There were some extraordinary scenes at Road America in the REMUS GT3 Championship but for the titanic team fight itself, the most outstanding piece of news coming into the penultimate round was that both Shmee150 and Malmedie lay on exactly the same amount of points.
The combined efforts of the blue team had begun to waver in the face of a Malmedie renaissance led by the likes of Max Pfeifer who picked up his first victory of the season. Now a true test of survival instinct lay before the grid as REMUS headed down under to Bathurst, Australia.
Jack Keithley has plenty of experience around this two-minute plus track, and put it all to good use ensuring there would be no repeat of Road America’s Malmedie front row. Despite this. Emre Cihan impressed once again to net himself a second front row start, albeit second position on this occasion.
He was cut off from any team backup as Christopher Högfeldt and Tim Jarschel completed the front four spots, displaying Shmee150 dominance. Jarschel would in fact lead a succession of seven Germans down to Alex Dornieden in P10. A hugely successful day for the nation’s sim racing stars.
The wily and experienced Keithley got a good enough start to muscle his way into 1st through Hell Corner. Marko Pejic also found himself going well at the start – up one place from fifth on the grid. All things considered, for a Mount Panorama sprint event, the first lap was remarkably clean with most being very well-behaved.
Jarschel was eager to regain fourth on the road but pushed things a little too far at Murrays as the third lap approached. Having lost position to one Malmedie already, his mistake allowed another in the form of Florian Hasse through. It wouldn’t be the case for long as Hasse, perhaps a little greedily, eyed up a move on Pejic. With the Shmee150 Mercedes poking its nose in once more, this time Jarschel found success.
Aside from a Forrest’s Elbow spin involving Julian Kunze and Petr Pliska, there wasn’t much overtaking to write home about for the remainder of the race. The final couple of tours brought interest back to the front as Högfeldt hounded Cihan but the Turk defended stoically.
Ultimately, nobody could lay a finger on Keithley who wound up with a healthy three-second margin between himself and the squabbling Corvettes behind.
Nico Bastian and Florian Habsburg found themselves at the front of the pack for Race 2, and while Malmedie’s German made a great getaway, Shmee150’s Austrian had a disastrous launch – losing seven positions in total by the mountain section’s arrival. Meanwhile, Bastian lost out through Griffin’s Bend, as both Pliska and Kunze (themselves midfield victims from Race 1) took stock at the spearhead.
The pole sitter’s fall would continue through The Chase, as a dicey moment with Axel Vermeylen saw the Belgian get ahead after a little contact. Just behind, a mini-Shmee150 implosion was witnessed as Michael Costa came into contact with Luciano Witvoet. The Frenchman would come off worst with a one-way ticket to the back of the pack.
The aggressive Dutchman made hay while the sun shone with an outrageous piece of driving to pass Bastian into The Dipper, demonstrating their pace differential, and indeed, the contrasting confidence levels of the pair. With his job of holding up the challenging Shmee150 machines over, the German opened the gates to the Malmedie trio behind; Marvin Dienst, Sinan Gunay and Marc Gassner.
It was therefore a shame that Dienst would spin off his own accord two corners later. Oops.
The ‘power shuffling’ of the green team was particularly fun to watch in this race, as the slower drivers looked to make life easier for those who could catch the front runners. Of the recognised big names, it was Gassner who broke through into the top five and made quick work of Witvoet with 12 minutes left.
After a slender win for Shmee150 in Race 1, things were looking a lot healthier in this second contest for Malmedie. In the closing laps, Witvoet found himself under increasing scrutiny, losing a position to Pinczes, before coming under immediate pressure from a charging Cihan.
Seemingly with the pressure gliding off him, Petr Pliska drove beautifully to his first win of the season; leaving Kunze for dust in 2nd. Vermeylen’s early work paid dividends with a podium, as further back Witvoet would lose one more position through the final corner when Cihan snatched sixth.
- Jack Keithley – Shmee150 – 20:12.792
- Emre Cihan – Malmedie – +3.061
- Christopher Högfeldt – Shmee150 – +3.146
- Marko Pejic – Malmedie – +6.197
- Tim Jarschel – Shmee150 – +7.665
- Florian Hasse – Malmedie – +8.275
- Leonard Krippner – Malmedie – +10.837
- Michael Rächl – Shmee150 – +11.481
- Bence Bánki – Shmee150 – +12.651
- Alex Dornieden – Shmee150 – +13.163
- Petr Pliska – Malmedie – 20:18.257
- Julian Kunze – Shmee150 – +3.573
- Axel Vermeylen – Shmee150 – +7.189
- Marc Gassner – Malmedie – +8.538
- Adam Pinczes – Malmedie – +16.141
- Emre Cihan – Malmedie – +16.673
- Luciano Witvoet – Shmee150- +17.341
- Bence Bánki – Shmee150 – +19.327
- Leonard Krippner – Malmedie – +19.443
- Jack Keithley – Shmee150 – +20.503