There aren’t many championships, no matter the discipline, whereby at the halfway stage of a season it feels as if no one will beat the points leader. In Formula Pro Series’ inaugural outing, Bono Huis appeared to be putting together something resembling an invincible campaign.
Although the Teams’ standings will determine the fate of drivers’ continued presence in rFactor 2’s latest sensation, there could be no denying that the Dutchman was the class of the field. Was four consecutive wins too much to ask for?
The wet weather witnessed in GT Pro’s Sebring-based round last week had decided to stick around as Formula Pro arrived in Indianapolis. This would be the first time we witnessed these cars in such conditions and qualifying was practically over with five minutes to go as the rain intensified.
Bono Huis, in his first-ever wet event on rFactor 2, did everything right to secure pole position for himself and Mercedes-AMG Petronas once again but Team Redline wasn’t far behind with Kevin Siggy. Burst Esports, after a strong showing in GT Pro, looked handy in the downpour again locking out the second row,
Erhan Jajovski was once again a top-five presence whilst Jeffrey Rietveld was oddly anonymous in sixth. Marko Pejic’s unsure form led to an underwhelming P12.
With the entire grid on wet compound tyres for the first time in a race, a great launch from Siggy was key in leading to the unthinkable – a Bono Huis mistake. Braking too late into Turn 1, the pole sitter was fortunate to only lose three positions as a trip across the grass gave free positions to Simončič and the fast-starting Jajovski also. The North Macedonian wasn’t done there as the Burst in second was overtaken through Turn 1 on the third lap.
Redemption Mode was engaged for the championship leader as five minutes came and went. First to fall was Jernej who dropped out of the podium places thanks to another pass through Turn 1. Second to fall was Jajovski who, in pursuit of Siggy for the race lead, dropped it on the outside of Turn 7 and plummeted to 10th position ultimately with a Toman pass rubbing salt into the wounds. The other Varga of Marcell Csincsik would find almost the same fate befalling him just a minute later. A true testament to the tricky conditions.
Team Fordzilla to this point was a team in trouble. Relegation threatened. Gianmarco Fiduci was aiming to turn fortunes with an amazing drive up until this point and hopes skyrocketed as the Italian passed Rietveld for fifth who then tangled with Kappet to give him plenty of breathing room. The Estonian would also be caught out by Turn 7 returning to the tarmac down in 14th. All this in the first 15 minutes.
Huis was breathing down Siggy’s neck and his pressure paid off as the Slovenian committed too deep on the defence into Turn 1. After throwing away his pole position advantage, Bono found himself back in business. The midfield madness continued behind meanwhile as all of Fiduci’s work came undone with two mistakes that ejected him from the top ten. He’d be one of the first to take the plunge down pit road in an effort to reclaim some of what he had lost. The two Varga pilots would follow this idea soon after.
With the sun breaking through the clouds, a most bizarre incident would occur between Siggy and Rocket Simsport substitute Ibrahim Khan, who was being lapped at that moment. Both cars met on the apex of Turn 2 and the resultant half-spin would see Simončič up into second as the possibility of the front runners not pitting – something allowed by the rules in wet conditions – increased.
And so it came to be! The majority of the field concluded that a no-stop strategy would be the fastest and, in doing so, completely stifled the benefits of receiving a fresh set of rubber. Bono Huis would sail his way home with ease to further his clean sweep chances for the season. Simončič and Siggy completed the podium.
“One of the most difficult races I’ve ever done, so to win feels very rewarding,” explained Huis post-race.
“Conditions were super tricky and I made a mistake at the start, missing the first corner and losing three positions. Afterwards, the pace was really good though and I could come back through the field, grabbing the lead again.”
“Then it was all about trying to keep the car on the track, I had a lot of near-crashes with backmarkers, but made it to the finish! [I’m] super happy with this win, but we did lose the lead in the Teams’ championship, so we need to be on it in the last two races.”
FORMULA PRO SERIES 2021, ROUND 4, Indianapolis Road Course, RACE RESULTS
- Bono Huis – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports – 46 LAPS
- Jernej Simoncic – Burst Esports +7.562
- Kevin Siggy – Team Redline+15.087
- Michi Hoyer – Burst Esports +28.215
- Muhammed Patel – BS+COMPETITION +38.305
- Jeffrey Rietveld – Team Redline +39.059
- Dennis Jordan – Red Bull Racing Esports +39.965
- Jiri Toman – Varga Sim Racing +40.713
- Marcell Csincsik – Varga Sim Racing +41.674
- Risto Kappet – R8G Esports +45.017
As Mercedes-AMG Petronas watches one driver strolling to the Drivers’ title, they also watch another struggling to find his feet in the pecking order. Marko Pejic truly had a nightmare at The Brickyard and thus allowed Team Redline the leniency to score only a third and sixth place between them and take the lead of the Teams’ championship.