J. Lehikoinen takes the lead in opening round
OWRL hadn't seen such a quality field for a long time, as S2 Season 18 kicked off on a very classic and popular combo: FOX at Kyoto National. This proved to attract crowds, with 50 drivers showing up and separated in 2 pools, including many famous and experienced drivers.
3id J.Lehikoinen proved straight away why he was the favorite for his own succession. Reigning champion took pool A pole in the first qualifying of the season. His countryman ineX T.Iivonen follows closely behind in 2nd, while Italian ace PLZ-Nazelli takes 3rd for his OWRL debuts.
Standings: Driver | Team
Race 1 was on shortly afterwards. The long run up to turn 1 was said to be a crucial point in the race, considering the huge slipstreaming effect on these small single seaters. And it was eventful indeed, with 3rd place starter PLZ-Nazelli taking the lead very intelligently at the breaking point. Not for long. 3id J.Lehikoinen had the situation under control again after passing PLZ's new recruit at turn 3. One lap later, and it was ineX T.Iivonen's turn to take his place back. In the end Nazelli couldn't even cheer himself up with a podium: he was the last victim of v\Kristov. Starting 10th, the Hungarian youngster was already 7th at the end of lap 1, 4th after lap 2. He then sold Nazelli a dummy at lap 5, before securing 3rd behind the two unreachable Finns, 3id J.Lehikoinen and ineX T.Iivonen. Nazelli ended up in 4th in front of another Finn, spdo Maddee.
Top 8 reversed grid for main race meant that [SR] Isaac would start on pole, in front of ex-team-mate ineX S.Cattell. The latter took an early lead after pulling a great pass on the outside of T1, despite his persistent reputation of "not being able to overtake". Isaac's reply came shortly afterwards: a great pass - still on the outside - at T5, a fast and long left hander. Those two however, didn't stand a chance against the great 3id J.Lehikoinen, and neither did the rest of the field either. Starting from 8th, the reigning champion quickly made his way through the field, and took a definitive lead by lap 12, after [SR] Isaac lost several places due to an half-spin. The other man on a charge was v\Kristov. The Vires driver was on 2nd place for most of the event after some eventful first few laps, but ruined all chances of a good result after getting tangled by ineX S.Cattell, before being collected by the poor PLZ-Nazelli. This meant that Lehikoinen would be followed by 3 ineX members, T.Iivonen, S.Cattell and A.Terzic. [HC]TEAM SAAB follows in 5th after a quiet but strong run.
In pool B Cq|Gargi took sprint race, but didn't have the opportunity to make it 2 out of 2 after an incident with other race contender TEM/Y.Laprevotte in feature. This was a golden opportunity for former OWRL admin pod.hama Pio to win the race, after starting from 5th.
3id J.Lehikoinen very logically takes the championship lead after snatching all available points so far. ineX drivers T.Iivonen and S.Cattell follow in 2nd and 3rd.
Report by Y. Laprevotte