It all comes down to the final 2021 Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship event next week. After another wild one at the Suzuka International Racing Course, Maarten van Loozenoord closed in on Peter Berryman for the championship once again after winning his sixth race of the season.
Berryman finished in third, and maintains the points lead. The six-time winner van Loozenoord will have to score two more points than the two-time winner Berryman to win the 2021 championship.
UPHILL CLIMB FOR APEX
After last week’s shenanigans, van Loozenoord faced an uphill climb back to the top. The sentiment was flipped on the grid, however. With van Loozenoord up on the outside pole and Berryman relegated back in ninth, the race would start under the pretense that Berryman would need to do the catching up.
On top of that, the Apex Racing Team alliance was all over the grid, with Michele Costantini on the pole, Ben Fuller in fourth, Berryman ninth and Harth serving a grid penalty back in 19th. On the start, Costantini did everything he could to keep the lead, but both van Loozenoord and Matteo Ugolotti were able to get by.
The climb wasn’t too difficult, however, as before halfway, three of the four Apex drivers found themselves in the Top 5. They had to fight their way through the R8G Esports group of drivers, however.
The weekly story is how much the two conglomerates seem to go at each other’s throats on the race track. This week, the battle between Apex and R8G came to blows involving Fuller and Valentin Mandernach.
In post-race interviews, the championship leader Berryman was not enamored with the racing that he and his team faced to get to the front. “After Red Bull Ring, the R8G guys had a good whinge and cried about what went down there,” Berryman said. “They then show up today and do the exact same thing that we did, if not worse. I guess it just shows their character. We haven’t said a word about anything that’s been done all season.”
While it seems that teammates could play a role in the final fight next week, the big picture is that both have a possible champion ready to go for it at the Hungaroring.
ONLY TWO REMAIN IN THE TITLE FIGHT
Yohann Harth came into Suzuka with a chance to keep his title hopes alive. With two laps to go, Harth found himself ahead of his teammate Berryman, his only chance to stay alive. Since van Loozenoord had the win wrapped up, Harth allowed Berryman by coming to the white flag, providing a much needed podium finish to keep the lead in the standings.
With Ugolotti splitting the difference between the two in the final results, the gap is a mere two points. With 25 points guaranteed to the winner and only 21 for a runner-up, a win will be all it takes for either driver to win the championship. Even though Berryman holds the point advantage, van Loozenoord has been able to find victory lane three times as much.
It all comes down to the Hungaroring.
TOP 10 RESULTS AT SUZUKA
- 69 Maarten van Loozenoord – Predator Simracing | 40 LAPS
- 98 Matteo Ugolotti – TQ Engineering +0:02.372 sec
- 50 Peter Berryman – Apex Racing Team +0:06.211 sec
- 90 Yohann Harth – Apex Racing Team +0:07.120 sec
- 66 Michele Costantini* – SDK Gaming +0:07.252 sec
- 11 Przemysław Lemanek – Predator Simracing +0:10.830 sec
- 46 Valentin Mandernach – R8G Esports +0:11.037 sec
- 8 David Toth – wannaBEE SRT +0:11.270 sec
- 7 Gio Cortese – S2V Esports +0:33.714 sec
- 86 James Pinsker – Privateer +0:33.899 sec
* – Fastest Lap
TOP 10 STANDINGS AFTER SUZUKA
- Peter Berryman – 172 points
- Maarten van Loozenoord – 170 points
- Yohann Harth – 145 points
- Michele Costantini – 103 points
- Ben Fuller – 103 points
- David Toth – 79 points
- Matteo Ugolotti – 78 points
- Tamas Simon – 69 points
- Valentin Mandernach – 57 points
- Florian Lebigre – 54 points
The finale race in the series is the Hungaroring, a change from the originally scheduled Road Atlanta. The coverage next week starts at the same time, 2:00 pm ET or 7:00 pm GMT. Races will be broadcasted on the iRacing social channels. The full schedule can be found below.
|16th September||Watkins Glen International | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|23rd September||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps | Winner: Michele Costantini|
|30th September||Autódromo José Carlos Pace | Winner: Peter Berryman|
|7th October||Autodromo Nazionale Monza | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|14th October||Silverstone Circuit | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|21st October||Hockenheimring Baden-Württemburg | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|28th October||Road America | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|4th November||Red Bull Ring | Winner: Peter Berryman|
|11th November||Suzuka International Racing Course | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|