Kevin Siclari has won the first ever Glês EEC Sepang 2 hours after an incredible display of strategy and raw pace in the #99 Craft-Bamboo Porsche 991.
The first ever 2 hour endurance race at the Sepang circuit saw an intense battle both on the track and the pitlane. The innovative event that had both real life and sim racing teams compete against one another in cars all created by the EEC team for the game Automobilista, Jorrit Van Dasselaar took the boxer class pole but it was Siclari who took the overall pole position but it wouldn’t be long before he’d come under immense pressure.
In fact this pressure arrived before the cars had arrived into turn one with Absolute Racing driver Milán Bogár making an incredible gain off the start and passing multiple cars to take the lead into turn one, as the cars thundered into turn 3 Cameron Sansano made a move on the struggling Siclari forcing him wide and allowing a further two cars to pass him and demoting the Craft-Bamboo machine into 4th.
It wouldn’t be long before the Porsche began making moves and regaining lost time though as he was able to take advantage of Rob Timpen’s Mercedes passing and forcing Sansano off the racing line and sneak through for third position and beginning a 120 minute battle consisting of both racing and strategy.
During all this Toby Howard suffered huge issues in qualifying and the gremlins had seemed to follow him into the race after just a single lap saw the Aston Martin 16 seconds behind the final car in the Boxer class.
Meanwhile in the boxer class Jorrit Van Dasselaar had slipped from pole in class to third, with Chachouglou taking an early lead but the Absolute Racing Boxer would soon return into it’s starting position and dominate the class.
Augusto Maia and Will Mazeo both suffered issues that deemed to be fatal with the Huracan of X-One Motorsports retiring during a pit stop and the Boxer of Grove Group following suit.
30 minutes in and Siclari had retaken the lead, however he had not drove away into the sunset as planned due to Rob Timpen triggering a huge dogfight for the lead and really setting the tone for the remaining 90 minutes, The pair tussled on the track and the pit lane with Timpen repeatedly trying to undercut the Porsche but to no avail. He would try another undercut in the second phase of pit stops but this time Siclari responded but with a much shorter pit stop in what was believed to be a mixture of a double stint on the tyres and less fuel taken onboard than his rival in the Mercedes behind.
This looked to be Siclari’s break as he set personal best after personal best and drew out a lead to Timpen behind, although in the background Sansano had been working hard in the sister Mercedes GruppeM Racing Team machine to pass the Absolute Racing Bentley of Bogár and begin to hunt down his team-mate in second place.
Sansano was able to close the gap on his teammate and an in-team battle would commence for the second spot on the podium. This battle would continue to the dying laps where Sansano would best his team-mate and take the runner-up spot – Meanwhile a 3 car battle for 4th place in the form of Barman, Bogár and Jones would take us to the chequered flag. Bogár winning the fight for the place just off the podium.
Unfortunately it was heartbreak for Motul Team RJN who would retire with just 7 minutes remaining. Paulo Tempera would pull off and DNF agonizingly close to the finish.
But it was Kevin Siclari who would win the inaugural and innovative race for Craft-Bamboo Racing – The GP3, TCR and GT winners can now add Sim-Racing to their list of achievements – Jorrit Van Dasselaar would come home to win the Boxer class which interestingly would see that both classes were won by real teams rather than Sim-Racing teams.