We may not be racing for real, but there was no shortage of action as the British F3 iRacing championship arrvied at a virtual Spa for two action packed races.
Whether virtually or otherwise, Spa rarely disappoints and Sudays (24th) races were no different.
It was Douglas Motorsport’s Ulysse De Pauw and guest driver BTCC’s Tom Ingram who took the spoils as they came out winners in the two-race round.
De Pauw dominated heat one, the Belgian heading a Douglas Motorsport one-two with teammate Harrison Scott, while Ingram took advantage of carnage-strewn heat two to gain 15 places and claim victory.
Hillspeed’s Oliver Clarke claimed pole position for race one by just 0.030 seconds from Chris Dittmann Racing’s championship leader, Nico Varrone.
The youngster made a strong start in race one to remain out in front on the opening lap, while Varrone dropped down the order and ended up fourth.
By lap three, Clarke’s lead was dwindling with Scott and De Pauw right under his wing. Exiting Raidillon, Scott used the slipstream to take the lead, with De Pauw following through to demote Clarke to third.
Scott’s lead lasted for just a lap, as local boy De Pauw slipped past him on the Kemmel Straight on lap four to head the field. A mistake from Scott gave Clarke the momentum again and, making a move at the Bus Stop Chicane, moved up to second.
However, Clarke spun a lap later and collided with Kieran Vernon, dropping both further down the field and effectively ending the Hillspeed driver’s challange.
The drama allowed De Pauw to pull clear from Scott, taking the win by just over a second.
Behind the comfort of P1 and P2 it was all go! Varrone just managed to pip Hoggard across the line by three thousandths of a second. Piers Prior and Enaam Ahmed completed the top six.
The complete reverse grid for heat 2 put Louis Foster on pole for the second time in this championship, ahead of debutant Maximus Marzorati, with race one winner De Pauw starting from 25th.
Foster led the field at La Source, but an incident behind him (the first of many) demoted front-runners Marzorati and Chris Mealin. Further around, Hoggard flipped at Les Combes and was collected by the unfortunate De Pauw, who suffered damage, ending his chances of following up his race one performance.
In amoungst the carnage, eventual race winner Ingram was quietly making his way to sixth after starting way down the grid in 16th.
Will Palmer, under pressure from Clarke, made contact at Les Combes with the Hillspeed driver, both suffering damage and dropping down the order. This promoted Chris Dittmann Racing’s driver coach Kieran Vernon into the lead from Foster, while Palmer held onto third ahead of Ingram, who took an opportunity at the Bus Stop Chicane to grab a podium position.
Another incident at Les Combes between Foster and Vernon promoted Ingram to the lead with a four-second margin, while Varrone had struggled from 23rd on the grid to third.
Ingram held the lead for the remainder of the race, winning by 1.6 seconds from Foster, while Varrone was just a tenth further behind, taking his second podium of the weekend. Independent driver Thomas Maxwell claimed fourth ahead of Carlin’s Nicolai Kjaergaard and Lanan’s Piers Prior.
British F3 iRacing Championship, Race 1 Round 2
- Ulysse de Pauw Douglas Motorsport 10 LAPS
- Harrison Scott Douglas Motorsport +0.856
- Nico Varrone Chris Dittmann Racing +4.335
- Johnathan Hoggard Fortec Motorsports +4.338
- Piers Prior Lanan Racing +7.414
- Enaam Ahmed Carlin +8.643
British F3 iRacing Championship, Race 2 Round 2
- Tom Ingram Guest driver 11 LAPS
- Louis Foster Double R Racing +1.619
- Nico Varrone Chris Dittmann Racing +1.743
- Thomas Maxwell Independent +9.721
- Nicolai Kjaergaard Carlin +14.663
- Piers Prior Lanan Racing +25.471