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Vol. 1 No. 15
Motorsports News

Spetsford Grand Prix

Round 14 of the Grand Prix Racing series brings us to Kistan and the Felva Isle for the Spetsford Grand Prix, the only race in Levantia proper this year. The start/finish straight of the 13 turn course lies parallel to the highway circling around the island with the end of the first sector rising quickly up a hill through switchbacks in turns 3 through 6, continuing to rise more slightly up to turn 9 before sloping steadily down back to the straight. The track is wide throughout allowing for overtaking opportunities in most corners, though turns 2, 4, 9, and 11 are often considered the best in addition to the long straight for cars with a power advantage.

The race was well attended with clear skies on the forecast for the weekend, suggesting a straightforward weekend in that respect. News with respect to team drama was relatively scarce through the week, but the Nerivas Nitro Racing team reported that they would not be delivering a chassis upgrade this weekend. Due to the unforeseen use of an Amazon power unit, the team's chassis was poorly adapted for it as they had anticipated bringing their own next year. While the plan for a Nerivas Nitro engine next year remains, an adaptation to balance the weight and form of the customer engine for the time being had to be delayed.

With respect to the race's attendance, security at the event had been heightened, in one part due to the rowdiness of the crowd, and also due to political strife regarding the Hugolandder situation as well as an influx of foreign fans, suggesting an additional factor.

Practice sessions were uneventful through to the third session. The first two sessions on Friday were uncontroversial, but both the Anghel Octan and deBedecq cars demonstrated strong pace with an engine upgrade after a dip in performance through the latter part of the season. The third session which occurred on Saturday just before Qualifying saw two incidents; the first being a situation in which Imperial Cola driver Daniel Richards incurred a penalty after accidentally impeding a Corse Hermès S.A. car at far higher speed. The second issue came as Hilaire spun his car close to the end of the session, going into the wall at turn 11 and red-flagging the session. The situation was more dire for the Anghel Octan Racing team as they struggled to rebuild the car in time for qualifying.

Come qualifying, however, the car was not ready and Hilaire failed to participate in the sessions, therefore being relegated to starting in the pitlane for the race. The first qualifying session went poorly for the Quicksilver Racing team, whose fortunes were reversed from the previous race in Channelside as neither car passed into the next session. In a coup, however, both Nerivas Nitro cars posted laps that were fast enough to carry them through to Q2. Defying the odds, Alte Diatise was quick enough come the second session to pass into Q3 while both the Target cars and Jacob Asana failed to make it into the top 10 despite typically strong performances. After only qualifying in 12th, Daniel Richards was dropped to 17th after taking his penalty. Q3 saw the strong pace of the remaining Anghel Octan car and the deBedecq cars place in strong positions, but they were unable to top Alequé Silva, who took pole position. A strong performance from Armand Cristophe saw the Burgundian O'Shea driver line up on the second row of the grid.

Final Qualifying Results:
  1. SIL (Hermès) 1:16.751
  2. HEL (Anghel Octan) 1:16.775
  3. ALB (deBedecq) 1:16.888
  4. CRI (O'Shea) 1:16.921
  5. VER (Imperial Cola) 1:16.950
  6. VAL (deBedecq) 1:17.154
  7. KIM (Conglomo GP) 1:17.170
  8. DIA (Nerivas Nitro) 1:17.379
  9. MEU (O'Shea) 1:17.410
  10. BAS (Force Puhkgundi) 1:17.482
  11. ASA (Hermès) 1:17.617
  12. WAL (Target) 1:17.639
  13. HLD (Target) 1:17.657
  14. FLE (Nerivas Nitro) 1:17.682
  15. GEL (Quicksilver) 1:17.776
  16. TER (Conglomo GP) 1:17.835
  17. RIC (Imperial Cola) 1:17.644 +5 place penalty
  18. SAW (Quicksilver) 1:18.396
  19. ODA (Force Puhkgundi) 1:18.617
  20. HIL (Anghel Octan) DNQ

Round 14 of the Grand Prix Racing series was planned come to a head just after noon on Sunday. However, the race start was delayed as a small brawl broke out in a General Admission section of the track. Local security restored control of the situation quickly and the race preparations resumed at 12:40 local time, but the race assumed a tense atmosphere at a typically apolitical event. Nevertheless, 19 cars lined up on the grid with Hilaire ready to start in the pitlane, forced to wait for all the other cars to round the first corner before being able to join the race. Despite this disadvantage, Anghel Octan was confident with the performance upgrades they brought this weekend and assured concerned fans that Hilaire's situation was salvageable.

As the lights extinguished and the cars sped off on the first of 71 laps, Helvet made a strong getaway coming alongside Silva into the turn 1 kink but was forced to yield to the Insuian driver into the turn 2 hairpin. However, unwilling to allow a gap to form, Helvet managed to slipstream behind the Corse Hermès car and pull alongside again into turn 3. The two cars swapped positions back and forth through the uphill switchbacks, but ultimately Helvet came out ahead, taking the lead of the race in the first lap. On the second row, the two Burgundian drivers Alba and Cristophe had comparatively poor starts with each falling victim to the duo of Verstellus and Valsoix on the row behind by the top of the switchbacks. Most of the rest of the field managed to maintain position though Asana was able to jump the two cars ahead of him through the first lap after qualifying somewhat out of position only to be stifled by the Nerivas Nitro car of Alte Diatise (who had qualified out of position in the opposite sense) through the second lap, frustating the other Insuian driver and reigning world champion.

Moving out of the opening stages of the race, Asana managed to dispense with the Cronzcovinic driver ahead of him and likewise, Hilaire began to cut through the backmarkers, catching up to Imperial Cola driver Richards and Conglomo GP driver Terboven who were also progressing through the field. Lap 7 was disappointing for the home crowd as soon after local driver Walsh passed the Force Pukhgundi of Timo Basuda his steering wheel went black as he suffered a power failure. Unable to restart his car, he was luckily able to coast to an access zone and the car was able to be retired under double yellow flags without either a safety car or a virtual safety car. Even so, while trying to maintain position in the top 10, Alte Diatise sped through the double yellow zone and incurred a 5 second penalty for ignoring a hazard. Possibly shaken, Diatise let up on his pace after being informed by his race engineer and was subsequently passed by Henri Meusart and Timo Basuda on laps 9 and 11 respectively. With Bronn Helde, the remaining Kistani driver, bearing down behind him, Diatise was passed on the start/finish straight on lap 13 to roaring applause from the home crowd, having been instructed by his race engineer to conserve fuel for the latter stages of the race.

As Helvet began to consolidate her lead at the front of the race, Asana likewise continued to make his way through the field, encountering perhaps less resistance than he may have considering the pace differential between his own car and the Conglomo and O'Shea cars in his way. By lap 20, the Insuian was behind both deBedecq cars and began to slipstream for an overtake on Alba. Meanwhile further down, Hilaire began to push harder than the Imperial Cola car of Richards ahead, overtaking him finally on the start/finish straight as the Pauldustllahani driver complained over his radio about a lack of power. The Conglomo car of Terboven ahead soon suffered a similar fate, but managed to hold off the Imperial Cola car following the Monteangeline and rather tucked in behind, staying close behind Hilaire, but failing to gain a suitable overtaking opportunity.

In the lead up to lap 30, Asana managed to overtake Alba and began to bear down upon the Count of Valsoix, but pit in early to try to effect an undercut with fresher tires. Emerging from the pits clear of any traffic, Asana was able to put in several fast laps before the rest of the field started to pit on lap 32. As Quicksilver driver Gelema pitted in, his engine overheated without any airflow to cool it in the box and sparked into a small fire. The situation was quickly brought under control, but the car was retired. Gains made in the pit stop period included Asana who overtook Valsoix and even made gains on Verstellus and Hilaire and Terboven who, as a pair, jumped three positions. Elsewhere both Nerivas Nitro cars lost places due to slow pitstops with Saul Fleto dropping to last while Alte Diatise fell to Bronn Helde.

Following the pitstops, Richard's loss of power was finally determined to be a fault with his KERS battery which was not charging through the braking zones; significantly reducing his speed through the straights. While initially the plan was to bear with the issue and continue to the end of the race, after being overtaken but Sawders in a Quicksilver car and dropped into 16th place, Imperial Cola Racing retired his car from the race. This decision was controversial as it turned out that Sawders was actually making far greater pace than he had been in the first phases of the race, completing overtakes on Alte Diatise, Bronn Helde, and Timo Basuda before lap 45. While initially disappointing for the home crowd, Bronn was able to slip through behind the Quicksilver car and overtake Basuda in front of the start/finish straight grandstands.

With only a few midfield cars ahead of Hilaire, the Anghel Octan driver managed to pull ahead to 7th place, just behind the deBedecq cars, but with Terboven managing to keep within the slipstream of the Monteangeline only to be stymied by Armand Cristophe. Nevertheless the Corummese driver was able to make an overtake stick coming onto lap 60. Into the very closing stages of the race, Silva began to bear down upon Helvet who had led from the first lap. Just behind this pair, Asana still had enough pace to challenge Verstellus. At the very back of the race, Saul Fleto and Odashi Kimi likewise began to make ground on Diatise, unconcerned with effecting an overtake so much as coming within 5 seconds of the Nerivas Nitro driver due to his penalty from the first half of the race which had not been served during the pit period.

On the final lap, Helvet was ultimately able to take home the victory, coming within 5 championship points of Silva who finished in second. Barely edging out the Caphirian driver, Asana was able to take third in turn 11 and hold onto it for the checkered flag. Alte Diatise ultimately classed last among finishing cars due to his penalty; another disappointing result for the Cronzcovinic team. The local crowd was also disappointed with their team's result as one of the Target Motorsports cars DNF'd and the other failed to finish in the points.

Final Classification:
  1. HEL (Anghel Octan) 1:32:30.314
  2. SIL (Hermès) 1:33:01.088
  3. ASA (Hermès 1:33:17.689
  4. VER (Imperial Cola) −1 laps
  5. VAL (deBedecq) −1 laps
  6. ALB (deBedecq) −1 laps
  7. HIL (Anghel Octan) −1 laps
  8. TER (Conglomo GP) −1 laps
  9. CRI (O'Shea) −1 laps
  10. KIM (Conglomo GP) −1 laps
  11. MEU (O'Shea) −1 laps
  12. SAW (Quicksilver) −1 laps
  13. HLD (Target) −1 laps
  14. BAS (Force Puhkgundi) −1 laps
  15. ODA (Force Puhkgundi) −1 laps
  16. FLE (Nerivas Nitro) −1 laps
  17. DIA (Nerivas Nitro) −1 laps +5 seconds
  18. RIC (Imperial Cola) DNF
  19. GEL (Quicksilver) DNF
  20. WAL (Target) DNF
Championship Points:

Drivers Championship:

169 Alequé Silva
164 Carla Helvet
148 Jacob Asana
104 Gion Hilaire
103 Maxim Verstellus
092 Daniel Richards
084 Franc-Jean Hippolyte deBedecq
071 Brigida Alba
034 Bronn Helde
028 Timo Basuda
027 Armand Cristophe
023 Lucian Walsh
021 James Sawders
015 Henri Meusart
014 Bo Gelema
012 Odashi Kimi
012 Terboven Guo
009 Kim Shengkun
000 Saul Fleto
000 Alte Diatise

Constructors Championship:

317 Corse Hermès S.A.
268 Anghel Octan Racing
195 Imperial Cola Racing
155 Racing Grand Premi deBedecq
057 Target Motorsports
042 O'Shea HIS Motorsports
040 Force Pukhgundi Works
035 Quicksilver Racing
021 Conglomo Grand Prix Team
000 Nerivas Nitro Racing

With the Spetsford Grand Prix concluded, only three rounds remain to conclude the championships. While the Drivers Championship remains hotly contested, a strong performance from Corse Hermès S.A. could see the Constructors Championship wrapped up at the Kiravian Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.