Spetz enjoys a relaxing Spa day!
Wave Italy Apex Racing League iRacing Prototype Championship – Spa Francorchamps
Spectacular Spa-Francorchamps welcomed the Wave Italy ARL Prototype championship for the fifth round of the season. As the season moves past the halfway mark, the P1 battle is too close to call. Only two points separates Jan Koerbs from defending champion, Alex Salmon. Amongst the P2 ranks, battles rage on for honours in both PRO and AM classes amongst a cast of drivers.
Alexander Spetz set the pace in a twilight qualifying session, edging out Jan Koerbs by less than a tenth of a second for pole position. Timo Heyden and Julius Braun led their respective P2 PRO and AM classes into the sixty-minute race.
As the sun began to set over the Ardennes, Spetz launched towards La Source in the lead. Keen to keep tabs on Spetz, Alex Salmon nipped past Koerbs for second place. By one third distance, Spetz tightened his grip on the race with a seven second lead over Salmon. After the pit stops, Spetz continued to set a sizzling pace. Even defending champion, Salmon, had no answer for the super Swede.
Fifteen minutes from the finish, darkness descended over Spa. With Spetz checked out for the win, Salmon’s attention refocused on the challenge from Jan Koerbs for second place. Koerbs promptly swooped past Salmon, but the Briton wasn’t going to roll over easily. Three laps from the flag, Salmon deployed an exquisite counterattack at Les Combes, reclaiming second position. In a tight championship tussle, this episode may prove crucial for Salmon.
A perfectly executed getaway rewarded Timo Heyden with a handy lead of a swarm of P2 rivals. Heading into the pit stops as night fell, Heyden had constructed a four second buffer over Alexis Bebert second place. Heyden’s pace had been electric, but the German’s fuel-efficient style gave him the edge in the pits too. Emerging from pit lane, Heyden enjoyed a comfortable margin which couldn’t be usurped by his P2 PRO counterparts.
An opportunist Tim Perry poached the early P2 AM class lead from polesitter, Julius Braun. However, Braun shadowed Perry closely before returning the favour at the fifteen-minute mark. As Braun hit the front, Perry’s attention focused to the ascendant Kieran Smart immediately behind. Heading into Spa, Smart held a minor advantage of two points over Perry at the top of AM championship. Therefore, adding further spice and significant to their on-track battle.
Interestingly, Smart’s strategy of shadowing Perry had given the Scotsman an extra lap on his first stint. Although this did gain Smart a few tenths, it wasn’t enough to overcome Perry for second place. Meanwhile, Julius Braun continued to accumulate a sizeable lead out front while Perry and Smart bickered over second place.
Completing a superb drive, Braun climbed the overall P2 podium and a win in the P2 AM to boot. Defending P2 AM champion, Tim Perry, would have to settle for second after dispatching with Kieran Smart.
Post race driver quotes
Following the race, the class winners joined the ARTV commentary team to debrief:
Timo Heyden: “The race went perfectly for me. Finally, a first win! The competition is very close. I’m trying my best to keep up!”
Alexander Spetz: “This was a really good race. I did struggle a lot with the setup. I didn’t find the grip so it wasn’t very comfortable. I had a lot of understanding. In the end, I managed to hold the gap. I’m happy with the race.”
Julius Braun: “Two weeks ago, I wasn’t in the league. I hoped to get one win this season, but to have two already is incredible!”
Twin Ring Motegi hosts the next round of the Wave Italy ARL Prototype championship on the 28th of May. Tune in to live action on Apex Racing TV at 7pm GMT.