The second season of rFactor 2’s Formula Challenge Series got off to a stuttering start two weeks ago as a technical fault forced the championship into exhibition mode. Since that event, which was won by PMK-SimRacing’s Turkka Hakkinen, the round was re-run away from the public eye earlier last week.
Jean Alesi Esports Academy came out with a victory at Spa through the hands of Jordy Zwiers whilst Sander Kallas bettered his exhibition finishing position of third by placing second.
Risto Kappet was the final name to grace the podium, surely one of the favourites to spearhead R8G Esports’ return to the top flight. Those names and more geared up for the second round of the series, a battle at Monza only six days later as opposed to the normal two-week stretch.
A reminder on how Formula Challenge works if you missed our previous coverage. As an open qualification series, multiple splits are formed from pre-qualifying with the top selection of drivers earning the most points.
The top three drivers by the end of the final round will then head into a ‘race off’ with the bottom teams from Formula Pro Series. Monza would be the upcoming location where this story would develop further.
It would be the other Jean Alesi driver sitting on the pole position at Monza for the race as Mattia Crupi fended off R8G’s Martin Hemmingsen by a tenth and a half. Crupi had previous quality in Qualifying with a second place started earned for the exhibition event.
Darius Andrei would put Volante Racing on the map with third on the grid secured ahead of Kallas who looked to cement his early form with a second podium come the chequered flag.
Zwiers was the biggest disappointment of the session coming away with a lowly twelfth although Kappet was not pulling up any trees himself in seventh.
You can always count on some sort of trouble at Variante del Rettifilo and no exceptions were made here as Crupi’s lead lasted all of fifteen seconds. Kallas made the best getaway from fourth but was incredibly eager to put his nose into an ever-closing gap. As Hemmingsen closed the door, the Estonian pushed the Dane into Crupi who was left correcting his trajectory.
Skipping across the chicane in avoiding action, this left Andrei in first ahead of under-scrutiny Kallas and the Nitor Velox of Christian Michel. Crupi was worse for wear but still in fifth; a slight better fate than Hemmingsen who was now in seventh.
He’d fall back to eighth thanks to Eros Masciulli who was wasting no time with push-to-pass. As the Italian also breezed past Kappet, Crupi made back three places in ninety seconds on Hakkinen, Michel and then Kallas.
Zwier’s day went from bad to worse in the first five minutes down as the della Roggia chicane. A misread of stopping distance saw him crash into the back of a totally innocent Alejandro López Arjona; both cars requiring attention.
Masciulli carries the banner of Musto GD, relegated from Formula Pro last season. The man was on a mission in the early stages of the race with yet another two overtakes completed and a podium position in his grasp.
Just shy of fifteen minutes in, an extraordinary error came through the hands of the race leader. Misjudging the apex of the Ascari chicane, Andrei flew across the inside of the exit turn and into the barriers. With his afternoon ended, this promoted Crupi back into first place. Hemmingsen needed to work a little more for his next move up the order; Michel put up a good fight but was ultimately bested.
Masciulli became the first front-runner to pull the trigger on a pit stop near enough the halfway point of the race. Nobody else was biting, however, and as the race continued on there was much more interest in the R8G strategy with a potential no-stop mooted. Kappet was certainly racing within his own abilities but still able to make the pass on Michel after a fantastic scrap.
Just thirteen minutes were left and Crupi was in for his expected stop. Exiting in sixth, it was a damning sign for Masciulli who was still languishing back in twelfth. This left Kallas in first but not safe by any means. Hemmingsen’s pace was continually better than that of the Estonian and soon enough the Dane was within striking distance.
After biding his time impressively, the move came into the della Roggia chicane. Kallas was helpless to defend and overexerted his car into a half spin so desperate was he to keep Hemmingsen behind. The contest was still not over thanks to the searing pace of Crupi. So fast was Mattia that even the win was not out of reach.
Sadly, after passing Kappet and cruising up to Kallas, his determination would be his own downfall. The Estonian was stubborn in defence yet again and Crupi, with only victory in his sights, pushed the issue too far in going for an audacious overtaking around the outside of Turn 8. Spinning through the Ascari chicane’s lawn, he would finish fifth instead of on podium.
A proper classic. Hemmingsen took the spoils after being wronged at Turn 1. Kallas would require review for that incident despite taking second on the road whilst Kappet ensured that R8G would head home very happy. Next up for the series in two weeks is a date with the Daytona Road Course.
FORMULA CHALLENGE SERIES, RACE 2, MONZA, RESULTS
- Martin Hemmingsen – R8G Esports
- Sander Kallas* – SimRacing Club
- Risto Kappet – R8G Esports
- Turkka Hakkinen – PMK-SimRacing
- Mattia Crupi – Jean Alesi Esports Academy
- Christian Michel – Cetrez Nitor Velox
- Jimi Nisula – Satellite Racing
- Luca D’Amelio – Satellite Racing
- Rory MadDuff – Cetrez Nitor Velox
- Eros Masciulli – Musto GD E-Sports
* Driver under review
2022 FORMULA CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
|3||13-June||Daytona International Speedway Road|
|6||26-July||WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca|