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ARA GT4 VRS Super Series Season 2 | Round 3 Oran Park

Following a two round North American tour, the Apex Racing Academy GT4 VRS Super Series (ARA GT4) headed down under. Oran Park isn’t a familiar name to most contemporary race fans due to the circuits demise in 2010. Sadly, Oran Park couldn’t resist the ever-present risk posed to many racing circuits-the dreaded housing development.

Nevertheless, thanks to’s foresight, the circuit survives in virtual form for future generations to enjoy in the car of their choice. Porsche’s Cayman GT4 and BMW’s M4 GT4 are the steeds of choice for the ARA GT4 series. Diminutive in stature and blessed with driver aids like traction control and ABS, these versatile machines fit perfectly to the tight confines of Oran Park. These two German flyweights are certainly a better fit than the V10 Dodge Viper which Greg Crick wrestled to an Australian GT victory at Oran Park in 2006.

After two rounds, both PRO and AM classes are remarkably close. In the PRO division, the top four of Joel Evans/Matthias Beer/Roger Kristiansen/Patryk Sokolowski are covered by twelve points. Marco Tolman and Pontus Ofverstrom arrived at Oran Park tied for the AM championship lead.

In qualifying, Patryk Sokolowski set the pace to claim pole position by a tenth of a second from Thomas Wangen. Championship leader, Joel Evans, missed out on the front row by thirteen thousandths of a second. Mihail Velikov was the fastest AM class contender in tenth overall.

Following a short parade behind the pace car, Patryk Sokolowski sped away from pole position. Despite the best efforts of Thomas Wangen and Joel Evans, the Polish ace couldn’t be caught. A perfect start to proceedings for Sokolowski and his second win of the season, so far.

Team Viking’s star, Thomas Wangen, enjoyed second place for most of the race. However, with eight minutes to go, a tiny error sent Wangen’s Team Vikings Porsche spinning into the gravel. As a result, Joel Evans inherited second place. Wangen was consoled with a third-place finish, despite the mistake. Mihail Velikov utilised the nimble dynamics of his Porsche Cayman to finish eighth overall and top AM class driver.

Race two presented a different challenge to the opening twenty-five-minute sprint. Flexibility to make a mandatory pit stop at any stage of the race, opened up a plethora of strategical plays.

Mark Silcock and Greg Hoobler started race two on the front row after the inversion of the grid. Race one frontrunners, Sokolowski and Evans, started at the tail of the top ten.

Antipodean hot shot, Mark Silcock, eagerly sped away from the pack at the drop of the flag. However, in his eagerness, Silcock completely missed his braking point for ‘The Sweeper’ and careered off into the barrier at enormous velocity. Silcock’s victory charge was over before it began.

Meanwhile, championship leader Joel Evans leapfrogged from ninth to fourth by lap two. A clear statement of intent for the Charlotte double victor. As Evans charged through the field, the Welshman’s rivals from Team Vikings hit trouble. Approaching the end of lap two, Thomas Wangen emerged over a crest and found his stricken teammate, Roger Kristiansen, straddled across the circuit. Wangen couldn’t avoid his Team Vikings stablemate and clattered into Kristiansen’s Porsche. Luckily, both Wangen and Kristiansen limped to pit lane for their mandatory pit stop, where an instant repair could be taken. As a result, Wangen still had a chance of a podium finish.

Matthias Beer held up BMW honour in second place for the opening quarter of the race. Devastatingly, a mistake on the entry to The Sweeper sent Beer’s M4 into the wall. Thus, ending his chance of a podium and a potential disruption of the Porsche stronghold.

Whilst his competitors faltered, Evans pressed on in the lead. Another flawless performance granted Evans his third win of the season and retention of the championship lead. Patryk Sokolowski backed up his race one victory with a solid second place.

With fifteen minutes to go, Thomas Wangen fought back to seventh place. Several drivers ahead of Wangen still needed to pit, therefore a podium challenge wasn’t over for the Norwegian.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. A perfect replica of his race one mistake sent Wangen off into the same barrier that wronged his race one challenge. Certainly, a case of what could have been at Oran Park for the Norwegian hot shot.

Team Iridium star, Will Newell, claimed his first podium of the season. A fine achievement for the 14-year-old Porsche driver.

Mihail Velikov doubled up on his race one AM class triumph with a strong drive to fifth overall and first in class. A perfect day in the Australian sun solidified Velikov’s status as an AM class championship contender.

After the race, the championship protagonists gave their thoughts to the Apex Racing TV broadcast team:

Joel Evans revealed his delight to overcome the hot pace of his rivals: “It was really good fun to battle with the guys up front. Patryk and Thomas were ridiculously quick in practice, so to finish second and first was a surprise actually” beamed the championship leader.

Rapid Pole, Patryk Sokolowski, revealed the difficulty of overtaking around the twisty Oran Park circuit: “If you aren’t under three tenths behind someone, there is almost no chance to overtake.”

Fans of the Apex Racing Academy GT4 VRS Super Series have just seven days to wait for more action. On the 29th of September, the series heads stateside once more to Mid-Ohio Sports Car course. Tune in to Apex Racing TV and the iRacing Esports network at 19.10 GMT for live coverage.

Images by @Groove_Media

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