Costa counter attacks in Sonoma sizzler
The rolling hills of California’s wine country hosted round three of the Apex Racing Academy Porsche Cup at Sonoma raceway. After two calamitous races at Long Beach and Nurburgring, Kamil Grabowski emerges with a commanding lead in the championship standings. Grabowski’s nearest challengers come in the form of hard charging Pascal Costa and Mr Consistent, Josh Camm.
In quick fire open qualifying, Kevin Nielsen used his ten minutes on track to best effect and claimed pole. Grabowski missed the prime gird spot by forty-five-thousandths of a second, but would enjoy a critical open path to turn one. Leon Erger continued to impress in the AM class by qualifying thirteenth overall, five spots ahead of nearest contender, Kevin Copeland.
Throughout the opening twenty-minute sprint, Grabowski mirrored Nielsen’s every move. However, Nielsen remained unperturbed. By the final lap, the leading pair had vanquished the rest, setting up a head-to-head grandstand finish. With over taking opportunities proving scarce, Grabowski couldn’t find a way to overcome his Danish rival. Nielsen’s Scandinavian serenity proved vital in claiming the win.
Kevin Copeland looked set for an AM class victory, following the demise of Leon Erger. However, a late mistake handed the class win to Super Swede, Mikael Fang.
Fang’s vintage day at Sonoma continued with the reverse grid shuffle placing the Team Vikings driver on pole for the thirty-minute feature race. Sadly, Fang’s Sonoma sizzler soured on lap two. Heading into the final hairpin, a clumsy Bob Humphrey fluffed his braking point and ploughed into the back of the defenceless Fang. Hardly able to believe his luck, David Plasman swept by to take the lead.
Championship contender, Pascal Costa, was in no mood to let Plasman escape to a win and promptly caught and dispatched with the Dutchman. Once in clean air, Costa cleared off to a dominant victory. In doing so, striking a blow to championship leader, Grabowski. Nick Rowland appeared to have second place sewn up, but ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap. A costly blunder indeed. Despite his earlier tangle with Fang, Bob Humphrey profited from Rowland’s downfall and pinched the final spot on the podium.
Mikael Fang didn’t let the early setback stop him from claiming a double AM class victory. Finishing seventh overall, Fang finished four places ahead of next in class, Kevin Copeland. A simultaneous battle is forming between the Swede and Briton for AM class honours, whilst the PRO class continues to be fiercely contested.
With the California dust barely settled, several Apex Racing League Porsche Cup stars headed to the Apex Racing TV commentary box to tell the story of a day’s racing at Sonoma:
Bradley Hulse: “It wasn’t a bad day overall. In the feature race, I took advantage of the earlier incident and got myself up to a nice place and was pretty much incident free for the rest of the race.”
Dane Baird: “A fairly decent haul of points in the AM class, but Mikael Fang and Kevin Copeland both got quite a lot more points than me.”
David Plasman: “It was good fun, I did not expect this at all! For Nurburgring, I knew my pace was good. But here, the track was new for me and I really don’t like it with the Porsche Cup car.”
Kevin Copeland: “I’m really chuffed with that. It was a tough track and a tough evening. I benefited a lot from keeping it on the track and not making mistakes. I’m really chuffed.”
Next up for the Apex Racing Academy Porsche Cup paddock, is a trip to Canada and the streets of Montreal. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT on the 24th of February to see who will rule Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.