Nielsen triumphs in Danish dogfight!
Apex Racing Academy’s fledgling Porsche Cup Championship (ARA Porsche Cup) continued a successful inaugural season at Montreal on Wednesday night.
In the iRacing world, one-make Porsche racing boasts a large fan base amongst the 170,000 members on the world’s leading racing simulator. Additionally, with qualifying underway for coveted spots in the illustrious Tag Heuer Porsche Esports Supercup, there is feverish excitement surrounding these near five hundred horsepower machines.
A few days before the ARA Porsche cup contenders took to the virtual streets of Montreal, thirty Tag Heuer Porsche Esports Supercup aspirants lined up at the Canadian street circuit to compete for a limited allocation of invites to sim racing’s premier series.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s monstrous kerbs and fickle chicanes present a test to solve the complex equation of race car set up. Thankfully, entrants to the ARA Porsche Cup have access to vital set up information from Tag Heuer Porsche Esports Super Cup front runner, Kevin Ellis Jr. Thus, allowing drivers to fully explore their potential out on track.
Kevin Nielsen led the Danish domination in qualifying with a blistering lap of 1 minute and 35.980 seconds. Just thirty thousandths of a second behind, was Casper Lund. Nick Madsen completed the Scandinavian trio in third.
Thirty-two drivers primed their Porsche’s for the opening twenty-minute encounter of the day. When the lights went out, Kevin Nielsen darted down to the Senna S in a hurry. Close behind, were Nielsen’s main rivals – Lund, Madsen and Lewis Ward.
Although Casper Lund clearly had the pace to match Nielsen, the driver of the #19 Porsche committed an untimely error on lap one. A minimal abuse of track limits was enough to incur a dreaded ‘slow down’ penalty. Whilst serving said penalty, Lund dropped from second to fifth. A mistake which would ultimately hand the win to Kevin Nielsen.
Whilst Nielsen checked out to a sublime victory, Nick Madsen tussled with Lewis Ward. Within five minutes, Casper Lund recovered from his early penalty and joined the battle for second.
Lund swiftly became a constant threat to Madsen and persistently hassled his fellow countryman. Eventually, with two minutes remaining, Lund prized open a gap. A cunning move at the hairpin gave Lund the inside line along the casino straight and into the final chicane. With precious little room available, Lund pulled off an exquisite move to clinch second place. Although forced to give best to Lund, Madsen confirmed a Danish one-two-three finish by holding off Lewis Ward.
Kev Copeland claimed AM class spoils in eighth overall, four spots ahead of next best in class, Tim Perry.
A reverse grid shuffle placed Roberto Ferrari and Mark Jones on the front row for the thirty-minute feature race. Kevin Nielsen’s race one victory would be tricky for the Dane to emulate from sixteenth on the grid.
Ferrari dashed into the lead from pole position, with Jones and Michael Schlax in hot pursuit. Further behind, unmitigated chaos reigned. In a calamitous incident, several drivers suffered as the luckless Kev Copeland sat stranded across the perilously narrow track. Worst off, was surely Vince Harley. As Harley’s Porsche lay helpless across the circuit, several drivers repeatedly piled into the Irishman’s machine.
Additionally, Casper Lund’s chances of overturning Nielsen’s dominance eroded on the opening lap. Arriving onto the scene with nowhere to go, the Dane was yet another victim of the opening melee.
Lewis Ward made excellent progress in the early laps. However, the Englishman was left cursing a slowdown penalty and dropped back down the order.
Meanwhile, Kevin Nielsen relentlessly mounted his ascent through the field. A streetwise move at the second chicane would be a secret weapon which the Dane deployed repeatedly throughout the race. By half distance, Nielsen assembled behind Madsen in sixth place.
Eighteen minutes into a seemingly dominant drive from Roberto Ferrari, disaster struck. A tiny error sent the Italian into the ruthlessly cruel Montreal wall, inflicting significant damage to his Porsche. Ferrari valiantly fought on and limped home in tenth place.
Swift Swiss superstar, Ivo Laubscher, quickly inherited the lead with eleven minutes to go. However, Laubscher’s reign at the front lasted only two laps following a mistake from the Positively Racing ace.
Meanwhile, Nielsen nudged his way past Madsen at the Senna S and set off after the defenceless Luke Maxwell. After twenty-five minutes of frantic action, normal service finally resumed as Kevin Nielsen led to the flag and a spectacular double victory.
Nick Madsen played every trick in his playbook in the pursuit of overhauling Nielsen. However, the Scandinavian star came up short after brushing the wall and dropped to third behind Lewis Ward.
Surviving the rough and tumble of thirty minutes around the unforgiving streets of Montreal, Mark Jones took the AM class win and sixth overall.
After a busy day on track, Nick Madsen gave his thoughts to the Apex Racing TV broadcast crew: “It was a really tough race today. Casper did a great job, he’s really quick. As was Kevin.”
In a fortnight’s time, the ARA Porsche Cup class head to Spa Francorchamps. For many drivers, this Belgian gem is the ultimate test of car and driver. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 20.10 GMT on the 18th of November for live coverage.