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Jansson and Guinez tangle in Bathurst barney!

Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship Round 7 Race Report

Mount Panorama provided the stage for the latest episode in a thrilling Apex Racing League Touring Car Championship (ARLTC) season. Kieran Harrison and Carl Jansson have engaged in a slugfest for the championship lead throughout the season so far. Arriving at the home of the Bathurst 1000, Harrison held a sixty-one-point advantage after Jansson’s struggles at Oran Park a week ago.

Qualifying

Corentin Guinez and Kieran Harrison locked out the front row of the grid for HM Engineering. Thus, securing a clear path for the short run to Hell corner. However, George Simmons and Carl Jansson completed an ominously fast row two. In sixteenth overall, Marcel Fritsch topped the AM class ahead of Nathan Davies.

Race 1

Swapping places across the opening two laps, Guinez and Jansson looked set for a titanic battle for the lead alongside Harrison and Simmons. However, on the long haul up the mountain straight, the most controversial incident of the ARLTC season halted the battle in abrupt fashion. A slight rub between Guinez’s front right and Jansson’s rear left, triggered a violent crash. Jansson abruptly speared left into the trackside wall, destroying his Core Sim Racing Audi. Guinez continued, albeit with significant damage.

Kieran Harrison was the main benefactor of the clash and progressed to the lead. However, Apex Racing Team’s George Simmons was on hand to challenge the championship leader for the win. With two laps remaining, Jason Cooper and Romain Boeckler joined in to set up a four-way dice for victory.

On the final lap, Harrison and Simmons risked everything over the mountain and gapped Cooper and Boeckler with ease. Storming down to The Chase, Harrison defended as best he could, but Simmons was too strong on the brakes and pinched the win in the dying moments of the race. Jason Cooper held off the charging Romain Boeckler for third place.

Nathan Davies continued his assault on the AM championship with another class win and twelfth overall.

Race 2

Corentin Guinez made amends for the earlier incident with Jansson by dominating race two. From thirteenth on the grid, the French star carved through the pack and assumed the lead by half distance. Once out in front, HM Engineering’s hot shot eased to victory. Not to be outdone by Guinez, Carl Jansson constructed a miraculous recovery from forty-first to eleventh place. Write off the tenacious Super Swede at your peril.

Continuing a dream day down under for Hesketh Racing, Mark Johnston finished third overall and dominated the AM class.

Race 3

Marcel Fritsch and Jason Cooper started on the front row for the final race of the meeting. Catapulting off the line, Cooper mustered enough momentum to swoop around Fritsch and lead onto the mountain straight.

For most of the race, Cooper drove flawlessly and enjoyed a cushion over his rivals. However, with five minutes remaining, Marcel Tie mounted his challenge. Unperturbed, Jason Cooper serenely swatted away Tie’s attempt for the win. Scoring a significant psychological blow, Kieran Harrison claimed third, ahead of Carl Jansson.

Welsh wizard, Nathan Davies, doubled up on AM class delight and finished sixth overall.

Next Round

With a three-week mid-season break before round eight of the championship, the ARLTC paddock has a chance to catch its collective breath. On the 25th of March, ARLTC makes its return at Suzuka in Japan. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to catch all the live action.

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Photos by Kevin Zhao

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