Hopkins leads SR 1-2 in the streets of Southcity
"It's done when it's done." This is probably one of the most famous sentences of Live for Speed developer Scawen. Same could have been said about SR driver Peter Hopkins and his long overdue first victory in the OWRL F1 League, but at the second round of the 2011 season it was finally his big day. But let us begin from the beginning:
Both managed it to get into the Q2 session, although it couldn't have been any closer for Peter's team mate and four times OWRL Div. A champion Dave Southword - he finished Q1 on 10th position, but a look on the timing sheets tells that he set the same laptime as the Finn Räsänen on 11th! Pete set a laptime 1:14.630 which was enough for 4th in Q1. When it counted in Q2 both decided to take a heavy fuel load on board meaning they wouldn't have a shot at pole position. Dave qualified on 5th with his slightly heavier fuelled team mate on 6th. After spdo Racing's Pikkarainen decided not to start race from pole position, they gained one more place on the grid, so that our SR drivers started from 4th and 5th.
The lights went out and the two Englishmen were able to hold their positions in the first corners. Like its usual for city tracks, nothing happened until the round of stops were opened by PLZ driver Naselli. But it was his team mate Bartalotta who was responsible for Dave losing a place to his team mate when the Italian decided to lift his throttle whilst Southword was right at his tail leading to the inevitable - a collision. After Pete pitted on lap 29 he found himself again in 3rd position and fellow countryman Dave in 5th. During the next stint, Dave managed to gain one position on Naselli and Pete steadily closed the gap to the leading pair of Wisniewski and Cattell.
He even climbed to 2nd when double champion Wisniewski made his 3rd and final stop where he decided to repair damage - soon afterwards he gave up the race after he fell behind Dave. The last laps were going to be a true thriller with Cattell struggling on cold tyres with the consistently closing Englishman Peter Hopkins behind. The strategical error by the ineX driver was visible when he suffered a left rear puncture with less than nine laps to go promoting our two SR drivers into the lead. But like in the real F1 race in Monaco about one week ago - disaster struck with a few laps remaining in the form of a server related time-out of various drivers. This meant that Naselli was provisional winner, but the OWRL administration decided to take the results prior to the disconnects which means that Peter scores his first victory in his 19th OWRL F1 race with Dave finishing on 2nd position - securing Sonicrealms Racing’s first ever (real) "double victory" in this series after the team were close to getting one at Aston Grand Touring rev in 2009 and after SR finished on 1st and 2nd positition two weeks ago at the season opener in Aston GP with Riegler ahead of Hopkins.
Peter Hopkins (peterules)
said: "Q1 - Picking a clear spot to set a lap was difficult, with so many cars on the track I managed a respectable 4th.
Q2 - Burning fuel was important, I was running heavy and knew that there were a lot of fast guys in the top 10. I set a time of 1:15.82 which put me in 6th but I was promoted a place after M. Pikkarainen decided he didn't want pole and left the session.
Race - This is where we got down to business. I started on the clean side of the track and had a good start. I maintained my 5th position and was behind my fellow E46 team mate Dave who was running a little lighter than me. I thought to myself, if I can just keep up with him, i'll have a good chance of finishing with some good points. The gap between me and Dave grew a bit bigger in the first 10 laps, but I managed to catch up again after my tyres had passed their heat peak and started to cool down nicely. The lights were still green and I needed to push! On Lap 18 I was on his tail but there was a problem... Traffic! Even though we were still on our first stint team PLZ, a lap down already decided to get in the way causing a colision which I managed to just about squeeze by. This was the time to push push push, with minimal damage, good tyres and a clear track infront of me I had nothing to lose! A. Wisniewski and S. Cattell were infront of me by a large amount. I managed to set my best time of 1:15.04. Then the front runners started to pit, I came out infront and used the extra fuel I had to my advantage. By the time the final pit stops were over, A. Wisniewski was out of the race and S. Cattell was the only person left infront of me. I was catching him every lap but the times was still slow. I had to deal with another heat peak with fresh tyres but Cattell was also struggling with badly worn tyres at the same time. On lap 69 Cattell's rear tyre went pop and I was in the lead! By the time he crawled back to the pit I checked the position list to see that it was a SR 1-2. But as usual, when i'm leading the final laps, my luck is never at it's best. I remember back in 2009 at AS6R, me and my old team mate S.Riegler was in the same position (1-2) when my tyre also blew out near the race end costing me my first win. This time it was a server malfunction on lap 72/77 which caused 5 drivers including my team mate to get disconnected. Thankfully, OWRL decided that the race should finish early which rewarded me my first ever win in OWRL F1. It was a very fun and interesting race but i'm still eager to do my first every victory lap! Hopefully this will be this season!
I'm looking forward to WE1R and hope I can keep up with the good results!"
Dave Southword (Storm_Cloud)
said: "Q1 - Hadn't looked at a qualifying set, and ended up really struggling to get a time. Kept hitting walls or running into traffic. Last gasp run got me into 10th with same time as 11th but I set mine first - phew!
Q2 - Can run 6 laps to burn fuel but opted for 5 after losing time in the accident and then being held up by Benoit. Backed it off a little for the final run and just concentrated on good apex speed. 15.68 was better than I had managed in my three practice runs. 5th became 4th unsurprisingly as one of the spdo guys was playing silly buggers and left the server.
Race - Good start. Got alongside Naselli but he looked happy to chop me up so ran round the outside and was 4th behind him but ahead of Pete. Wasn't quick enough really in the first stint; I brushed the wall so got a bit worried about damage which made me cautious so the rears didn't heat up properly. Knew Pete was going long so I knew he would wait and pick me off. Naselli's team mate done me up like a kipper when lapping him. Haven't watched the replay, but coming out of the complex onto the back straight I was right behind him then he slowed so I ran into him and Pete slipped past. Also got held up behind Adam as he came out from his stop. He looked a bit lairy so no point doing anything. Naselli had pitted early so looked like three stopping so wasn't worried about him. Adam, Pete and Simon Cattell were out front so looked like 4th - no problem. I left the tyre view on the whole time so I didn't pay much attention to the race which made me surprised to see me not far behind Adam. I guessed from his previous lairyness he was damaged. Maybe 3rd? Okay! He pitted and it was a long one so I passed him but then he specced. Odd. I also passed Simon when he had a late final stop, for a puncture it turned out. Team E46 first and second - great; really happy for Pete. Then the server issues occurred, but the race was pulled back to lap 72 so the result was assured.
Rather enjoyed that."