Koerbs and Smart clinch titles in Daytona dogfight!
Wave Italy Apex Racing League iRacing Prototype Championship – Daytona
Daytona International Speedway’s unmistakeable high banks provided the ideal arena for the season finale of the Wave Italy ARL Prototype Championship. Arriving in Florida, defending LMP1 champion Alex Salmon faced an uphill struggle to unseat Jan Koerbs at the top of the standings. In LMP2 AM, Tim Perry held an anxiously slim advantage of just two points over Keiran Smart.
After tempers boiled over at Watkins Glen, Alex Salmon and Alexander Spetz faced a qualifying ban for the final round at Daytona. Thus, allowing Jan Koerbs to charge to pole position with relative ease. In the battle for P2 AM honours, Keiran Smart struck the first blow by pinching pole position from Tim Perry by less than a tenth of a second.
Jan Koerbs took full advantage of pole position and assumed control of the race early on. However, a determined Alex Salmon wasn’t going to hand over his crown easily. Carving through the pack, Salmon swiftly arrived on Koerbs’ tail and began to plot his attack for the lead.
However, Koerbs found support in the form of his teammate, Alexander Spetz. Salmon soon had his hands full with the Swedish ace and quickly turned from attack to defence. Heading through the kink on the infield, Spetz pulled off an audacious manoeuvre on the inside line to pinch second position. Although Spetz had stolen second place, his spell there ended immediately. Ploughing into the back of his rival, Salmon drilled Spetz’s Audi across the road, almost taking out Koerbs in the process. Ironically, as Koerbs moved to avoid his teammate cannoning past, Salmon slipped into the lead. Albeit in highly controversial circumstances.
Salmon held the lead by over a second before pitting at the twenty-five-minute mark. When Salmon exited pit lane, the OCM racing ace was met with the unwelcome view of Spetz’s RLR Abruzzi Audi. The following laps proved costly for Salmon. A highly charged battle with Spetz compromised Salmon’s pace, therefore allowing the late pitting Koerbs to clear off into the distance for the win and the championship crown.
Despite scampering into an early lead, Smart couldn’t keep Perry at bay in the P2 AM battle in the early stages. Once Perry hit the front, Smart held position behind his championship rival, keeping his powder dry for later in the race. After thirty-five minutes, Perry was first to blink and headed for pit lane as Smart carried on. At the next opportunity, Smart took his pit stop and emerged immediately in front of Perry. Despite Perry’s best efforts, Smart delivered a flawless second stint to pinch the win and the title at the last race of a thrilling P2 AM season.
Post race driver quotes
After a dramatic finale under the Daytona floodlights, the champions shared their elation with the Apex Racing TV broadcast team:
Keiran Smart: “It was a tough race, it could have been easier! I made a mistake early on and it probably benefitted me as I was able to save fuel and pit a lap later.”
Jan Koerbs: “It feels really good! It was really hard to pick up the pace in the second part of the season. It really worked out for me, luckily!”
Congratulations to Jan Koerbs, Timo Heyden and Keiran Smart on their Wave Italy ARL iRacing Prototype class titles.