounds. How would things play out for round 3 of the SOP Motorsport GTWC Cup?
Round 3 is sponsored by Delta Detailing supplies and the winning team’s drivers walk away with an Ultimate Delta Detailing bundle each, but who would that team be? Well as the title suggests it was the romeo’s gin by SOP Esports Lamborghini that came to take the victory.
But let’s recap on what Sunday’s race had in store for you.
Qualifying started as a fast track so cars were slightly slower than expected on the first runs, but it was Simon Bauer who was the initial pole sitter with the first 10 minutes of qualifying over, followed by Chris Severt and Luke Whitehead.
The second half of qualifying however saw a big shuffle in the order as the fast track turned optimum and times started to tumble, GTWRs Luke Whitehead set an initial 1:59.9 before posting a 1:59.5. He then really wanted to deflate the opposition by posting a 1:59.4 on his final run to take the pole at Bathurst by a mighty .700th of a second.
It was Eelco Bussink for the Rookie Monsters who would line up alongside Luke on the front row with the two SOP Esports machines piloted by Simon Bauer and Chris Severt occupying the second row in third and fourth.
How different this would look after lap 1…
Issues on board GTWRs Honda even before the formation lap began saw them needing to start from the pit lane! A torrid situation after taking a commanding pole, but the race for them was now on.
The lights turned green, and it was looking like a successful first lap for everyone else. No cars made contact or had issues through the mountain and the teams were racing two by two as if they were boarding Noah’s Ark! Until the penultimate corners!..
Contact made between the leading two Hondas of Eelco and Simon saw them make contact through the chase sending them both into a half spin. This gifted the lead to Chris Severt in the romeo’s gin SOP Esports Lamborghini and they really never looked back after that.
Through the mess came West Competition Racings Ferrari into second and the Rookie Monster x SOP Esports Porsche into third after qualifying fifth and sixth with Hayden Harter piloting the TSE – High Octane Citrus Lemon Lamborghini into fourth after qualifying eighth.
Rewatch all the action here:
30 Minutes In
30 minutes in and the mountain had started to claim its victims. We saw one huge pile up involving no less than 10 teams triggered by the Seawolf Netrace Mercedes losing control through the dipper and rejoining in front of the romeo’s gin by SOP Esports Bentley. With nowhere to go for the Bentley, the Mercedes was sent spinning after contact and then a roadblock formed with multiple casualties.
Through this incident and several other small incidents, GTWRs charge carried on, starting from the pits they had already negotiated 75% of the field and found themselves in sixth place with one hour remaining on the clock. Could they take a podium position?
During the pitstop phase, we saw many teams shuffle up and down the order. Lots of damage on the cards that needed repairing for many teams it seems, as slow pitstops were registering up and down the grid. Emerging through it all 15 seconds in the lead was the Lamborghini now piloted by Ryley Murdock, followed by Chris Harteveld in the GTWR Honda now up to second and the TSE Lamborghini with David Macoretta behind the wheel.
Mourant was fourth with 30 minnutes remaining in the 137 Porsche, Miclea in the WCR Ferrari dropped to fifth place after repairing damage and Iain Egan now behind the SOP Esports Honda was in sixth after recovering from the lap 1 incident for the lead.
The Final Phase Of The Race
The final 10 minutes of this race really came to life for various reasons. First was the SG10 Penalty for the SOP Honda in sixth, this dropped them to tenth behind Le Mans Rennsport, Team Abby Racing, The Racing Blog and a fellow SOP Esports Racing Porsche after being deemed responsible for the collision.
Chris Harteveld met a wall with 6 minutes to go so he picked up damage in the GTWR Honda, which meant Ryley Murdock won the race by over 30 seconds in the romeo’s gin by SOP Esports Lamborghini, but the chase was now on for the remaining podium spots. The TSE Dekoni Racing – Citrus Lemon Lamborghini came through to make it a Lambo 1-2 with Mourant passing in the Porsche with 2 minutes to spare also to round out the podiums.
GTWR managed to keep hold of fourth, which is a remarkable result after starting in the pits with West Competition Racing bringing home a solid fifth-place finish.
Full Results can be found here:
So many big teams came to have issues at round 3, sponsored by Delta Detailing supplies. The top 3 in qualifying here all had issues of their own with only one of those teams managing to get back inside the top 10 at the flag.
This has truly shuffled the overall standings in the championship. GTWR still hold the overall lead in the championship but absent was Race Anywhere Simsport, so they have dropped outside the top 5 overall and only one team saw repeat podium positions from Laguna Seca, this being the Rookie Monsters x SOP Esports Porsche team who now sit second in the standings with back-to-back third place finishes.
It’s now The Racing Blog who occupy third in the overall standings after registering a fourth-place finish coupled with two eighth place finishes, with the SOP Esports Racing in fourth and West Competition Racing in fifth.
We head to COTA in two weeks’ time where track limits will surely be an issue for teams. Will it spring any extra surprises? Only time will tell. Expect the Hondas and Porsches to be back at the front of the grid again.