Laubisch wins in Barber box office thriller!
Apex Racing League iRacing GT Championship with Colbek – R9 Barber Motorsports Park
On Sunday the 11th of April, the Apex Racing League GT (ARL GT) paddock descended on Barber Motorsports Park for round nine of the championship. Following a multi round absence, Alexey Nesov returned to ARL GT to find his mammoth lead had vanished and the championship battle blown wide open.
Arriving in Birmingham, Alabama, Mattia Fuligni leads the standings by a mere four points from Danny Lee and Sven Neumann.
During the ten-minute qualifying session, Urano eSports locked out the front row once again. Alexey Nesov narrowly eclipsed his teammate, Niclas Laubisch, for pole position. Hauling his BMW M8 to eighth overall, Chris Prescott started highest of the AM class runners.
Throughout the opening twenty-five-minute sprint, Nesov and Laubisch rattled out unparralled lap times in their Porsche 911 RSRs. Keen to reassert his superiority, Nesov was in flawless form and led from lights to flag.
A late spin for Chris Prescott handed AM championship leader, Steve Burke, a surprise class win. Burke’s rivals at Indy Autosports, Jentsen Adriaenssens and Kevin Kittelmann, both hit issues.
A twenty-car reverse grid placed David Gowrie on pole position for the forty-minute feature race. With track temperatures at a baking forty-six degrees, tyre wear would be a new challenge to contend with.
From pole position, Gowrie boomed off the line in his BMW M8 and led into turn one. However, an armada of pro class drivers soon swept by as Gowrie’s challenge faded. Ronald Grossman and Matthias Beer confidently forged ahead and led after fifteen minutes.
Niclas Laubisch was on a rampant charge from nineteenth on the grid. After just fifteen minutes on track, the Urano eSports star rose to third place and locked in on Beer and Grossman out front. Firing in more rapid lap times, Laubisch ripped Grossman and Beer’s advantage to shreds.
Twelve minutes to the finish, Laubisch was on top of Beer and Grossman. First to crack, was race leader Grossman. Exiting the swift final corner, Grossman lit up the tyres of his Corvette C8.R and ploughed into the pit wall. With Grossman out the picture, Beer looked vulnerable to the charging Laubisch. However, a mistake under braking at turn five sent Laubisch onto the grass. Thus, handing Beer some much needed respite.
Despite enduring a collision filled race, Alexey Nesov now found himself in a surprise second place. Smelling victory, the relentless Russian star began to deploy pace that no other driver can muster in the ARL GT paddock. With two minutes remaining of the most dramatic race of the season, Nesov was all over the back of Beer’s Ferrari.
Piling into the carousel at turn seven, a slight misjudgement sent Nesov into the back of Beer.
Defenceless, Beer spun around and dropped to fourth position. As a result of the calamity ahead, Laubisch assumed the lead and cleared off to a shock win. However, the drama was far from over.
Nesov’s incident packed race had caught up with the former championship leader. Due to an accumulation of penalty points, the Urano eSports ace was forced to pit lane to serve a drive through penalty.
In spite of his earlier crash, Grossman headed onto the penultimate lap in second place. However, a spin at turn five allowed Matthias Beer through to claim the runners up spot. As a result of Grossman’s blunder, Alexey Nesov swept by to claim an unlikely podium.
Amongst all the PRO class chaos, Jentsen Adrianssens bounced back from a disappointing race one to finish fifth overall and top of the AM class.