Hyman triumphs in Road America Royal Rumble!
A brand-new season of the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series (ARA F3) began with a rollicking round one at Road America.
Situated on the banks of elegant Elkhart Lake, Road America’s four mile-layout remains true to its original curves. Since Phil Hill triumphed in a Ferrari Monza at the circuit’s opening event, the Road America honour roll has become a who’s who of motor racing stars. Penske, Shelby, McLaren, Andretti. They all won in the shadow of Elkhart lake.
Throughout the six-round season, drivers in ARA F3 will endeavour to master the grand prix bred Dallara F3 machine. Since foundation in 1972 by Mr Giampaolo Dallara, the eponymous firm’s achievements in motor racing are endless. Arguably, the firm’s most widespread success, has been their single seater racing cars.
A slight revision to the ARA F3 format promises for frantic racing. Two short heat races yield just twelve places each for the critical feature race. Those without a ticket to the ball must go through the treachery of the consolation race, where just six places are on offer.
Britain’s Raoul Hyman was quickest of a hotly contest qualifying session, with a lap of 1 minute and 59.737 seconds. Speedy Spaniard Aleix Alcaraz claimed the second fastest time and pole position for the second heat race.
Joining Hyman on the front row of the grid for the opening heat race, was Italian ace Francesco Fioroni. Maintaining this formation, Hyman and Fioroni dashed away in a two-car breakaway in the opening laps. However, Hyman’s guardian angel appeared in the form of David Holland on lap four.
Swiftly bridging the gap to the leading pair, Holland soon made his move on Fioroni, who duly retaliated. This exchange allowed Hyman to scamper off to an opening win of the season.
For the remainder of the thrilling opening encounter, Holland and Fioroni sparred back and forth for second place. On the penultimate lap, David Holland staked an early claim for the overtake of the season. An audacious ruse saw the American swoop around the outside of Canada corner, picking Fioroni’s pocket on the way past. Moments later, a controversial clash at turn six on the final lap pushed Holland back to fifth, whilst Fioroni held second.
Without a moment to draw breath, it was on to the second heat. Greek star Stratos Kyrlagkitsis lined up menacingly on the front row – alongside Aleix Alcaraz – for the fifteen-minute dash.
Akin to heat one, the front row bolted to an early two-car breakaway. Throughout the opening half of the race, Kyrlagkitsis and Alcaraz duked for the lead. However, once the Greek driver moved through to the lead, Alcaraz couldn’t respond with a counter strike. Yet, Alcaraz had a joker to play.
On the final corner, Alcaraz aced the exit and mounted the blind ascent to the finish line. Utilising the slipstream, the Spaniard snuck up towards Kyrlagkitsis. Approaching the line two abreast, the pair looked inseparable to the naked eye. Five thousandths of a second was all that could space them. By a sticker’s width, it was Kyrlagkitsis who took the honours in this classic contest.
Meanwhile, Carl Modoff edged Mikko Nurmi for third place in an equally fraught tussle.
Mitch Greene led twenty-one last chance hopefuls for the feature in the ten-minute consolation sprint. Less than a third of the field would receive the elusive invite to the main event. In essence, a game of 140 miles per hour musical chairs.
Despite an early ‘slowdown’ penalty, Mitch Greene recovered and joined Dave Macdonald in the leading group. Macdonald nabbed the win, but Greene progressed safely to the feature. Further behind, the drama centred around the struggle for the final spot in the feature race. Charging past the white flag – signalling the last lap – John Gordon mugged Nathan Healy for the sixth and final place in the feature race.
By virtue of their heat race wins, Raoul Hyman and Stratos Kyrlagkitsis started the feature race on the front row of the grid.
Immediately, drama ensued in the first feature race of the season. Stratos Kyrlagkitsis went for the outside line at turn one and bounced across the grass before re-joining in seventh. At turn five, Francesco Fiorini’s victory challenge faltered. A costly error on corner entry sent the Italian into a twirl and out of contention. Meanwhile, Raoul Hyman checked out to a lead of over a second within the opening lap.
Despite the best efforts of Aleix Alcaraz, Hyman couldn’t be caught, and the Briton cruised to an opening win of the season.
Although the podium finishers – Hyman, Alcaraz and Carl Modoff – enjoyed relatively serene runs to the flag, the bout for fourth intensified. A recovering Stratos Kyrlagkitsis duelled with David Holland throughout the race. As tempers frayed from a twenty-minute tussle, contact between the pair sent Holland spearing into the wall at Hurry Downs. Kyrlagkitsis survived but dropped to sixth.
Viktor Andersson progressed to eighth overall from twelfth on the grid. In doing so, the Super Swede took AM class honours over Sammy Venables, who finished tenth overall.
Following a breath-taking event, Carl Modoff joined Apex Racing TV commentary debutant – Daniel Handover – to share his thoughts on the opening round of the season:
“I’ve always loved Road America. It’s got a really nice combination of corners, with high speed and drafting. There’s a lot of elements to racing around here that constantly keeps you on your toes. I really like racing here.”
On the fourteenth of November, the ARA F3 series heads to a circuit known for frantic single seater heat racing. Brands Hatch has hosted the iconic Formula Ford festival for generations and provides the perfect arena for frantic action. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to catch all the live action.