It was another thriller in the Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship series on Thursday with Maarten van Loozenoord collecting his second win of the season in dramatic fashion.
On the final lap at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, van Loozenoord faked his way low on Peter Berryman, leaving the high lane accessible for passing entering the Rettifilo chicane. Out of Ascari, van Loozenoord weaved back and forth down the straight to break the draft. Berryman and his Apex Racing Team teammate Yohann Harth were unable to work back around before Curva Alboreto.
After four races, van Loozenoord is the only multi-time winner on the season, also with the Watkins Glen victory. The result moves him back up the standings into third behind Berryman and Harth.
THE TEMPLE OF SPEED, BUT WITH A CATCH
After last week’s battle of track position at Interlagos, Monza returned the series to what was seen in the first two rounds of the season at the Glen and Spa. Pack racing and insane draft were back on the menu again, but for a good portion of the race, the top battlers stayed patient.
26 drivers were ready to go to battle, knowing that even if they had a car capable of the fastest speeds that other strategies would come into play, as it has been with the Dallara IR-01 car all season long.
Berryman took the pole position and led the field into Rettifilo. The field kept it clean for the most part. Behind Berryman, the usual suspects of Michele Costantini, van Loozenoord and Harth were able to figure it out.
Fellow Apex driver Ben Fuller also managed to keep a part of the main pack through the race. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, it would be a crapshoot.
PLENTY OF CARNAGE IN THE MIDPACK
As the field entered the first Lesmo for the first time, some drivers got tripped up and slowed suddenly. Others not aware piled in, and the big one on lap one was on. A number of drivers, including Kane Halliburton and Brian Lockwood wound up with the worst of it.
Attrition has been a theme all season long, but the focus on that moved to the front of the field where the main pack was at ten cars to start. Eventually, that number was cut in half over time. Valentin Mandernach made a late move and paid the price for it off of the nose of Fuller.
Marcus Jensen got into things with Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek, taking them both out of the equation. Sam Kuitert opted for a differing tire strategy and wound up losing the main pack.
By the time pits cycled for the final time, there were four Apex drivers and one van Loozenoord remaining. Pit strategy and tire management would seemingly come into play.
VAN LOOZENOORD VS APEX RACING TEAM
Four versus one, one would thing that the lone R8G Esports driver van Loozenoord would be at a disadvantage. Knowing very well what he was up against, van Loozenoord opted to pit as late as he possibly could.
It paid off, as he cycled back ahead of the other four. Unfortunately, a few laps later, Berryman was able to get back by as the two official Apex drivers sandwiched van Loozenoord. Harth attempted to get by and move into second, but was unsuccessful. It all came down to the final lap.
Out of the newly-named Curva Alboreto, van Loozenoord was able to manufacture a potent run at Berryman. Berryman opted to defend to the right, and at that exact moment, van Loozenoord swung out wide to the left. He kept the momentum and completed the pass before the Rettifilo chicane.
For the rest of the lap, van Loozenoord had the tires and the right defense, deploying the serpentine when necessary to keep his opponents at bay. They kept it clean, and the No. 69 went on to take another victory.
TOP 10 RESULTS AT MONZA
- 69 Maarten van Loozenoord – Predator Simracing – 43 LAPS
- 50 Peter Berryman – Apex Racing Team +0:00.292 sec
- 90 Yohann Harth – Apex Racing Team +0:00.510 sec
- 66 Michele Costantini – SDK Gaming +0:00.700 sec
- 55 Ben Fuller – SDK Gaming +0:00.879 sec
- 28 Sam Kuitert – RK Institute +0:06.878 sec
- 9 Tamas Simon – Privateer +0:09.115 sec
- 8 David Toth – wannaBEE SRT +0:29.707 sec
- 6 Jarl Teien – MB Racing Esport +0:29.766 sec
- 86 James Pinsker – Privateer +0:30.479 sec
POINTS STANDINGS LEAVING MONZA
Entering Monza, the Apex teammates of Berryman and Harth were tied for the top spot. As Berryman was able to keep Harth behind him on the final lap, that meant three extra points to the Interlagos winner. van Loozenoord was able to rebound from a disaster round at Interlagos and move back into the third position around Costantini.
TOP 10 STANDINGS AFTER MONZA
- Peter Berryman – 78 points
- Yohann Harth – 75 points
- Maarten van Loozenoord – 65 points
- Michele Costantini – 62 points
- Ben Fuller – 46 points
- Tamas Simon – 31 points
- Valentin Mandernach – 30 points
- Sam Kuitert – 30 points
- David Toth – 28 points
- Jarl Teien – 22 points
Next up for the series is the Silverstone Circuit, next week at the same time, 3:00 pm ET. Races will be broadcasted on the iRacing social channels. the full schedule can be found below.
|Watkins Glen International | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord
|Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps | Winner: Michele Costantini
|Autódromo José Carlos Pace | Winner: Peter Berryman
|Autodromo Nazionale Monza | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord
|Red Bull Ring
|Suzuka International Racing Course