ARL - GT Championship S1/R2 - Road Atlanta
Round 2 of the ARL GT Championship Season 1 was held at the two and a half mile track, Road Atlanta.
Eneric Andre of Satellite Racing was quickest from the start, setting the quickest qualifying time by just over a tenth with Djawad Karoni also from Satellite Racing just in behind, sharing the front row with his team mate. Satellite Racing would secure a 1-2-3 in qualifying with Sai Andre in P3 on the grid with Tom McMahon of EvoSR in P4, and Nick Rowland completing the top 5.
Daniel Lee would take the first AM spot on the grid, 10th overall, with the next AM being Bob Humphrey, 4 places behind.
Eneric Andre would lead the pack coming down the hill, entering the first lap, The Satellite front row got a very good getaway, Tom McMahon also got an amazing start to the race, from P4 to P3 before turn one. Amazingly, there wasn’t a single bit of contact from the start. With the first train of cars locked in single file and further back there were still cars two wide going onto the long backstretch of this Georgian track. After the first lap, Dennis Ipenburg had already made up two positions putting him in 5th place for the second lap. The second lap would give us an awesome battle for 9th position, but Dion Phillips holding his position after a lap of battling.
The next few laps would show us who had been practising the most as the top 4 cars consisted of three Satellite Racing drivers, Sai Andra, Djawad Karoni and Eneric Andre, with Tom McMahon for EvoSR in between, the top 4 had pulled away significantly from everyone else with Dennis Ipenburg hunting them down.
The AM class leader Daniel Lee would find himself battling for the 9th position overall with Tiago Loureiro and Dion Phillips, with the next AM in line being a couple of seconds back in P14.
Laps 5-8 would see a battle arise for 6th position, between Paul Smith, Steven Brumfield and the current P6 driver, Aaron Powell. A fantastic around the outside move on lap 8 through the last chicane would see a position swap for P10, Tahj Edwards would now take this position from Dion Phillips.
Some slight over steer from Paul Smith would see him into the wall coming down the hill, losing three positions. On the same lap we would see another incredible around the outside move from Tom McMahon on Djawad Karoni pushing McMahon up to P2!
On lap 13 Karoni would take the position back from Tom, allowing him to try and hunt down his teammate. With Karoni extremely tight to him, Eneric Andre would keep fighting to the end, but eventually through the last turn on the last lap, there would be some confusion as Djawad would go into the rear end of Eneric, turning him sideways and allowing Djawad to finish in P1
The second race of the night would start off with the usually wheel spin, landing on -7, driver Joseph Saul would start in P1, with Bob Humphrey alongside him in P2, next on the inside row would be Brandon Warren, then Kev Copeland and Paul Smith to round out the top 5.
Off the line, Saul got a very good run, all cars would be clean looking down the order however Djawad Karoni for Satellite Racing would miscalculate the first corner and end up slower than his teammate, Sai Andra behind, causing contact between the two of them and leaving Karoni in 28th position with a damaged car.
The first lap was extremely clean even though some drivers took it two wide down the extremely narrow downhill section!
We would immediately see a lead change as EvoSR Green driver Bob Humphrey makes a clean move down the inside of Saul. Unfortunately, the end of the first lap would see another team incident very similar to the one that happened at the end of Race 1 but this time between the Gold Racing Team drivers. Lap 2 would also give us a crash, as Tom McMahon slowed down to avoid the previous crash Satellite Racing’s Eneric Andre would go into the back of McMahon, putting him into the wall.
CHAOS! An unfortunate crash in the last chicane between Paul Smith and AM driver Brandon Warren would unfold and collect many cars, most of the cars in the top 15 would end up with some kind of damage and some even on their doors.
After this massive drama, leader, Bob Humphrey and second place Joseph Saul would gap the rest of the field massively. One of the biggest changes to the race would see Sai Andra for Satellite Racing move up 8 positions in one lap, from 17th to 9th. Just as the field started to calm down, a missed braking point from Aaron Powell would send P8 Dion Phillips onto the grass, and with terminal damage.
As once again the field calmed down, we would slowly see the Pro drivers make their way back through the field by lap 9 we would see Andra make his way to second place, to have his shot at hunting down the distant Bob Humphrey. We would also see Andra’s teammates, Eneric Andre and Nick Rowland follow him through, giving Satellite Racing a provisional 2-3-4. By lap 16, Andra would somehow manage to make up the time from that massive gap and then pass Humphrey with Andra’s teammate also overtaking Humphrey the succeeding lap.
With not much change in the field, these positions would pretty much see us through to the end, Eneric Andre and Sai Andra would keep fighting for the win, but Sai Andra coming away with a well deserved P1 by under 0.05s!
For the AM class, Bob Humphrey would, of course, come away with the win.
The drivers will now have to turn their attentions to the Floridan Sebring!