As the halfway point of the V10 R-League season approached, semi-final qualification from Group B looked all but assured for Team Redline, just one point off Mercedes-AMG.
That one-point advantage had been earned against Redline’s opponents for Week 3, Team Fordzilla, and a professional job was required to further cement their credentials.
Team Fordzilla vs Team Redline (0-4)
They were certainly under threat in the first Relay Race at Spa-Francorchamps as upon the beginning of the third lap, Shaun Arnold had exited the pits ahead of Kevin Siggy.
Disaster struck just as the two headed onto the Kemmel Straight in an incident somewhat similar to that between Jarno Opmeer and Liam Parnell last week. It meant that Redline was miles clear crossing the line and, very controversially, allowed to keep the point.
The day only went downhill from there for the American-based team. A punchy launch in their ‘home’ Team Race from Emre Cihan wouldn’t stop Redline from taking a 1-2-3 finish there and another fantastic launch for the Turkish pilot in the second Relay Race (at Silverstone) was undone by an unforced error into Copse.
The 4-0 Redline sweep was confirmed in the final race of the evening, Cihan showing great spirit to finish second but not able to best the winner, Siggy. With Mercedes-AMG not competing this week, Redline would top the table heading into Week 4.
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team vs Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports (4-0)
Fordzilla now looked to the next matchup with bated breath as they needed a result to go the way of Aston Martin. Red Bull had become solidly entrenched as the third-best team having not won a match but picking up two points against the top two.
Spa-Francorchamps would be Aston Martin’s battleground and after Parnell took the early lead, Manuel Biancolilla bit back through Blanchimont before heading onto the team’s joker lap. This stint would prove decisive with both Alejandro Sánchez & Simon Weigang maintaining the lead.
Pure desperation seemed to motivate Yuri Kasdorp to attempt a divebomb into the Bus Stop Chicane; an action that was correctly penalised by the stewards.
A first point seemed to completely energise the squad and their fortunes continued to roll. Biancolilla led the first Team Race well although he barely had any competition. Kasdorp got caught up behind Sánchez, heading into the Raidillon barriers, before Sánchez himself bizarrely clipped the inside wall of Turn 2 following contact between himself and Joni Törmälä. Tempers were flaring but Aston Martin had claimed a second point.
Red mist lingered around Mugello Circuit with yet another incident deciding the Relay Race in favour of Aston Martin; a racing incident between Törmälä and Sánchez the moment where Red Bull lost third place in Group B. Kasdorp capped off his vexing afternoon with a convincing shunt into the back of Sánchez; Weigang caught as collateral. This didn’t deter Biancolilla who was in contention for Driver of the Day, a masterfully controlled performance helping Aston Martin to a sensational sweep.
Suzuki Team Jean Alesi Esports Academy vs R8G Esports (1-3)
R8G Esports was back for the first time since the first match of Season 3. Hoping to keep them on zero points were Suzuki Team JAE who had beaten reigning (albeit changed) champions BMW SIM Racing in Week 2.
Marcell Csincsik started the first Relay Race well at Suzuki Team JAE’s chosen venue of Silverstone, although his work would be undone in the pitlane. Dario Iemmulo emerged ahead of Jiri Toman. Maichol Tonizza, stepping in for fellow Ferrari Esports Series competitor Leonardo D’Alcamo, brought the Suzuki car home first and comfortably so.
Unfortunately, the new man would commit the ultimate faux pas in the Team Race. Iemmulo was hit into a spin by his countryman and teammate aiding Csincsik in leaping from the back of the grid to third. An R8G 1-2-3 earned them their first point of the season and it wouldn’t be their last.
Toman, Csincsik and Erhan Jajovski worked beautifully together in their Relay Race at Mugello, righting the wrongs of Silverstone. Similar craft was on display in the final race of the matchup, Csincsik leading Toman to victory in spite of a collision between Iemmulo and Jajovski.
Williams Esports vs BMW SIM Racing (4-0)
The final clash of the day would come between the two teams now sitting outside of the top three of Group A. Both had lost their opening matches although Williams was one point better off than before thanks to a post-matchday adjudication of their result against Yas Heat Esports.
Monza Circuit would be the choice of Williams Esports and a great start from Michael Romanidis was exactly what the doctor ordered. More good news arrived on the third lap as Ibraheem Khan, chasing down Daniele Haddad, misstepped into the Ascari Chicane and cost his team a shot at the point. Arthur Kammerer, in for Gregor Schill this week, would finish over ten seconds behind Martin Štefanko.
You could not have blamed the BMW squad for frayed nerves given how so much was, perhaps unfairly, expected of them for this season. Another lapse of concentration came in the Team Race as a fast-starting Alen Terzic rammed into the back of pole-sitter Haddad at the Rettifilo chicane. Štefanko was primed to claim second place but was frustratingly taken out by Haddad, his Williams teammate still recovering from his off.
Khan and Haddad would move on from Monza with not particularly fond memories as the two clashed at the Della Roggia Chicane halfway through the contest. This left the Englishman in plum last meaning that Romanidis’ eventual win would be enough to take Williams 2-0 clear.
The final humiliation for BMW would come across their own chosen circuit of Silverstone where Williams looked totally untroubled in both races. Victory for Haddad in the Team Race locked in an unfavoured 4-0 sweep result.