One apiece for Draeta and Bell in Monza face off
Apex Racing Academy iRacing F3 VRS Super Series R7 Monza
Arriving at the ‘Temple of Speed’ for the seventh round of the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series, a four-way chase for the championship roars on. Paulo Draeta may hold a slender fourteen-point advantage in the standings, but Qio-Tiago Marteau, Connor Bell and Will Redford lurk with a menacing collective force.
Qualifying honours went the way of Qio-Tiago Marteau. Outpacing Draeta by over two tenths of a second, Marteau enjoyed the prime starting gate for the chase to turn one. In fifth overall, AM class driver Justin Negrete mixed it with the pros and topped the class.
At the drop of the flag, Marteau attempted to launch away from the line. However, his fickle Dallara stumbled off the line and became engulfed by the chasing pack. Not one to waste an opportunity, Paulo Draeta snatched the lead and led out of the opening chicane. As the pack bickered behind, Draeta pulled out a crucial two second advantage by the end of lap one. Thus, breaking up the slipstream for his rivals.
Despite a valiant effort to catch Draeta, Connor Bell couldn’t quite catch his Brazilian rival and had to settle for second place. Recovering from his horror start, Marteau set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, finishing third overall.
Justin Negrete converted on his impressive qualifying pace with a fine fourth overall and AM class win.
Lining up as they crossed the checkered flag in race one, Draeta and Bell started race two from the front row. Not for the first time this season, Paulo Draeta immediately crossed the circuit to cover the attack from his front row counterpart. Enjoying exclusive membership of the inside line to turn one, Draeta thwarted any challenge from Bell.
Within the opening five minutes of the feature race, a three-car breakaway formed at the front of the field. As Bell and Draeta liberally swapped the lead, Marteau lingered close behind. Soon after the trio became a quartet with the addition of a resurgent Will Redford. However, while Draeta and Marteau squabbled over second place, Bell began his escape out front.
Much like in race one, once Bell broke the slipstream, the victory was secure. Eventually, the Canadian star amassed an advantage over runner up, Paulo Draeta. An epic race long duel for the final spot on the podium between Marteau and Redford eventually went in Marteau’s favour.
Doubling up on AM class delight, the duck egg blue and orange Dallara of Justin Negrete had impressed all day long.
After the race, several ARA F3 challlengers shared their thoughts with the Apex Racing TV commentary crew:
Connor Bell: “Those were two great races there. It was great fighting with Paulo. He was super quick in the first and second races.”
Will Redford: “It was just one of those races. I need to be scoring more points.”
Aaron Smith: “I can’t be disappointed I didn’t win today. Justin’s pace was just magical.”
On the 12th of June, the Apex Racing Academy iRacing F3 VRS Super Series reconvenes at Road Atlanta. With three rounds remaining, the championship fight remains as tight as ever. Tune in to all the action on Apex Racing TV to see who comes out on top.