Harrison strikes back down under!
Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship Round 6 Race Report
Following a successful haul of points in Atlanta and Virginia, Carl Jansson descended on the Australian swing of the Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship (ARLTC) with a twelve-point cushion over defending champion, Kieran Harrison. Oran Park’s perilously narrow and technical twists presented a stiff challenge for the ARLTC field. Survival would be paramount across three twenty-minute races.
Striking the opening blow, Harrison outpaced Jansson for pole position by under a tenth of a second. Thus, setting up a tantalising battle for race one. WS Racing eSports ace, Marcel Fritsch, qualified fourteenth overall and quickest of the AM class.
From the front row, Harrison and Jansson duelled for the lead for the opening half of the opening race. Keen to sway the momentum back in his favour, Harrison turned the screw on Jansson with some blistering pace. Eventually, Jansson capitulated under the pressure. An error on the entry to the rapid Sweeper at turn one, sent the Super Swede ploughing into the wall and out of the race. Following Jansson’s demise, Harrison cruised to victory. George Simmons and Jason Cooper held off Marcel Tie to confirm their places on the podium.
Mark Johnston edged out VIR race two hero, Nathan Davies, for AM class honours.
Former ARLTC commentator, Andrew Woodhouse, catapulted his Audi RS3 from fourth on the grid and enjoyed the race two lead by turn three. Could it be a bit of the bubbly for Woody? Within five minutes, Fraser Smith arrived on the scene, attempting to leave Woodhouse gasping for a taste of Reims’ finest vintage champagne.
Heading down to the Sweeper on lap five, Smith set up his move on Woodhouse. Showing perhaps too much politeness, Woodhouse gave Smith plenty room to pass. In doing so, Woodhouse stepped a wheel onto the Oran Park dust and snapped across the circuit into the side of Smith’s Audi. However, Smith powered on and soon reclaimed the lead.
Approaching the chequered flag, Smith stubbornly defended from the attacking Corentin Guinez and Romain Boeckler. Arriving at the final corner, Smith led but Guinez couldn’t resist a lunge for the win. Heavy contact from the Frenchman’s failed move hampered Guinez and Smith, allowing Romain Boeckler to pinch the win just metres from the flag.
Luke Kidsley resisted pressure from Ben Gregory and Andrew Woodhouse to prevail in the AM division.
A shuffled race three grid placed several hot shot drivers near the front of the grid. Jake Robertson and George Simmons started the final race of the meeting on the front row. Carl Jansson started immediately behind the Apex Racing Team duo and desperately needed a strong result after a torrid meeting at Oran Park.
Jansson wasted no time to slip through to the lead and looked determined to sign off with a win. Throughout the race, George Simmons continued to click off qualifying laps in a valiant attempt to catch Jansson. However, the Core Sim Racing star couldn’t be caught and marched on to a vital win. Damien Harris continued his impressive run of form and completed the podium in third place.
A titanic battle between Marcel Fritsch and Andrew Woodhouse for AM class spoils eventually fell in favour of Fritsch late in the race.
Immediately after the action ceased, several ARLTC stars joined the Apex Racing TV commentary duo to share their thoughts on their visit to Oran Park:
Andrew Woodhouse: “I was woeful in practice and qualifying but once the race got going we made some progress! It’s been a strange couple of months but I’m glad to be back and be in the thick of it.”
Ben Gregory: “I felt this was a little bit more ‘argy-bargy’ than it needed to be. Drivers were getting a bit over aggressive on a track which is hard to pass on.”
Adam Bath: “Qualifying was surprisingly good given that only had twenty minutes practice and hadn’t really driven Oran Park either. I had a good result in race one that set us up for a good evening, but Nathan Davies and I collided at turn two and that put us at the back of the grid for race three.”
On the fourth of March, the Apex Racing League Touring Car Championship heads to Mount Panorama for round seven of the season. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to catch all three races live.
Photos by Kevin Zhao