A dramatic E1 Championship round at Charlotte for GT Radial Eurasia
Date posted on September 22, 2021 · Published by eurasiapr
There was another new challenge for the sim-racers this week in what was the fourth round of the E1 Championship. Following on from the first superspeedway event last week at Indianapolis, the series selected the Charlotte Motor Speedway ‘Roval’ and reverted to the more traditional Sprint and Reverse Grid format.
For GT Radial Eurasia, drivers Inigo Anton and Joaquin Garrido, it was certainly an eventful evening of racing. The former showed great pace in both events but ultimately left disappointed in not being able to convert speed into the elusive first official race victory. Instead, Inigo finished fifth in the Sprint and seventh in the longer 30-minute race.
Once again, the series utilised the Dallara iR-01 on this banked but twisty 3.7-kilometre circuit. With damage within the iRacing environment turned off, it was an accident and incident-filled throughout, an evening where luck, or lack of it, could easily skew the final race result.
The evening started well with Inigo qualifying second for the Sprint, lining up for the start alongside pole-sitter Muhammad Ibrahim. “My lap was good, but I was a little surprised as to how good and to be starting on the front row of the grid,” the young Filipino stated. “It gives me options at the start, but I don’t need to risk everything to get the win at the start, I’m looking at the teams’ championship and would be happy with a top-five.”
He retained position at the start as Ibrahim sprinted away at the front and soon had Josh Purwien on his tail. The Australian misjudged the attempted pass and made contact with Inigo, dropping him down to sixth where he began a long battle with Naquib Azlan in the battle for fifth. Ultimately, the pass was made at the final turn, and he claimed the top five position. Teammate Joaquin meanwhile worked his way up three positions to run ninth, but then dropped back to finish 16th.
The Reverse Grid race was a dramatic affair, with Inigo quickly working his way into a potential podium position from eighth on the grid by lap three with a perfect pass on Mikko Nassi. On the very next tour, Inigo was now second and homing in on race leader Dominic Ang. The pass for the lead around the outside looked to be on, but in taking too much kerb at the chicane, he spun and dropped back to fifth.
There was still drama to come as he quickly dispatched Melwin Tan and Ibrahim before pitting from third position on lap 12 of 33. Once the stops had cycled through, it was status quo as he chased down Ar Muhammad Ibrahim. Ahead however Mika Hakimi made contact with Ibrahim leaving Inigo with nowhere to go.
The contact triggered an automatic drive-through penalty as he exceeded his allowance of incident points. This left him in a relatively lonely seventh position one that he retained to the chequered flag, two positions ahead of Joaquin who had a good run from 16th on the grid.
Ahead of the next round of the E1 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps next week, GT Radial Eurasia is sixth in the standings, with 101 points.
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