Kevin Siggy has taken his first-ever Formula Pro Series victory at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course for Team Redline.
As the 15-minute qualifying session ticked down, it became evident which teams had done their homework for the venue that only became part of the rFactor 2 platform earlier this year.
Team Redline – which in April announced a partnership with Max Verstappen – sat atop the charts, with Siggy ahead of Spa race winner and team-mate Jeffrey Rietveld. After early-season success, both were now free of success ballast, and it showed.
They were followed closely by Alex Siebel and Ibraheem Khan, the latter delivering BS+Competition its highest starting position so far this season.
Monza victor and championship leader heading into Daytona, Jernej Simončič, excelled, placing his Burt Esport entry fifth on the grid, despite carrying the maximum 10kg penalty.
The dry conditions still proved a challenge for many, with two-time F1 Esports Series Pro champion Jarno Opmeer lining up 11th after slamming into the unforgiving wall after the Le Mans Chicane.
As the one-hour race began, under a rolling start for the first time in Formula Pro Series, it was a Redline flying formation as Siggy gunned it from pole position before fellow squad member Reitveld slotted into second.
Khan jumped Siebel around the outside of Turn 1 for third, as did reigning champion Bono Huis on Simončič. Further down the field, Nuno Pinto speared across the grass after a squeeze from both Michael Romanidis and Gianmarco Fiduci.
Drama once again befell Opmeer further around the opening lap. Having leapt to eighth, Marcell Csincsik tried to overtake into Turn 6. The resulting contact pushed Opmeer off the track and into a third successive retirement, while Csincsik was handed a 30-second post-race penalty.
A disaster for the R8G Esports driver, who was just one point behind the championship lead heading into this race.
As the event progressed, the two Redline drivers at the head of the field switched on the afterburners and checked out. Behind, Siebel reclaimed third from Khan, using the push-to-pass system to great effect across the Frontstretch. Both Huis and Simončič would also follow through in short order.
Fiduci was the main focus in the opening stages. Starting in 18th, the DTM Esports Championship podium-finisher used a light fuel load and soft tyres to vault up into fourth. But, the Team Fordzilla driver was also the first to visit the pitlane, just 22 minutes in.
As the halfway mark approached, the sky turned gloomy and just five minutes later, the first spots of precipitation started to appear. For three laps, slick tyres were still the best option, but as the asphalt started to become damper, Rietveld and Huis were the first to stop for wet tyres.
One lap later, leader Siggy followed suit, as did podium contenders Siebel, Khan and Michi Hoyer. At this point, Simončič stayed out to lead on slicks, followed by Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports entrant Dennis Jordan who was seventh before the inclement conditions.
The one additional lap before switching to the blue-sidewall rubber was key for these two drivers as there were able to leapfrog Huis. The two Redline drivers in first and second had enough of a cushion, however, to switch tyres types arguably too early and stay in position.
Simončič wasn’t content with fourth position, however, and steaked past Siebel for third with effective push-to-pass usage down the Backstretch. Jordan would follow through in a similar fashion a lap later.
As the 60-minutes were completed, Team Redline had dominated having never been bettered throughout qualifying and the race. With Siggy crossing the line six seconds ahead of team-mate Rietveld, they also now lead the teams’ championship.
“Our set-up was made for the dry and not the wet,” explained the winner.
“We knew the rain was going to come to the second half of the race and we judged [our strategy] for that. We almost did it perfectly,” explained the winner.
“The pace in the wet was quite nice, even though my rear [tyres] were getting absolutely smoked. Overall I think we did a terrific job.”
Simončič’s podium finish despite maximum ballast means the lead at the top of the points standings extends to nine. The Formula Pro Series will visit yet another new venue next time, Donington Park in a month’s time.
FORMULA PRO SERIES, RACE 3, DAYTONA, RESULTS
- Kevin Siggy – Team Redline – 01:00:01.278
- Jeffrey Rietveld – Team Redline +6.14
- Jernej Simončič – Burst Esport +10.32
- Dennis Jordan – Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports +14.01
- Alex Siebel – Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports +18.11
- Michi Hoyer – Burst Esport +19.33
- Bono Huis – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team +22.08
- Dawid Mroczek – Bykolles Burst Esport +32.79
- Collin Spork – NetRex Grand Prix +34.70
- Ibraheem Khan – BS+Competition +40.96