Mark Woodhouse goes big in Japan!
Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship R8 Race Report
The land of the rising sun and the wonderful Suzuka circuit hosted the eighth round of a thrilling Apex Racing League Touring Car Championship. Following a few challenging rounds for Super Swede, Carl Jansson, HM Engineering’s Kieran Harrison has forged ahead at the front. Furthermore, a resurgent George Simmons now finds himself at the epicentre of the title tussle.
In the AM class fight, Mark Woodhouse and Ben Gregory head into the second half of the season as joint favourites for class honours.
Former champion, Wojiech Swirydowicz, set the pace in qualifying to claim pole position from Jack Sedgewick by a tenth of a second. Qualifying in an impressive eleventh overall, was AM class pacesetter, Mark Woodhouse.
Championship contender, Carl Jansson, was forced to start at the rear of the field after serving a qualifying ban.
As the opening twenty-minute encounter progressed, Kieran Harrison and Jack Sedgwick appeared to have the edge on their competitors. Meanwhile, Fraser Smith and Wojiech Swirydowicz clung on to the tail of this leading quartet.
On the final lap, this quartet quickly became two pairs. Harrison and Sedgwick’s duel for the win was nothing short of an epic. A drag race to the line fell in Sedgwick’s favour by a fraction of a second. Immediately behind, Smith and Swirydowicz engaged in their own struggle for the final spot on the podium. Swirydowicz getting the nod on this occasion.
Team MAD’s Mark Woodhouse converted AM class pole into a win, five spots ahead of his nearest competitor, Sergey Glazkov.
Following a reverse grid reshuffle, Craig Williams started race two from pole position alongside Sergey Glazkov. For the opening half of the race, Williams held firm at the front of the field, despite pressure from Daniel Nagy and Mark Woodhouse.
Eventually, Nagy managed to break Williams’ stronghold with a well-timed manoeuvre into turn one on lap six. Although Nagy now led, Williams maintained consistent pressure for the remainder of the race. Starting the final lap, Nagy’s mirrors were full of Williams’ orange and white Audi. No matter what questions were asked by Williams, Nagy had the answer and scored a well-deserved win. Jason Cooper nearly mugged Williams for second place at the line, but settled for third place.
Further back in the pack, a controversial tangle between Jack Sedgwick and Kieran Harrison raised eyebrows as both drivers plunged down the order.
Doubling up on his race one triumph, Mark Woodhouse continued his dream day in Japan with another AM class victory and eleventh overall.
In the third and final race, Jack Sedgwick avenged his race two demise with a commanding win from the front. With clean air to enjoy, no one could catch the world championship license holder’s pace. Once again, Kieran Harrison limited damage and maximised points with a hard fought second place in the final race. Thus, losing minimal points to the dominant Sedgwick.
Andrew Woodhouse finally tasted a little bit of the AM class bubbly with a fine drive to eighth place. Two spots behind, was AM class runner up, Ben Gregory.
Immediately after the final race, Fraser Smith joined the Apex Racing TV commentary team to share his thoughts: “I always seem to go pretty well here for whatever reason. Race one came as a shock, but I need more of that!”