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Redemption for Rahrt at Road America!

Apex Racing League iRacing Prototype Championship

Few venues provide better opportunities to stretch the legs of a prototype racing car than Road America. Since 1955, this masterpiece situated in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin has retained its original layout. From the 1000 horsepower Can-Am thoroughbreds of the early 1970s, to the contemporary IMSA DPI machines, prototype race cars have devoured the challenge of this four-mile circuit.

A gang of LMP1 hybrid racers from Porsche and Audi join a raft of Dallara P217 for round three of the Apex Racing League Prototype championship at Road America. So far, Alex Salmon and Michele Costantini have established themselves as the early front runners. Can they be beaten at Road America?

Lennart Rahrt stunned the paddock in qualifying with a sizzling lap in his Porsche 919. Championship leader Alex Salmon languished over a second behind the German star in second place. Continuing his impressive run, Mateusz Drozda outclassed his AM division competitors. Incredibly, the Polish star qualified a mere three thousandths of a second from championship leader, Alex Salmon.

In the LMP2 ranks, Michele Costantini asserted his dominance in the Apex Racing Team Dallara. Once again, Alex Moore led the LMP2 AM class ranks.

The Race

Following a four-mile tour behind the pace car, Lennart Rahrt scampered away in his Porsche 919 Hybrid. Despite possessing superior speed, Rahrt has been unable to convert in the race for various reasons. Clearly, the RLR Abruzzi eSports ace was on a mission to settle the score. By the end of lap one, Rahrt gapped Alex Salmon by two seconds.

Throughout the opening stint, Rahrt grew his lead over the Audi’s of Alex Salmon and Lewis Woods. Approaching the scheduled pit stops, Salmon and Woods bickered away, allowing Rahrt to press further ahead. After the pit cycle, Rahrt continued to press home his advantage and sped to a well deserved first win of the season.

Despite attempting to undercut Salmon by pitting early, Woods emerged behind Salmon after the pit cycle and the battle for Ingolstadt honour recommenced. Putting on a superb display for fans on Apex Racing TV, Salmon and Woods juked for position in a superb battle. Eventually, a slight error from Woods at turn thirteen gave Salmon a slender, yet critical margin.

Mateusz Drozda continued his winning streak in the LMP1 AM class, despite Daniel Sivi-Szabo leading until the final corner of the race. Exiting the final corner, Sivi-Szabo felt the splutter that all racers dread. Sivi-Szabo’s Porsche 919 Hybrid may be a technical marvel in efficiency, but sadly the Weissach machine’s tank ran dry at the worst possible moment, allowing Drozda to pinch the AM class win at the flag.

ARL GT champion, Tom McMahon, pushed Michele Costantini hard for the LMP2 lead early on. However, a spin at turn thirteen sent the Evo SR driver into the wall. Worse still, McMahon’s Dallara P217 ricocheted back onto the circuit into the path of Evo SR stablemate, Mark Hutchinson. With McMahon out of the equation, Costantini charged to a third win of the season completely unopposed.

Tim Perry and Kevin Kittelmann engaged in a fascinating duel for LMP2 AM class honours throughout the race. Approaching the end of this epic encounter, Perry appeared to have a comfortable margin. However, a late blunder sent the Briton into the turn one gravel trap, handing the AM class win to Kittelmann.

Post race driver quotes

Immediately after leaving the cockpit, several of the ARL Prototype drivers joined Jack Cunnane and Joshua Lee in the Apex Racing TV commentary box:

Lennart Rahrt: “Finally! Even though we had a little bit of bad luck, not all of our cars made it to the finish. But, finally I was able to convert pole position into something that actually counts for points in the end!”

Michele Costantini: “It feels pretty good, a good chunk of championship points! However, I feel like it wasn’t my best drive compared to the first two races.”

Kevin Kittelmann: “It feels amazing! Just like winning in the ARL GT Championship. If Tim didn’t make the mistake, there was no way I could have beaten him. He was a rocket today!”

Live On the 5th of March on Apex Racing TV, the Apex Racing League Prototype championship heads to the focal point of endurance racing, Le Mans. This round will be something of a homecoming for the LMP1 and LMP2 cars. After all, they don’t call them Le Mans Prototypes for nothing!

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Photos by Kevin Zhao

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