finally! Practice, Qualy and Race in dry and somewhat warm conditions or atleast warmer than Hungary! I’m going to be brief with qualifying and get straight down to business. Qualifying was a tough one with not much time on the long circuit of Spa, so a lapse of concentration could result in your hotlap being left down to just one shot. Tim Weller put in a great performance which saw him start in 20th. Tim was chomping at the bit after his 3rd place in Silver at hungaroring. Eyes were all on Clements who has been notably quick all week, and disappoint he did not. 3rd in qualy with a slight mistake which potentially lost him pole, but can’t grumble with 3rd can you? Myself , Dean and Dan started outside the top 25.
Green, Green, Green!
So around the final corner we all go shuffling to stay in position and maintain that all important run up speed before we see the 3 greens. It’s all looking good as we enter Eau Rouge, but as expected out of no where a McLaren pirouettes causing mayhem, Red flag.
Attempt 2, through Eau Rouge is clean. Entering Les combes PSR driver Tim Weller gets connected with Hendriks Bentley and ends up facing the wrong way. This pretty much resulted in the end of Tim’s race as he sustained bad front aero and then whilst pitting forgot to change tyres.
A few laps in after the dust had settled everyone found a groove and began fighting for position. Dan Wood was having a tough time in the GTR and was sat just outside the top 20 looking for something extra from the Nissan. I’d moved my way up the field from around 26th and was now sat in 14th with Dean Allen in tow clawing our way up to the cars infront. Mean while John clements had moved up into 1st place and was beginning to pull a gap on 2nd and 3rd. All eyes were on John and as long as he played it cool it appeared he had the edge on Niels who was in 2nd
Nearing the mid way point of the race, we all started quizzing each other on the pitstop, trying to work out if there was any time to be gained in not taking tyres and if one set of tyre’s would last the whole race. John began panicking that the reason he had managed to gap the others was because they had some tactic up their sleeves and potentially wouldn’t take tyres. This proved not to be the case and John left the pits still in the lead. A few laps later myself and Dean were still less than a second apart and now entering the pits together. I was over cautious with the pit limiter after the incident at Hungaroring so Dean was sat on my bumper going into our pit boxes, but I managed to get the drop on him exiting the pit lane. Meanwhile down the road John was beginning to question his calculations and his race was suddenly filled with suspense.
fuel calculations are always one of those things that I always plan to do mid week, but always end up doing them in pre race practice. Or in John’s case not at all and base them on last month’s 20 minute race which had 10 degrees hotter conditions. With an hour and ten into the race with around a ten second lead it appeared John would either run out of fuel on his final lap or, as he crossed the line. What was going on in the team PSR pits (discord chat) was something you’d see in the red bull soap box race pitlane. We had Tim Weller with a glass of red wine in hand with his home made 4040 profile Casio calculator holder, tapping away firing out numbers whilst the kid from Tamworth, Connor McCullough put his 12 toes and fingers to good use. Eventually John was delivered with a race strategy. It consisted of 6 laps of fuel map 8, 3 laps of lift and coast and 1 lap of put your ****** foot down. Fortunately the calculations worked and John drove over the the line in 1st position with 0.3 litres of fuel remaining! Cody Prydes pit crew got his calculations wrong and he pulled over at blanchimont awaiting a tow truck, this bumped us all up a position on the final lap and I came home in the big old Bentley in 10th with Dean in 11th. 11th gave Dean 2nd in silver which was a great result considering it’s taken some time for him to gel with the BMW. Dan Wood came home in 22nd.
Big congratulations to John Clements and a great result for PSR. it’s only been a matter of time until we all knew John would finally piece everything together and take the top spot. And we’re sure this will be the start of many. Here’s a quick summary of the race from John himself
In qualifying I always try and set my first lap as a banker lap, 90% pace. The car was driving great so even tho taking it relatively easy i managed a 2:17.2 which put me on pole initially but soon dropped to 3rd, with the top 3 seperated by 1 tenth. With the conditions I struggled to put in a lap that I was capable of, but nonetheless it was a good place to start.
After the red flag and restart of the race, I decided to take it cautiously as I noticed 4th place had a poor connection and appeared very gittery. I juggled positions entering eau rouge but a good run onto kemmel saw me sat on the bumpers of 2nd and 1st place. On lap 1 i managed to get a good run out of no name, where joe mcauley ran wide giving me 2nd place. I spent the rest of the lap glued to the bumper of Niel’s in 1st. Applying pressure but not too aggressive in these early stages. Again another good run out of eau rouge and i was able to pass Niels on the kemmel straight taking the lead. Trying to resist the temptation to watch my mirrors i set about trying to get some breathing space with P2 who was now battling with Cody. After a few laps id built up a 12 second lead and settled into a consistent pace, slowly extending the lead. A mis calculation in my strategy meant toward the end of the race I was questioning whether I had enough fuel to finish! With some help from my fellow team mates, I managed to save enough fuel to cross the line with 0.3l! Only 3 secs ahead of Niels who had slowly caught me whilst I was making desperate attempts to save fuel!
I’m delighted to take my first win in a competitive league in sim racing! I hope moving forward i can continue to find pace and battle with the best of them!John Clements
Next week’s race will be held at the Nurburgring for 2 hours of racing. Be sure to tune into one of our streams to catch the antics as they unfold.