ARL - GT Championship S1/R3 - Sebring
Round 3 of the ARL GT Championship Season 1 ran at the former pilot training base, Sebring International Raceway.
For qualifying, Tom McMahon would be fastest on the track with AM Daniel Lee on his right hand side. Djawad would start behind McMahon in P3, with Jefferey Garzotto for Gold Racing Team Blue in 4th place and then Eneric Andre to round out the top 5.
The second AM car would start 8 places behind Lee, in 10th.
With McMahon leading the way for the first time so far in this championship, he would find himself getting a good getaway, Djawad Karoni for Satellite Racing Team had a great reaction time to McMahon’s start, pushing himself up to 2nd before T1. The rest of the pack would get a very clean start, most cars two wide through the extremely wide first turn. Frederik Nichtl of F1Onlineliga Simracing would have to first contact of the race, overestimating the brakes on his Porsche, and going into the back of Pro Sai Andra, making Andra come backwards off of the track. Daniel Lee would find himself having a very unfortunate first lap, losing 6 positions due to missed braking points. Laps 2-3 would let the pack settle down a little bit and form multiple single file groups. Nick Rowland would take 5th place on lap 4 being incredible on the brakes into T2, leaving Dion Phillips to give up the position.
Although by lap 4 AM Daniel Lee had dropped back to 8th overall, he still had an incredible lead on next in line in the AM class Bob Humphrey. Later on in lap 5 we would see Tom McMahon slightly misjudge his point of acceleration and end up in the wall, slowing significantly which made Djawad Karoni go into the back of him. This incident would allow Karoni and Eneric Andre of Satellite Racing to move up into positions 1 and 2.
AM driver Daniel Lee lost the rear end of his car which would end up putting him in 4th place in the AM class. Damage from the earlier contact left McMahon with a limited car, this allowed the cars behind to catch up and overtake. Djawad Karoni lost his pole position on lap 9 to team mate Eneric Andre. Next up, Nick Rowland would catch up to Tom McMahon, with McMahon defending the position the track would become very tight for Rowland, and the situation eventually ended in a crash on the front stretch. An incident that put McMahon into the pits. Lap 12 saw a battle for 5th position between two Pro drivers, Dion Phillips and Nick Rowland, Dion would try and go round the outside, he managed to keep it stuck around the outside for the inside of the next corner, Nick Rowland was to come in tight and the rear come round after contact with Phillips, which in turn made him turn the rear end of Dion’s car sending them both into the wall, ending Dion’s race.
On the last lap of the race, lap 13, 3rd place runner Jeffery Garzotto would lose the rear end around turn 2, putting him on the grass which would allow 5 other cars to pass him pushing him down to 8th place overall. Eneric Andre would bring his car home in a brilliant 1st place, with team mate Djawad Karoni behind him and Dennis Ipenburg would take the last place on the podium.
Race 2 would start of with the usual wheel spin! The wheel spin would land on 12, putting Daniel Lee on pole, Tom Stevens in second and Bob Humphrey in 3rd, with the first Pro driver on the grid being Aaron Powell in 5th.
Another clean first lap would allow Daniel Lee to gap 2nd position, and Humphrey would push up to 2nd place and Aaron Powell would go up into 3rd, picking up two positions off of the start.
The Pro drivers would start trying to pick off positions immediately with Satellite Racing drivers, Djawad Karoni, Nick Rowland and Eneric Andre by the end of lap one already making it 5-6-7. By lap 3, the Satellite Racing drivers would start making their way through the top 4. The end of Lap 3 would make Daniel Lee the only AM driver left in the top 5, with AM Humphrey in 6th and AM Paulo Preto for Escuderia Sul Brasil in 10th.
Pro Dennis Ipenburg would start to hunt down Nick Rowland on lap 5 as Rowland would start to get held up by traffic. By lap 6, the field had spread out, meaning there wasn’t much action,but Eneric Andre would keep fighting to push to the front, on lap 8 he found himself chasing down Lee for the lead.
Damien Harris would push too hard through through turn 7, spinning out and moving down to P10. Nick Rowland would make a mistake at the same corner but on lap 10, allowing Steven Brumfield through. A frustrated Djawad Karoni would keep trying to pass Powell for the whole of lap 11, until at the last corner he manages to make the move stick, moving up to 3rd.
Dion Phillips would make a move on Bob Humphrey, giving him the last spot in the top ten for now, this would also make Daniel Lee the only AM in the top 10! Contact Between Brumfield and Rowland would put Brumfield onto the grass, losing two positions and dropping down to 7th.
Karoni would make his way up to P2 with his team mate Andre further up the road in P1. Sai Andra had made his way up to P7 with an amazing drive, lots of overtaking, from P13 up 6 positions.
Not much change from lap 18 would see the end of what words can only describe as an amazing drive from Eneric Andre with lots of overtaking, he would finish in P1!
AM driver Daniel Lee had the best race we have seen from an AM this season, finishing in an incredible 3rd place overall and 1st in the AM class.
A break next week will give the drivers two weeks to practise and perfect their laps at COTA!