ARL GT Championship | Bodin bosses Interlagos!
Unbridled from the stress of a championship battle, the Apex Racing League GT (ARL GT) field headed to Interlagos for the final round of the season.
Since inception in the 1940s, Interlagos has been preserved as close to its original form as possible. Yet, the São Paulo circuit continues to host the pinnacle of motorsport. Such is the intense motor racing love affair of a country that has produced some of the finest drivers in history. This fiercely old-fashioned venue has hosted countless dramatic F1 finales since Brazilian hero, Emerson Fittipaldi, won the circuit’s debut F1 contest in 1973.
Who would claim the final ARL GT silverware of the season at Interlagos?
In qualifying, super Swede Jonas Bodin set the pace in his BMW M8. Joining Bodin on the front row was Tahj Edwards. Runaway AM class leader, Dean Powell, was quickest in class and seventeenth overall. Newly crowned champion, Tom McMahon, didn’t qualify and started from the back of the thirty-two-car field.
Poised behind the pace car at Ferradura, the field had only half a lap to generate vital temperature in their Michelin tyres. At the drop of the flag, Bodin bolted into turn one and emerged from the Senna S bends in a commanding lead. In the early stages, Tahj Edwards lost vital time behind Chris Vandenesse, allowing Bodin to escape. However, once Edwards broke free, the BMW ace set off in hot pursuit of Bodin.
Edwards relentlessly hauled in Bodin and caught the Swede with just two minutes remaining. However, Bodin displayed typically Scandinavian serenity to defend his position and take his third win of the season. Dean Powell’s purple patch continued with an AM class victory and eighth overall. Thus, cementing the MSignsUK.com star’s position as class champion elect.
Race two’s reverse grid shuffle placed quick Canadian, Jaron Weinmaster, on pole position. Alongside Weinmaster on the front row, was Emil Winbo. In the opening moments of the forty-minute feature race, Weinmaster and Winbo sparred back and forth. In doing so, a large angry mob -led by Daniel Lee – accumulated behind.
Eventually, Weinmaster waned and fell into the clutches of the chasing pack. Winbo waltzed on with Daniel Lee lurking behind. From eighth on the grid, Tom McMahon inhabited third position.
Keen to escape, Lee barged through to the lead at turn one. A resulting loss of momentum for Winbo dropped the Swede into the grip of McMahon. At the first sniff of a mistake from Winbo, McMahon leapt through and began his pursuit of Lee.
Following a quick study of Lee’s pace, McMahon pulled off a champion’s move. At the quick left of Descida do Lago, McMahon whipped his Ford GT around the outside of Lee’s BMW and clinched the lead. McMahon marched on to a convincing win, completing a stellar season for the EvoSR star.
Further behind, a battle for the final step on the podium flared between Winbo, McKeown and Edwards. For the final ten minutes, Winbo resisted the challenges of McKeown and Edwards. However, on the final lap, a surge of pace from McKeown gave the Vulcan Sim Racing star third place. Winbo and Edwards had to settle for fourth and fifth, respectively.
Joseph Saul claimed AM class honours in eighteenth overall.
Following two closely fought encounters under the Brazlian sunset, a few ARL GT drivers gave their thoughts to the Apex Racing TV broadcast team:
Tom McMahon: “Race two was always the goal. Race one was all about getting as high up the field as possible. In practice, I was quickest on race fuel and it went well (in the race).”
Dean Powell: “I think I’ve gradually improved as the season went on. I’ve had my troubles and I’ve had a few incidents. However, I’ve ironed out some of my consistency problems. That’s where the AM championship was won.”
Jonas Bodin: “Tahj and I were matched on pace, but I made some mistakes towards the end and Tahj got closer. Maybe one or two more laps and he would’ve been really close!”
Congratulations to the ARL GT class champions – Tom McMahon and Dean Powell – from all at Apex Racing. See you next season!