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Sports Illuminated Vol. 1 No. 3

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April 2031
Vol. 1 No. 3
Motorsports News


Monteangeline Grand Prix

Round 3 of the IRF's Grand Prix Racing series takes place in Monteangelo, more specifically on the slopes of the island's eponymous highest peak. The Circuit da Mont Anghel is one of only two circuits on the Grand Prix Racing calendar which is less than 4 km in length, the other being the famous Levantx Street Circuit which is approximately 3.3 km in lengeth compared to Mont Anghel's 3.9 km. However, the Monteangeline Grand Prix frequently sees higher top speeds than Levantx, particularly due to the rarified air as the track is over 2,000 m above sea level.

Weather forecasts for the weekend were clear with the possibility of some cloud cover on race day, but very low chance of any precipitation. Temperatures were expected to vary between a comfortable 22 °C and 27 °C over the weekend.
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Two incidents marred the practice sessions over the weekend. The first was in the first practice session when Timo Basuda left the track at the penultimate hairpin, driving his Force Pukgundi car off a short embankment. Basuda was uninjured, but the reconstruction of the car took until just before qualifying leaving him in the paddock for the two other sessions. The second incident was when Quicksilver driver Bo Gelema collided with Alequé Silva after crossing the safety line early while emerging from the pitlane in the second practice session. Silva sustained a rear-right tire puncture and minor floor damage which forced her to retire from the session. Gelema likewise sustained a puncture in the front-left tire as well as the ire of spectators and officials alike. As this is the third incident in three weekends caused by Gelema, he was heavily penalized with a ten-place grid penalty in addition to having three penalty points added to his super license.

In qualifying, both hometown drivers Gion Hilaire and Carla Helvet surprised audiences by posting identical qualifying times. The two qualified in 3rd and 4th respectively, Hilaire receiving the preferred position as he set his time earlier in the qualifying session. Under heavy pressure from Corse Hermès driver Jacob Asana, Franc-Jean Hippolyte deBedecq achieved his second pole position in a row with Asana joining him in second after coming up 0.09 seconds short of deBedecq's lap. The Imperial Cola drivers also set fast laps, but controversially, Maxim Verstellus partially cut a corner leading to his fastest lap being invalidated and placing him 11th on the starting grid, ten places behind what many are saying is a rival between an old Burgundian and a young Caphiravian. Silva complained of troubles with lack of downforce during qualifying, possibly stemming from the contact with Gelema in practice and her 8th place qualifying result was disappointing for the team which leads the Constructors Championship. A standout performance in qualifying was Armand Cristophe who skillfully navigated the circuit to being his underpowered O'Shea car ahead of the Imperial Cola of Danny Richards. Basuda's failures in the practice sessions damaged his performance as he fell to the bottom row, only ahead of Gelema after penalties.

Final Qualifying Results:
  1. VAL (deBedecq): 1:00.982
  2. ASA (Hermès): 1:01.069
  3. HIL (Anghel Octan): 1:02.063
  4. HEL (Anghel Octan): 1:02.063
  5. CRI (O'Shea): 1:02.809
  6. RIC (Imperial Cola): 1:02.948
  7. ODA (Force Pukhgundi): 1:03.315
  8. SIL (Hermès): 1.03.319
  9. MEU (O'Shea): 1:03.428
  10. ALB (deBedecq): 1:03.824
  11. VER (Imperial Cola): 1:04.013
  12. SAW (Quicksilver): 1:04.062
  13. BAS (Force Pukhgundi): 1:04.101
  14. GEL (Quicksilver): 1:03.238 (10 place grid penalty)
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On race day, thousands of spectators both local and foreign packed the grandstands for the 1:10 PM start. As the five red lights over the start/finish line were sequential lit and then extinguished the race was off. Immediately out of the gates, Asana fell behind both Anghel Octan cars due to a poor start while both deBedecq cars made leaps. Out front, the Comte de Valsoix pulled away and built a safe gap of six seconds from the hometown drivers by the end of the first lap while in the midfield Alba overtook both Meusart and Silva on the first straight and first corner respectively. By the third lap, Asana recuperated from his poor start but was unable to overtake Helvet who focused heavily on defending while Hilaire in P2 and deBedecq in P1 pulled away.

On lap 6, Cristophe who had managed to maintain his position at the start from the faster Imperial Cola car behind him was being increasingly pressured leading to a disastrous error as he left the track at the same place and in a similar to Basuda in the first practice session. With his DNF, O'Shea lost their best opportunity for a high scoring points position thus far in the season. Despite his penalties, Gelema was also advancing after overtaking Basuda who was driving an extremely conservative race from the beginning. Gelema's teammate Sawders was overtaken in the subsequent lap placing Gelema behind a frustrated Maxim Verstellus who had failed to make any ground since the start of the race.

By lap 12, Timo Basuda had fallen long behind the rest of the pack and despite strong performances on other tracks, appeared quite amateurish. By lap 16, the Comte de Valsoix had caught up to the Ormati and was on pace to lap him. DeBedecq's gap to the Monteangeline drivers was lessening every sector as Asana withdrew from his assault from Helvet for the time being allowing the latter to focus on increasing her pace. As blue flags were waved for Basuda indicating that he had to allowing the lapping car to proceed, calamity struck. On the entry to the final bus stop, Basuda made a slow and wide entry into the corner which the Comte interpreted as the Ormati leaving room for him to pass on the inside of the corner. However, Basuda clamped down at the apex of the turn leaving deBedecq no chance at avoiding a collision as he dove into the corner, striking Basuda's sidepod. The impact knocked the left-front wheel off deBedecq's car and partially crushed the sidepod air intake on Basuda's forcing both of their retirements and scattering debris across the track. Ultimately neither driver was found at fault for the incident as deBedecq's interpretation of the move was considered reasonable and Basuda's failure to yield the place would only have been inappropriate if he had been flashed blue flags three times (the flags had only been flashed once at the time). Nevertheless, Basuda was issued an informal warning about his slow pace around the track.

The safety car required to guide the cars as the track was cleaned up lasted for ten laps due to the fracturing of deBedecq's front wing, during which cars were led to bypass the chicane entirely through the runoff area. Under the safety car, the pack tightened up fully and the three leaders, as well as Alba and Verstellus, pitted onto hard compound tires that would theoretically last the remaining 72 laps while the other drivers maintained two-stop strategies. The pit strategies ceded the lead to Richards and also put his teammate Verstellus at the back of all the cars that were still running.

As the race resumed on lap 27, Verstellus swiftly overtook both Quicksilver cars and began a charge against the other cars in front of him. Likewise, Brigida Alba successfully overtook Odashi Kimi. Carla Helvet also succeeded in passing her teammate Gion Hilaire after a short duel through the second sector on lap 29. Two laps later, a rare error committed by Alequé Silva saw the endplate and several wing elements break after going wide in turn 3 and making contact with a barricade. Silva ostensibly blamed this incident on the lack of downforce she had been experiencing all weekend, but sceptics cast doubt on her excuses following this incident. The mistake was not race-ending, but her reduced pace until pitting and the seven additional required to change the nose of the car during the stop cost her as she was overtaken by Meusart only for Verstellus to outbreak both SIL and MEU into turn 10 and pull ahead of them.

By lap 60, the stop five remained static with the exception of Richards who needed to make his second pit stop onto another set of medium tires. Having not built a sufficient gap to the four cars following him, who each passed him as he was pitting. Worse still, as he emerged from the pitlane ahead of Odashi, his fresh but cold tires lacked grip and he lost out in turn 3 to the Force Puhkgundi driver. With his teammate bearing down on him, Richards unceremoniously allowed Verstellus to pass him on lap 62.

Silva's woes continued as she continued to experience issues with her car and severe tire degradation, allowing both Quicksilver cars to eventually pass her on lap 71. On the other hand, Verstellus passed Odashi on the same lap, but now faced a large gap as the front of the field had pulled ahead. The distance between the leaders had also grown and already with just under 20 laps to go, it seemed as though the podium had already been determined. On the final lap of the race, Henri Meusart's engine blew making the race a double DNF for O'Shea - their second of the season.

Carla Helvet crossed the finish line in first, followed by her teammate Gion Hilaire making it an Anghel Octan Racing first and second finish, an optimal result for the home team. This victory along with Helvet's other consistent finishes put her in the lead of the Drivers Championship for the first time in her career ahead of Jacob Asana, whose third place podium finish keeping him a mere point away from Helvet's total. The result also cast Anghel Octan into the lead of the Constructors Championship. While the result was a disappointment for O'Shea, Basuda, Silva, and the Comte de Valsoix, it was also the first points finish for Odashi Kimi, Bo Gelema, and Brigida Alba.

Final Classification:
  1. HEL (Anghel Octan): 1:36:04.308
  2. HIL (Anghel Octan): +20.969
  3. ASA (Hermès): +27.679
  4. ALB (deBedecq): +34.233
  5. VER (Imperial Cola): +39.223
  6. ODA (Force Pukhgundi): +44.886
  7. RIC (Imperial Cola): +54.336
  8. GEL (Quicksilver): +54.733
  9. SAW (Quicksilver): +1 lap
  10. SIL (Hermès): +1 lap
  11. MEU (O'Shea): DNF
  12. BAS ((Force Pukhgundi): DNF
  13. VAL (deBedecq): DNF
  14. CRI (O'Shea): DNF
Championship Points:

Drivers Championship:
Points/Driver

43 Carla Helvet
42 Jacob Asana
27 Gion Hilaire
26 Franc-Jean Hippolyte deBedecq
23 Daniel Richards
20 Maxim Verstellus
18 Timo Basuda
11 Alequé Silva
10 Brigida Alba
06 James Sawders
06 Odashi Kimi
04 Henri Meusart
03 Armand Cristophe
03 Bo Gelema

Constructors Championship:
Points/Constructor

70 Anghel Octan Racing
53 Corse Hermès S.A.
43 Imperial Cola Racing
36 Racing Grand Premi deBedecq
24 Force Pukhgundi Works
09 Quicksilver Racing
07 O'Shea HIS Motorsports

With that upheaval in the standings, please join us again in two weeks' time for coverage of the next Grand Prix.
 
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