Another two races, another brace of different winners in Season 3 of the rFactor 2 GT Pro Series powered by Traxion.GG. With Dennis Jordan claiming one of these victories in the last round en route to the lead of this volatile championship, he now looked like one of the form drivers following a switch to Red Bull Racing Esports.
However, with rain on the Florida horizon come Monday evening, yet another new and rather literal element was set to enter the equation. Sebring International Racing played host to Round 5.
GT PRO, ROUND 5, Sebring, QUALIFYING
Peyo Peev, despite many successes across the sim racing scene in years gone by, was having a rather underwhelming season to this point. The rather murky conditions, along with the circuit layout, played perfectly into the hands of the Porsche 911 GT3 R however and gave us a fascinating shootout between himself and Yuri Kasdorp. The Bulgarian would come out on top by a convincing three tenths.
Jan von der Heyde has been one of the most consistent drivers this year and would line up on the second row behind an Arne Schoonviet marooned in mid-table. After a miserable time in Germany, Timotej Andonovski was back on form starting inside the top five ahead of Michi Hoyer who was surely a championship favourite now alongside von der Heyde.
Top of the points entering this round, Dennis Jordan didn’t have a disastrous Qualifying session but was a little muted having to begin his Sprint Race from ninth on the grid.
GT PRO, ROUND 5, Sebring, Sprint Race
Rubbing can be seen as racing but the first lap saw much more paintwork exchanged than many were comfortable with.
A stoic effort to take the lead by von der Heyde was put to bed early while Shoonvliet, looking to capitalise on his out-of-sorts compatriot, had the door shut firmly in his face. From eighth, Alex Siebel made a fantastic start, gaining two places in the first sector. Turkka Häkkinen meanwhile would find trouble, ejecting the Finn from the top fifteen.
Jordan had profited somewhat from the early uncertainty to gain one place. Andonovski hadn’t fared as well and the pace differential was clear to see with the North Macedonian Audi driver far more comfortable on the power in these tricky conditions. The ‘Boatley’ Continental held its ground smartly whilst up the road another Red Bull branded machine was taking the number of Hoyer; Siebel now finding himself in the top five.
Vojta Polesny was in a great spot considering his perilous position in the relegation picture but had a moment with minutes of the race to go, gifting a top ten place to Zbigniew Siara. With the sun finally emerging from behind the clouds Andonovski found opportunity as well, finally squirrelling his way past Jordan.
No one could find a way through the defences of Peyo Peev though with the Bulgarian leading home a Porsche 1-2; Kasdorp and von der Heyde rounding out the podium. Siara held 10th to confirm his reverse grid pole position.
- P. Peev – 8 LAPS
- Y. Kasdorp – +0.843
- J. von der Heyde – +2.879
- A. Schoonvliet – +3.293
- A. Siebel – +8.224
- M. Hoyer – +10.791
- T. Andonovski – +14.914
- D. Jordan – +15.993
- J. Simoncic – +16.363
- Z. Siara – +16.762
GT PRO, ROUND 5, Sebring, Main Race
The top ten flip gave Jordan a great platform to work from in the Main Race and von der Heyde knew this. As Siara led the field, the Dutchman flew up from eighth to fifth. Sadly for Polesny, after missing out on the top ten last race, his evening just got worse with a costly spin producing a worse result.
With only two races left in the season following this one, focus was firmly placed on the title and relegation pictures. Schoonvilet was doing his chances well with a well judged move on Siebel into Turn 5 whilst Peev had recovered from a difficult start to find himself back inside the top ten.
Once again, Jordan was playing bottle cork after allowing his stablemate Kasdorp through onto the podium. Form is fleeting in GT Pro Series unfortunately and the German frustratingly fell victim to a slight tap from von der Heyde spinning him down to 15th on the road.
With eight minutes to go, the hunt was afoot for Jernej Simoncic with all the pressure on Siara who had never scored a top ten finish in the series, let alone a podium. An enthralling battle was so fierce that Kasdorp in third was allowed to close down a three second gap to just one.
Against all the odds though, the spirit of Siara held out to confirm a tenth different race winner in this season’s GT Pro Series. Simoncic and Kasdorp picked up another podium for their collections, but the wait for a first win would go on.
- Z. Siara – 21 LAPS
- J. Simoncic – +0.767
- Y. Kasdorp – +2.132
- T. Andonovski – +3.318
- P. Peev – +5.360
- J. von der Heyde – +7.275
- A. Schoonvliet – +9.263
- A. Siebel – +17.247
- M. Hoyer – +17.909
- K. Stolze – +18.072
Realistically it could be any of the top eight that takes the crown of the GT Pro Series powered by Traxion.GG at the final round. Jan von der Heyde’s consistency has held out this long, but will it hold out in The Brickyard?
Be sure to pencil in the 17th of May to catch Indianapolis LIVE on the Traxion.GG YouTube and Facebook channels.
GT PRO SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 5
- J. von der Heyde – 755
- M. Hoyer – 746
- D. Jordan – 745
- A. Siebel – 735
- J. Simoncic – 734
- Y. Kasdorp – 731
- J. Brzezinski – 728
- T. Andonovski – 725
- F. Stanley – 716
- L. D’Amelio – 707