ARA GT4 VRS Super Series Season 2 | Round 2 Charlotte

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Joel Evans bagged a dominant double victory in the second round of the Apex Racing Academy GT4 VRS Super Series, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a difficult day at Montreal last week, the Welshman bounced back in style.

Charlotte’s unique ‘Roval’ layout hosted sports car racing for the first time in 1971. In October, Charlotte welcomes the contemporary iteration of the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship for the first time. Fan comfort and experience remains a core value of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hard of sight? No matter. Catch all the action trackside on the circuit’s 200 feet wide and 80 feet tall HD screen-the largest in the world!

A twenty-minute dash and forty-minute feature lay ahead of an enthusiastic pack of GT4 drivers. With track position at a premium, the ten-minute qualifying session would be critical.

Thomas Wangen blitzed the Charlotte Roval in 1 minute 23.132 seconds to claim pole position. Joel Evans joined the Norwegian star on the front row of the grid. Wangen’s Team Vikings teammate, Roger Kristiansen, started third. Montreal feature race winner, Patryk Sokolowski, could only manage fourth on the grid. Scotsman, Mark Heron, was the fastest AM class runner, in tenth overall.

On the opening lap, a Porsche trio broke away. Led by polesitter Wangen, with Evans and Sokolowski immediately behind. By lap four, Evans refused to play second fiddle, hassling Wangen at every opportunity.

Brief observation of the body language of Evans’ Porsche, showed his eagerness to pass and break away.  However, in his urgency, Evans stumbled at the first super speedway chicane. Allowing Wangen respite and simultaneously falling into the clutches of Sokolowski.

The Pole needed no second invitation and dived up the inside of Evans at the second chicane. Contact between the pair sent Evans shooting across the chicane.

Miraculously, Evans kept Sokolowski and a newly arrived swarm of BMW’s at bay. With Wangen sailing off into the distance, Evans looked set for a second-place finish. However, the brutally difficult Charlotte Motor Speedway had other plans.

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Thomas Wangen enjoyed a comfortable lead and looked set for an easy win. Charlotte’s pesky kerbs decided otherwise. At the superspeedway chicane, Wangen lost control of his Team Vikings Porsche and ploughed into the wall. A devastating end to a valiant victory charge.

Joel Evans inherited the lead from Wangen following the Norwegian’s blunder. The Welshman refused to flinch and sped to the win. Patryk Sokolowski had to settle for second. Team Hutch’s Mark Silcock rounded out the podium. Dutchman, Marco Tolman, took the AM class victory in his BMW M4 GT4.

For the forty-minute feature event, top ten finishers from the opening race would be inverted. Therefore, AM class contenders, Mihail Velikov and Jeff Minor, occupied the front row. Sokolowski and Evans, the class of race one, faced an arduous journey through the pack.

Charlotte Roval’s notorious opening sector resembles a terrifyingly narrow exit of a multi storey car park. So, when Mihail Velikov spun his Porsche and stopped broadside across the circuit, carnage ensued.

Joel Evans scythed through the pack, avoiding major contact, and pinched second position. Jose Malbran benefited most from the melee. However, the Argentinian ace suffered from damage inflicted at the green flag by the wild BMW of Jeff Minor. Evans quickly dispatched of the defenceless Malbran, took the lead, and disappeared to a triumphant double victory.

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Patryck Sokolowski also survived the opening brawl relatively unscathed. The rapid Pole fought through to second place but couldn’t make an impression on the dominant Evans.

Speedy Scandinavians, Roger Kristiansen and Thomas Wangen, survived to consolidate third and fourth positions. Thus, solidifying Team Vikings at the top of the team’s championship.

In the manufacturers battle, Charlotte’s fickle road course section proved kind to the nimble Porsche Caymans, confirmed with a top five lockout for the Weissach factory. Nevertheless, Pontus Ofverstrom gave BMW fans some comfort, scoring a second AM class victory for the Bavarian factory.

Next up on the Apex Racing Academy GT4 VRS Super Series schedule, is Oran Park. Although defunct in real life, iRacing.com’s software gurus have immortalised this distinctive circuit. Oran Park’s layout is more akin to Scalextric compared to Australia’s infamous Mount Panorama circuit. Will this highly technical circuit spell more pain for the BMWs and joy for the Porsches? Find out on the 22nd of September at 19.10 GMT on the iRacing Esports network and Apex Racing TV.

Images by @Groove_Media

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