Green green green for ARL GTs!
iRacing Apex Racing League GT Trophy – R1 Monza
A brand-new season of the Apex Racing League GT Trophy roared into life at the ‘Temple of Speed’ – Monza. Built in 1922 in just 110 days, Monza was Italy’s answer to Indianapolis and Brooklands. The Milan based circuit has been central to Italian motorsport ever since.
Following an overwhelming entry of GT3 cars, the ARL GT Trophy has a brand-new look for season two. Much like in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, drivers are split into class based on ability, but use the same machinery.
ARL GT Trophy newcomers, Valkyrie Esports, signalled their intent by locking out the front row of the grid. Kenny Roosens led the way by four tenths of a second from Valkryie BMW stablemate, Amaury Bonduel. Defending champion, Gaetan Anger, started third in his Lamborghini Huracan.
Valkryie Esports spread their net of dominance to the AM class too. Qualifying eighteenth overall, Corentin Collignon outpaced his class rivals convincingly.
Leading the field into a brand-new season, Kenny Roosens opened up the taps on his BMW M4 GT3 and sped to turn one in the lead. However, Roosens’ reign at the front was short-lived. Sweeping past his teammate, Bonduel hit the front early on.
A slight breach of track limits landed Roosens with a ‘slow-down’ penalty, allowing Gaetan Anger to nip past into second place. Nevertheless, on the next drag down the extensive pit straight, Roosens deployed the Bavarian brawn of his BMW and eased past Anger to reclaim second.
Although Anger was clearly at a disadvantage on the straights, the Frenchman’s agile and balanced Lamborghini was superb through the curves.
Playing a cunning game, Anger settled in behind Roosens, using the Belgian’s draft to reduce fuel consumption. With a 60% fuel capacity, time spent refuelling in the pit lane would be critical to the outcome of the 60-minute sprint.
Heading towards the pit cycles, the exchanges between Roosens and Anger allowed Bonduel to accumulate a handy seven second advantage. Curiously, Anger and Bonduel dived to the pit lane just after the halfway mark, while Roosens stayed out for one more lap.
As Anger and Bonduel completed their pit stops without incident. Roosens race unravelled dramatically. During his in lap, Roosens’ progress was thwarted by several backmarkers. Furthermore, a frantic entry to pit lane caused the polesitter to make a crucial error. Crossing the blend line on entry, Roosens was struck with a forty-second stop and hold penalty. Thus, ruining his race.
After the pit stops, Bonduel’s brilliance continued as the Valkyrie BMW ace cruised to a flawless debut victory in ARL GT Trophy competition. However, the rest of the podium spots remained up for grabs.
Gaetan Anger enjoyed second position in relative comfort for the majority of the second stint. However, with five minutes to go, Richard Gafencu and Pascal Stix arrived on the scene. Three drivers, but only two spots left on the podium. Despite significant pressure from the swiftly emerging Gafencu and Stix, Anger showed champion’s credentials to defend a well-earned second place. Gafencu eventually held off Stix for the final spot on the podium. Although Monza’s long full throttle blasts may not suit the Lamborghini Huracan, two of the raging bulls arrived on the podium.
In the AM class, the horror of a pit lane penalty struck Valkyrie Esports twice. Unable to convert on a class pole position, Corentin Collignon handed AM class victory to Juan Manuel Calleja.