ARL GT Championship | Magnificent McMahon masters ARL GT once again!
A hotly contested Apex Racing League GT championship (ARL GT) visited the Nurburgring on Sunday for the penultimate round of the championship. Tom McMahon’s defence of the number one plate on his Evo SR Ford has kicked up a gear in recent rounds. Last time out at Imola, the Briton distanced himself from his rivals in the standings. Nevertheless, with two rounds remaining, plentiful points remain up for grabs for James Crouch and Daniel Lee.
In the ten-minute qualifying session, the aforementioned Crouch and Lee signalled their intent to halt McMahon’s charge and locked out the front row. AM class championship leader, Dean Powell, hauled his BMW M8 to thirteenth overall and a class pole position. In fact, the MSignsUK.com driver was the only AM class runner in the top twenty.
Assembling behind the pace car just before the NGK chicane, the ARL GT drivers had little time to generate critical tyre and brake temperature before the green flag. Polesitter, James Crouch, seized his opportunity and scampered down to the devilishly difficult Haug hairpin in the lead. A mistake from Daniel Lee under braking into turn one, handed second and third to Tahj Edwards and Tom McMahon.
For most of the opening encounter, the leading quartet – Crouch, Edwards, McMahon and Lee – held a serene and orderly formation. However, it wouldn’t last. On lap ten, Crouch had company in the form of Tahj Edwards. Piling into the NGK chicane, Edwards inadvertently nudged into Crouch and pushed his fellow BMW driver across the chicane. Both Crouch and Edwards recovered but invited the relentless Tom McMahon into their battle for the race win.
Following the customary reverse grid muddle, Tom Stevens and Adam Coles started from the front row for the forty-minute feature race. Race one podium protagonists – Crouch, Edwards and McMahon started on the fringes of the top fifteen.
Lap one proved critical to the championship protagonist’s fortunes. A masterful McMahon meandered his way through to tenth whilst Crouch stumbled over the inevitable melee.
Following Tom Stevens’ demise, Dean Powell progressed into an early overall lead in his BMW. Furthermore, none of Powell’s AM class rivals were anywhere to be seen.
By lap eight, Tom McMahon and Tahj Edwards advanced to the edge of the top five, with little sign of their progress being hindered. However, a collector’s item mistake sent McMahon twirling onto the grass at Valvoline curve and down the order to twelfth. McMahon eventually recovered to seventh. In doing so, the EVO SR ace sealed the championship with one round to spare.
Just after half distance, Dean Powell’s lead eroded. Pro class BMW ace, Luke McKeown, relentlessly reeled in the AM class championship leader and plotted his move. At the NGK chicane, McKeown picked Powell’s pocket and moved into the lead. Powell couldn’t respond with a counter move but matched the pace of McKeown all the way to the line to finish runner up. Powell’s MSignsUK.com teammate, Daniel Lee, joined his stablemate on the podium in third place.
Following the race, the newly crowned ARL GT champion, Tom McMahon, shared his delight and relief with viewers on the iRacing Esports network: “I am chuffed with that! However, it was a bit of an anti-climax because I feel that’s the worst round I’ve ever had in ARL GT. But I think the consistency earlier in the season paid off.”
On Sunday the 25th of October, the ARL GT series reaches its finale at Interlagos. With the championship sealed up, drivers can enjoy the freedom to race without the burden of a championship battle. Tune in at 8PM GMT on the iRacing Esports network to catch all the live action.