Fresh from a reasonable but somewhat stunted start for me personally comes round 2 of the iGP championship. The hot and bumpy venue of Malaysia is where the cars and teams have headed, with the weather pre-race looking set to be dry. Practice… well, see for yourself.
Being .758 seconds down on S. Mansell of Moe Corp didn’t necessarily mean anything. After all, J. Bernard, winner of the first race, was .555 seconds down of Mansell. However I wasn’t overly confident of challenging for a win. My car is very much a ‘work in progress’, not least of all because of tyre economy issues. I set up both cars on three-stop strategies, initially relying on combos of hard and soft compounds (two stints on each).
Long runs on the hard tyre mean a lot of fuel, so Thompson (starting on the hard tyre) qualified way down the field, however as the fuel decreased the car got faster, eventually pumping out competitive lap times and taking advantage of stops for cars in front. At one point Thompson was running in podium places, though it was always unlikely he’d stay there. Taylor meanwhile, started on the soft tyres but faded when he went onto the hard compound – he is young and still learning, though I wonder if a different strategy might be worth considering for him.
So how did the race pan out? For me personally, the target was P12, and I managed to beat that with a late piece of risk-taking. Rather than pit for soft tyres late on for Thompson, I took on supersofts for the last few laps. I was worried they would degrade too quickly, but they held out and allowed Thompson to climb up past cars on slower tyres.
Within the story of the race came a nice little conversation about coffee – Lou and George, I am pleased to say I now know your coffee habits! And sorry Lou for not pitting several times late on to help you out ;). Nicholas… I promised a mention and all I can say is, keep pushing! Time will yield results!
So who won? D Thompson of Black Arrows, who had been the dominant driver of the dominant team last season, won the race, but was only 1.883 seconds ahead of Australia’s pole sitter Schumacher. The pair were somewhat clear of the rest – Dudek completed the podium, seven seconds behind Thompson. Interestingly, Thompson won on a two-stop strategy, one of only two points finishers on a two-stopper (the other being Dudek). 8th place for my own Thompson was soured slightly by 24th place (out of 32 racers) for Taylor. He is very much a work in progress.
So after two rounds, the Constructor’s Championship looks like this:
1. Black Arrows: 63 points.
2. Badger Racing: 39 points.
3. RBHRT: 38 points.
4. 221op: 30 points.
5. Pulurburz: 16 points.
6. Meerkat Racing (yay!): 10 points.
7. Mopar: 4 points.
8. Melo Motorsports: 1 point.
9. kkrl3c4762551 (catchy name!): 1 point.
The Driver’s Championship looks like this:
1. D Thompson: 43
2. J Bernard: 35
3. R Dudek: 30
4. J Smith: 20
5. M Skaife: 20
6. M Schumacher: 18
7. D Hll: 16
8. G Thompson: 10
9. J Hill: 4
10. M Sato: 4
11. E Roberts: 1
12. M Wood: 1