HM Engineering boss Brands Hatch
Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship R9 Race Report
Brands Hatch Indy maybe small in stature, but the short course at the picturesque Kent venue is always big on action. Given Brands Hatch’s credentials as a key circuit on the BTCC calendar, this twisty circuit was guaranteed for the Apex Racing League Touring Car Championship calendar.
Championship leader, Kieran Harrison, made his intentions clear in qualifying. A blistering lap time from the HM Engineering star eclipsed Wojciech Swirydowicz by over a tenth of a second. A relatively yawning chasm in the context of Brands Hatch Indy.
Although Mark Woodhouse started back in twentieth, the Team MAD driver still outpaced his AM class rivals.
Aware of the importance of track position, Harrison executed a fine launch and grasped the lead into Paddock Hill Bend. This proved critical for the Englishman who delivered a perfectly measured drive to win the opening sprint race.
Immediately behind Harrison, life wasn’t so serene for Wojiech Swirydowicz, Romain Boeckler and Carl Jansson. Four minutes from the flag, Swirydowicz commanded second position, despite pressure from Jansson and Boeckler. Eventually, the tussle came to a head at the finicky Druids hairpin. A light bump from Jansson was enough to derail Swirydowicz’s charge and the Swede moved through into second position. Real world Renault Clio racer, Romain Boeckler, couldn’t make his own move on Jansson and settled for third position.
In the AM class, Mark Woodhouse converted his class pole to victory and eighteenth place overall.
Following a twenty-nine-car grid inversion, Jon Billingsley and Andrew Woodhouse started on the front row for race two. A great launch allowed Sergey Glazkov to pinch the lead amongst the lap one chaos. A high rate of attrition claimed several big names, clearing the path for a certain fast Frenchman. From ninth on the grid, Corentin Guinez carved through the pack to lead after only six minutes. No one could match the pace of the HM Engineering ace who charged to a triumphant win.
Although well off Guinez’s unparralled pace, Mikel Garcia bounced back from a crash in race one to finish second overall. Glazkov couldn’t hang on to the pace of PRO class aces Guinez and Garcia, but third overall and AM class win were fine rewards for the Russian driver.
Arjan Bakker and Terje Flaten emerged on the front row of the grid for the third and final race of the meeting. Flaten had shown superb pace in qualifying, but hadn’t been able to fully capitalise so far. However, Flaten needed no reminder of his opportunity in race three. A perfect launch gave the Norwegian driver a comfortable margin into turn one.
Although championship contenders Kieran Harrison and Carl Jansson barged through to second and third place after only four minutes, Flaten had already checked out to the race win. Harrison would resist the stern challenge posed by Jansson to complete another very positive meeting for the HM Engineering ace.
Mark Woodhouse emerged from a titanic tussle for the AM class win involving Adam Bath and Marcel Fritsch. Woodhouse’s pace certainly looks ominous for his AM class rivals at this stage in the championship.
Following the final race, a handful of the ARLTC drivers joined the Apex Racing TV commentary team to give their assessments of a day’s racing in the Apex Racing League iRacing Touring Car Championship R9
Fraser Smith: “Race three was good, twenty-seventh to seventh. Not too bad!”
Kieran Harrison: “The reverse grids were survival as usual. Of the four HM Engineering cars, I was the only one who had a clean run in each race.”
Carl Jansson: “My pace was very good so I could catch the guys, although Brands is a very hard track to pass on.”
On the 8th of April, the Apex Racing League Touring Car Championship heads to Indiana and the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Although better known for its hallowed 2.5-mile oval circuit, Indianapolis Motor Speedway also boasts an intriguing road course layout. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 7pm GMT to see how the ARLTC paddock fare.