Szymanek, Pinocchio and Hydes share honours in Sao Paulo
Apex Racing League iRacing Mazda Cup Round 4 Race Report
Pawel Szymanek has marked his arrival in the Apex Racing League Mazda Cup championship with a string of strong results. By virtue of his consistency and pace, the Polish star holds a significant lead over Calieb Hydes on arrival to Interlagos for round five of the season. Although Szymanek may look comfortable as championship leader, circumstances can fluctuate rapidly in the unpredictable arena that is the ARL Mazda Cup.
Interlagos is well known for instigating unexpected results. To minimal surprise, Calieb Hydes charged to pole position for the opening encounter. However, the shock came in the form of a seventh-place gird spot for Pawel Szymanek. Furthermore, the championship leader languished nearly three quarters of a second off the pace.
Dan Parmelee continued his rich run of form by topping the AM class.
Leading away from pole position, Calieb Hydes threatened to pull away in the early stages of the opening sprint. However, the strength of the Mazda cup slipstream prevented the young Australian from shaking off Ivan Pinocchio. At the halfway mark, Pinocchio pounced at turn one and moved into the lead.
Hydes retreated and prepared a counterattack late in the race. However, a firm move from Tom Vallenthini forced Hydes off circuit and down to fifth by the flag. With his rivals tussling behind, Pinocchio escaped to the first win of the meeting.
Finishing ninth overall, Dan Parmelee converted AM class pole to a win.
Following a reverse grid shuffle, Airijus Jomantas and Calieb Hydes started on the front row for the second fifteen-minute dash. Throughout the race, Calieb Hydes took sporadic turns at the front of the field while battling with Vallenthini and Jomantas. However, an ominous threat lingered close behind. Watching all the action at the front, Szymanek plotted his attack. On the final lap, Szymanek made his decisive move at the Senna S and scampered to the win while Hydes and Vallenthini contested second. Eventually, Hydes would claim the runners up spot by a tyre’s width.
Dan Parmeleee doubled up on AM class elation with another solid ninth place finish.
Darkness engulfed Interlagos for the final race of the meeting. Without any floodlights to depend on, track knowledge would be vital. Once again, the reverse grid gods looked fondly on Airijus Jomantas. Starting from second place, Jomantas would be joined on the front row by Dan Parmelee.
Keen to avenge a difficult meeting so far, Pete Newman quickly forged to the front in his Pure Sims Mazda. For the opening half of the race, Newman looked comfortable in the lead. However, Calieb Hydes was on the way. At the halfway point, Hydes made his move on the entry to the Senna S. Unfortunately, Newman would get no opportunity to respond as an errant Ivan Pinocchio ploughed into the back of the Briton’s machine.
As a result of Newman and Pinocchio’s clash, Hydes enjoyed a slender, yet critical margin. Unwilling to squander a golden opportunity, Hydes held on to the final race of the meeting.
Despite an unfortunate incident on the opening lap, Dan Parmelee recovered to complete an AM class treble victory in twelfth overall.
Immediately after the action, several ARL iRacing Mazda Cup stars shared their thoughts:
Dan Parmelee: “My only experience at this track was at F1 pole position on the N64! I didn’t think I would be this quick tonight.”
Calieb Hydes: “The past two rounds haven’t been good. This has been a pretty solid round. I am happy to take a second and a first.”
Damien McMullen: “That was really good racing! It was great to have Nathan back too. Finishing second in the AM class in race one and two was what I wanted. Even though race three is like a curse at the moment!”
Nathan Healy: “I had maybe fifteen laps of practice before the race. I drove the best I could. Two thirds and a second. I’m happy with that.”
Lime Rock Park in Connecticut hosts the next round of the ARL iRacing Mazda Cup. Catch all the live coverage on Apex Racing TV on the 5th of July at 7pm GMT.