Invictus Racing League – Round six in review – Leaving Britain with the best deal in the championship

 

The season hit its half way point in Silverstone this week as the iconic British circuit hosted an array of incredible races across the week. Often a fan-favourite, Silverstone offers up a quick and sweeping circuit where drivers will be on the edge of grip, whilst battling the unpredictable British weather conditions.

The track is a regular attraction on the Invictus calendar, and with the prospect of a one week break after round six, it would be certain that all drivers would be looking at finishing the first half of the season on a high.

 

No-assist

Coming into round six, it was Williams driver Samuthepito who was in red-hot form after taking the last three race wins, and in-turn a commanding lead in the drivers’ championship.

Silverstone is a much different circuit to the likes of Canada and Austria where Sam had been so dominant, with sweeping sections and heavy braking zones confined to the start and end of the lap, it would be all about following the driver ahead and punishing mistakes and it was a damp and drizzly start to qualifying for the field which only added to the difficulty when looking at keeping the car within the white lines on the exit of turns like Abbey or Copse.

Sam has been very impressive in the wet sessions so far this season; however it was his closest rival in the championship Scopefielder who set the fastest time of the session on the intermediate tyres. The Red Bull drove a super lap to be the only driver to dip under 97 seconds as his 1m36.996 was easily good enough to fight off the likes of Scott (BoyBetterKnowSB) into second, whilst Sam would share the second row alongside reigning champion Speed_Queen80.

Although lining up third, Sam had a rocket of a start off of the line as he took the lead into turn two, whilst Scott managed to jump the pole-sitter Scope. Scott would then make an audacious move around the outside of Sam into Maggotts as he somehow took the lead off the Spaniard in a jaw-dropping move.

The top three ran nose-to-tail over the opening four laps, but disaster for the Mercedes of Scott on lap five as the leading two collided into the loop at turn four and spun Scott around as the rest of the field streamed past, the contact also allowed Scopefielder through as he resumed first on track after losing it so quickly off the line.

Lap eleven saw the first retirement after Stifler1980 lost control of the McLaren on the exit of Copse and hit the wall, but luckily staying off track meaning only a localised yellow flag was brought out, whilst next lap saw a strange accident for NeverMiss00 who suffered a technical fault in the Sauber as he ran off-line at the Wellington straight and directly into the wall on the entry to Brooklands, in what looked a very nasty crash for the young driver.

This brought out the Virtual Safety Car which had worked perfectly for the pair of Sam and Speed_Queen who had stayed out longer than Scopefielder, and using the slowed pace were able to resume the top two positions with a comfortable lead over Scope. However the man on the move after the VSC was Scott, his early spin had dropped him down the order, but using excellent pace around Silverstone he had been able to claw back time on the rest of the field, and by lap twenty was already back into sixth.

At the head of the pack Samuthepito had kept Speed_Queen at a comfortable distance, and after she started to build up some pressure on the Williams, he seemingly just turned it up another gear and steadily pulled away from the Ferrari in the remaining laps.

The chequered flag was out as the cars completed lap 26 and Sam made it four-in-a-row for Williams and continued to build a huge gap in the driver’s standings.  Speed_Queen once again had a strong showing with another podium, and with the top two not yet finishing lower than fourth this season gave an idea to the consistency required to excel at this level.

Scott had done a superb job to climb back into a podium place by the end of the race after late overtakes on nikki9095, Scopefielder and GP1 Alex, however a penalty would relegate the Mercedes back off the podium. The surprise addition to the top three was that of GP1_Alex, the Sauber drove a fantastic race and although finished fifth on track, his calm driving ability saw him promoted to a second third place finish in three races.

Sam’s dominance once again sees him open up a 24 point lead over Speed_Queen in the overall standings, and taking a 26 point lead over Scopefielder in tier 2. Whilst almost single-handily taking control in constructors, as Williams lead Ferrari by three points.

It’s been a storming start for Sam, and with Speed_Queen, Scope and Scott all with a lot of ground to reclaim if they are to challenge him come the end of the season, perhaps the one week break comes at the wrong time for him?

 

Realistic Performance

Performance 1

In what was possibly one of the most exciting Performance League races in recent memory, the depleted field of ten drivers made up for it in what was a thrilling race at Silverstone.

It was an all Red Bull front row in qualifying as the team-mates of ColinJ and SirSpud both locked out the front row in a well needed result for the Sir Colin Racing Team. Whilst current points leader AaronJSpence lined up third with championship rival SkyZii in fourth.

It was a good start for Colin who got away well, but team-mate Spud lost the rear on the entry to turn two running wide and having to drop well down the order, subsequent contact with Mike into Brooklands would then add to his frustration as he pitted on lap one.

Colin had led the field away, but an excellent move from SkyZii saw the Sauber take the lead at Luffield, as Colin was then quickly passed by Aaron on lap two allowing Aaron and SkyZii to enter a race long battle for the win.

WaveIntel has seen a share of struggles in his attempt to win another Performance league championship, but with a move on Colin on lap seven, he was able to move into a podium position and begin what was a fascinating three car battle for the lead over the next ten laps. However contact between the three on lap 14 would see WaveIntel pick up minor damage and effectively halt his chances as he retired the next lap.

Ten laps were left in the race and Aaron and SkyZii continued to trade first and second almost every lap, and as they counted down a new threat started to emerge, as the Ferrari of Fascone who after starting on fresh tyres was showing mighty pace in the final third of the race, and by lap 20 was well onto the rear end of the leading two.

In the fight for fourth, we saw an unbelievable final six laps from the quintuple of Tom444, SirSpud, xMIKExSI, Captain_Stiff and Benjym214 and with the five all circulating within two seconds of each other, something was brewing that would impress everyone.

Ahead, Fascone caught the Haas of Aaron, and with his attention away from SkyZii briefly he went on the defensive in the vain attempt at holding the Ferrari behind, however lap 23 saw Fascone make his move into second as the Ferrari power was just too much for Aaron.

It all came down to the final lap! Two battles, one for the podium places and the other for fourth to eighth. Fascone was on the tail of SkyZii for the whole lap, but low of useable energy he did not have power to pass the Sauber allowing SkyZii to come home and finally pick up his first victory in the Performance league at the eighteenth attempt. Whilst Aaron had to settle for third as the top three were split by one second.

It didn’t stop there for action, as behind the fight for fourth saw an incredible four wide drag down the Wellington Straight with a brave Captain_Stiff making a move on the three into Brooklands, and whilst there was banging of wheels into Luffield all drivers escaped unscathed and pushed hard over the final two sectors, and on aging tyres SirSpud who had seen himself in fourth briefly lost time on the Hangar Straight and crossing the line had seen fourth become eighth.

Mike was the eventual owner of fourth, whilst Stiff and Benjym came from no-where to claim fifth and sixth, whilst seventh and eighth went to Tom and Spud who suffered with late penalties.

It was a breath-taking race in Performance 1 on Tuesday, and the drivers will hope to continue with the same pace in China in two weeks. What a race.

 

Performance 2

Megglugpy leads the way in Performance 2 as we reach the half way stage in the championship, and with a healthy 15 point advantage back to NickLJThomson in second, he will be looking at building on his early season success in a fortnight in Shanghai.

After his hat-trick of wins was halted by Nick in Montreal, the championship leader had looked to maintain a strong performance leaving Silverstone.

Mj_coop’s fortunes in the performance league this season are yet to match his F2 campaign as fifth is his current best finish this season, but with pole position at Silverstone, he would look to vanquish those woes and give a late kick-start to his season.

He had Sab alongside him on the front row, and with the likes of Nick and Megglugpy in fifth and seventh respectively, the main challenger in the early part of the race would come from Scopefielder in third.

However it turned out to be a disappointing race for Sab, after starting well and running high up the order he lost the car on the exit of Copse and at such speeds had little to no chance at stopping the car, as the Red Bull hit the wall and ended his race prematurely.

Whilst the pack were filtering into the correct positioning in the early stages, Tejuarr had made steady progress into the top five until contact with mj_coop effectively ended both driver’s races, and ended a torrid start to the season for coop in a championship that he would have looked at challenging for in the pre-season.

Scopefielder made his way to the front, and there he stayed for the duration of the race. The Swedish driver was looking for better fortunes on Tuesday than his Monday night race, and as he crossed the line to the chequered flag he could finally breathe a sigh of relief, as not only did he pick up the victory in Britain, but his 15 points now puts him one point behind Nick and sixteen behind Megg for the overall driver’s championship.

Nick was able to make it two podiums in succession with a second place finish, whilst Jos_Heinssie made it a fourth third place in sixth races, and sits on forty points after non-scoring in Bahrain and Japan.

Megglugpy was well off the pace in the Williams tonight, and finished 45 seconds off the leaders in fifth, and with his team-mate coop’s retirement, they give up the lead in the constructors back to Scopefielder and Jos who take a six point advantage into the break.

It’s been a solid start to the season for Megglugpy, he’ll be hoping for more of the same from round seven; however Nick, Scope and Jos will all be looking at a charge late in the calendar.

 

Equal Performance

F1

Swedish supremo Scopefielder made it a fourth win from the six races so far this season, and with championship rival Samuthepito absent from the race, the Renault driver looked in great shape to extend his championship lead in F1.

It has been Nikki9095 who has benefitted from Sam missing the race, as a number of excellent drives this season has seen him overhaul the Spaniard in the championship standings. He now makes it a third podium in a row, and after coming home second in Silverstone moves into second, but with an 18 point deficit to Scopefielder, he and the rest of the pack have a huge task to catch the current favourite for the title.

Scope enjoyed a perfect evening in Silverstone, as he went from flag to flag in first position after a superb pole lap gave him the best possible run down to Abbey at turn one. He started alongside Megglugpy, who was looking at a good result after a strong qualifying session, and at the end of the 26 laps, although dropping behind Nikki on track was able to make it a second podium finish of the season.

After dominating around Silverstone, Scope will look at stretching his lead in the second half of the season and putting the F1 title out of reach for everyone else as early as possible. Renault own a 29 point advantage in the constructors battle, as Scope and Jos have built a comprehensive lead over the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.

It’s a game of catch-up in F1 for the next six races, can anyone make up the gap to Scopefielder, or will it be a debut Equal Performance championship for Scopefielder?

 

F2

Coming into the sixth round of the season, Formula Two has been engaged in a superb battle at the top of the table, but with mj_coop, NickLJThomson and GooDStuff all vying over top spot, the eyes will firmly be on a close battle in the second half of the season.

Qualifying went well for the Ferrari of Nick, and with the chequered flag out at the end of the 18 minute session he sat in second place behind the McLaren of Humbostone, but as the final car to cross the line he set a blistering lap to claim pole and place him in the perfect position on the grid.

GooDStuff managed to jump up onto the second row alongside debutant Partridge99, whilst mj_coop couldn’t improve and slipped to sixth behind white-fountainn.

It was a great launch for Nick from P1, but chaos immediately ensued from P2 as Humbostone lit the rear tyres up and slid across the track, after clipping the rear of GooDStuff the German was lucky to escape, however the McLaren then hurtled back across the track directly into the path of GP1 Alex and Steen, with Steen suffering most and retiring before even getting to turn one.

Double disaster for McLaren saw NeverMiss00 spin at Abbey as both McLarens dropped to the tail of the pack early in the race.

An early safety car shook the field up, and with the leader Nick the only one to pit, he would go onto the durable but much slower super-hard compound, and with drivers ahead like ColinJ and Partridge equally going for the blue walled tyre, it would be a real test for the Ferrari to climb back up the order.

There was controversy on lap eight as both Nick and GP1 Alex were given the black flag by the stewards for not serving a drive-through penalty. The misdemeanour would prove to be huge come the end of the race and as Nick pulled into the garage he knew that his championship chances took a huge hit.

As the pit window opened, it was GooDStuff who had been leading, but with the likes of Partridge and ColinJ on the tyres to the end, GooDStuff would need to clear the leading pair if he was to reclaim the lead in the race.

Mj_coop had been in a relatively quiet race, and as the laps started counting down the 20 mark, he started closing in on the Renault of white-fountainn for fourth place, the Red Bull driver knew that with GooDStuff at least picking up a podium, he would need as many points as possible to keep in touch with the Haas car.

A change for P2 on lap 22 saw GooDStuff move past Colin, who was starting to really struggle on the very worn super-hard tyres, and with three laps remaining it looked though Partridge would be picking up a debut victory in the Force India.

A final lap push from GooDStuff proved to be decisive, and with Partridge across the line with nine seconds of penalties, the Haas in second place came across the line and snatched the victory by one tenth of a second!

A late battle, saw ColinJ slip behind white-fountainn, whilst coop really strggled with time penalties and dropped from fourth at the line to sixth, and in the process saw the lead at the top of F2 disappear with GooDStuff now back in charge.

It was a fantastic race for Colin to come home fourth from a 15th place start, but he will be disappointed to have lost the podium place so close to the end.

A fantastic penalty free run from GooDStuff launches him back into the lead in F2 leaving Great Britain, and with coop and Nick both dropping a huge amount of points, he takes a 7 point lead going into the break.

Coop sits on 49, whilst Nick’s DSQ drops him well within reach of Nismax and white-fountainn. Whilst in the constructors, Haas are comfortably ahead on 81 points, with Red Bull, Ferrari and Renault fighting out over second currently.

 

F3

After a game glitch ruined the first attempt of F3, the field took another go at running the race during the one week break, and with a slightly smaller field of drivers in Silverstone for the second attempt, it would give the 12 involved a great chance at picking up some valuable championship points.

FerociousDan led the way in the title by 4 points to Captain_Stiff, but xMIKExSI, F1Richard and Tejuarr were all well aware that a good result could elevate them well into a championship fight for the second half of the season.

Last race we saw the debut of Coloman, and the Renault took the victory in Canada at a canter, and after strong pace in the first attempt would certainly be the man to beat in F3.

It seemed to be a case of de ja vu for F3 as Coloman absolutely dominated the field, and took pole position by a staggering margin to FerociousDan, and with the fast starting SnoopMarky and F1Richard in third and fourth, Colo would have to ensure he had the perfect getaway on lap one.

A good start for Colo saw him maintain the lead, whilst behind, contact from Dboydan and then from Steelbl66 put championship challenger Stiff into a spin at tun one, and as the pack all streamed by the Williams dropped to the rear of the field and with a lot of work to do if he was to claim points.

Tejuarr had made a great start in the sister Williams, and on lap three was all over the rear end of Snoop’s Sauber, but with the two catching the McLaren of F1Richard ahead, the three car battle for third would see Snoop take the place from Richard entering Stowe on lap four.

Snoop then immediately went on the hunt for FerociousDan for second, and with the two fighting over second it brought Richard, Tejuarr and the impressive Steelbl into play. The cars entered lap five and was Snoop went for the move on Dan, the second McLaren of Richard was unsighted in the breaking point and the two collided with Richard losing front aero from the McLaren front wing.

However the controversial moment in the race happened one sector later, and with McLaren and Williams locked in a battle for the constructor’s championship. FerociousDan and Tejuarr came into contact, with both spearing off into the gravel on both sides of Maggotts! The two would ultimately retire, but the chaos continued in the Woking team’s garage, and with Richard struggling with a damaged wing, he hit the sidepod of Bren_Ons Red Bull and this time not only losing more front wing, spun on the loop section and when recovering to the track, the Toro Rosso of Dboydan lost control avoiding the McLaren and hit the wall ending his race. It was a crazy start, but with everything going on behind, the leader Coloman had built a solid four-second lead.

The incident strewn race had worked into the favour of Captain_Stiff, and after his lap one spin, the Williams was back into the points and nose to tail with the improving xMIKExSI as the two exited the pits, the chance for fourth was the goal.

At the front of the field Coloman had built an eight second lead to SnoopMarky, and turned the car down to coast home for his second consecutive victory in F3, he was followed home by the two Saubers as Snoop and Steelbl celebrated  a superb double podium, and best ever result for the third placed Steelbl66.

Mike overhauled Bren in the closing laps, but a spin on the last lap also dropped Bren behind Captain_Stiff and the Williams took a very unlikely fifth placed finish.

Even with a smaller grid, the action on track was frenetic, and with a disasterous race for McLaren, not only does Dan lose his lead in the drivers’ standings to Stiff once again, but Williams have tied it up in the constructors after six rounds.

Coloman was rewarded after his dominance with a call up to F2, whilst the news in the paddock was that ColinJ of F2 would replace him at Renault for the final six rounds.

It was another great rounds racing at Invictus Racing League, and with six rounds completed and 50% distance in the championship marked off, the tables are slowly starting to take shape, who can make a late season charge and look to get their name on the winner’s trophy at the end of the season.

 

Join us in Shanghai for round seven, as we tackle the Chinese Grand Prix. The track allows varying set-ups, unpredictable weather conditions and promotes close racing and over-taking!

Gareth Hall

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