Awesome Alcaraz is ARA F3 champion
Consistency is key. Oh, what a well-worn cliché. Yet, like most cliches, there is always more than a grain of truth behind them. Throughout the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series (ARA F3), consistency has indeed been the key.
Aleix Alcaraz’s metronomic performances produced a reasonably comfortable, if not insurmountable, advantage heading to the season finale at Suzuka. For Alcaraz’s only remaining rival, Raoul Hyman, only a double victory would do.
In the final seconds of qualifying, Carl Modoff set the second fastest time, behind Hyman and ahead of Alcaraz. Crucially, this meant the championship rivals would face off in a heat race. Throughout most of the season, the pair usually qualified through different heats.
Newly crowned AM champion, Viktor Andersson continued his commanding form in class and qualified eighth overall.
Raoul Hyman’s heat race dominance has become the South African’s trademark throughout the season. During the opening heat at Suzuka, Hyman delivered another signature performance and sped away from the pack with ease. Meanwhile, Aleix Alcaraz seemed out of sorts and couldn’t keep teammate, Vitolo Garcia, at bay.
With former rear gunner Garcia pulling away in second, Alcaraz was left exposed to the chasing Georgie Zouein and Cristophe Herbigneaux. Nevertheless, the champion elect held off Herbigneaux to cross the line third. However, a post-race penalty dealt to Vitolo Garcia for cutting the final chicane promoted Alcaraz to second. Hyman would need a Suzuka miracle to steal the title.
Despite some rough and tumble along the way, Viktor Andersson claimed yet another AM class heat win and progressed to the feature race.
Carl Modoff and Stratos Kyrlagkitsis lined up on the front row of the grid for the second heat race. Whilst Modoff dashed into an early lead, friendly fire interrupted the harmony in the Squadra Corse camp. A nudge from Vincenzo Carchedi sent his stablemate, Francesco Fioroni, into the gravel at turn one.
On lap three, calamity continued to follow Francesco Fioroni. Returning to the circuit after repairs, Fioroni built up speed through the opening ‘Snake’ section. However, a wobble at Dunlop curve stifled the Italian’s momentum and left David Holland and Stratos Kyrlagkitsis with nowhere to go. All three drivers tumbled into the gravel with terminal damage and resigned to the consolation race.
Narrowly escaping the wreck, Carl Modoff scampered to a comfortable win and a front row start for the feature. Despite the early controversy, Carchedi claimed second place. In third, was the exceptional AM class ace, Brian Kroon.
In any consolation race, the odds of advancing to the feature aren’t favourable. However, this final consolation race of the season would be the toughest yet. Reeling from heat race disasters, a star cast of PRO class drivers faced the unfamiliar last chance saloon. Vitolo Garcia, David Holland, Francesco Fioroni and Stratos Kyrlagkitsis all lined up to compete for the final six invites to the feature race. All four of the aforementioned PRO class aces progressed to the feature race, joined by Luca Zivkov and John Vogel.
Raoul Hyman lined up on pole position for the final feature race of the season. Hyman’s pace in qualifying and heats has been unparralled. His performances in the feature races, have repeatedly let him down. Could Hyman put his feature race demons behind him and steal the championship from Aleix Alcaraz?
As the lights went out, Hyman stuttered off the line and was swarmed by six drivers, led by Carl Modoff. Throughout the opening laps, Hyman scurried back through the pack, making up for lost time. On lap five, Hyman locked into battle with championship rival, Aleix Alcaraz. Swooping back and forth through the ‘Snake’ section, the two superstars refused to yield. Eventually, a cunning manoeuvre at turn one allowed Hyman to squeeze into second place. However, Carl Modoff was already 4.3 seconds up the road at the halfway mark.
With three minutes remaining, Cristophe Herbigneaux moved passed Alcaraz for third. Thus, leaving the Spaniard in a vulnerable position. If Hyman was able to reel in Modoff, the title would be his. However, even the fastest of the lap race wasn’t enough for Hyman to catch the Californian, who was in imperious form. Alcaraz had done enough and would be the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series champion.
Rounding off his season in style, Viktor Andersson took another AM class victory and sixth overall.
After a superb double victory at Suzuka, Carl Modoff joined the Apex Racing TV broadcast crew to share his delight:
Carl Modoff: “That was awesome! That was a lot of fun. I knew it was going to be a tough race because I knew that Raoul had insane speed. He seemed to have a couple of tenths on everyone. But, as soon as I saw him spin his tyres of the start, I thought OK, we can win this one”