With iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione already in the rear-view mirror, the process of elimination dictated that rFactor 2 would be the final destination before the VCO Esports Racing League Fall Cup Masters.
Team Redline, traditionally, had enjoyed much success on this platform and those good vibes were much sought after at this stage of the competition.
Against the formbook, Redline was not so much struggling for placement points but rather round victories. Twice it had made the finals in the Fall Cup and twice it had been beaten; first by Apex Racing Team and second by Yas HEAT.
Heading into the semi-finals stage of the third round, it appeared that it could yet secure a third consecutive finals berth.
Joined by the likes of Burst, Williams, R8G and perennial rivals Unicorns of Love it was M1RA Esports who drew the most intrigue at this stage; Norbet Michelisz’s team was traditionally seen as a RaceRoom Racing Experience expert.
You would struggle to find a more American setting for the action this time around many 2018 Stock Cars roared around the Daytona International Raceway Sports Car Course.
Redline qualified strong as expected given its exemplary form to this point of the evening. However, pole position escaped its collective grasp as Marcell Csincsik slotted his R8G machine into the top spot.
A classic rolling start evoked memories of so many classic races held at this venue in both real-world and virtual scenarios.
The early corners brought about events that Gergo Baldi would want to forget sooner rather than later; the lead M1RA pilot spun on the exit of Turn 1.
Csincsik’s lead would last all of one lap when Jeffrey Rietveld swept around both his teammate and the original pacesetter across the start-finish line.
Bonito was next through on Csincsik one lap later, yet the Hungarian was a persistent threat still. All signs pointed towards a Redline vs R8G final as the racing cooled off.
Late drama developed on the final lap, however, as Csincsik picked up a time penalty for cutting the track. Immediately after this bombshell, news arrived of a big punishment for Williams’ Dáire McCormack after he instigated a collision.
So the spotlight fell on sixth-placed Jernej Simončič, but he was cracking under the pressure of McCormack’s teammates. Jakub Brzezinski and Michael Romanidis hassled and bump-drafted their way past the Burst machine before receiving a gift of a position from Erhan Jajovski who spun on the exit of the Bus Stop. R8G Esports had imploded, Williams Esports picked up the pieces.
Finals – Race 1
Team Redline ended the semi-finals with a 1-2-3 finish and those numbers ominously carried over to the starting grid of the first finals race.
Kevin Siggy claimed pole position with both his teammates within a tenth of himself. McCormack would be the spearhead of Williams’ efforts, but he lay over a tenth behind Siggy – further highlighting the strength in depth facing him and his team.
First impressions were excellent from the underdogs. Siggy was allowed to check out, but both Brzezinski and Romanidis slipped between the front lines to block out second and third place. The second lap brought further switches with McCormack and Bonito sliding into those positions whilst Romanidis fell to the back of the field. If Williams was serious about winning they had to play the tactical game perfectly.
Sadly, its best chance went up in smoke when Romanidis was too eager to pass Brzezinski for fourth through the midfield section. The grass was caught, the spin was inevitable. Yet with two minutes remaining, Siggy was still catchable for the remaining two drivers.
Catch him they did but all hope was lost thanks to McCormack turning the Austro-Slovenian round through the Horseshoe. Bonito first and Rietveld third; Redline moved onto match point.
Finals – Race 2
Siggy and Romanidis consigned to the back row, Brzezinski and Rietveld would fight it out upfront. The Dutchman attempted to swing around the outside of Turn 1 but was stopped stoutly by the Polish pole sitter.
All was looking good for Williams Esports as it approached the Bus Stop but McCormack, once again, found himself at the centre of trouble.
To try and overtake through the quick chicane is brave and the Irishman felt the need to push the issue early on. What he did not anticipate was Rietveld refusing to concede. Redline’s Dutchman took his line and McCormack had nowhere to go but the grass.
There’s no time to look backwards in a stock car race and the Redline trio knew this. Immediately locking together, Rietveld was escorted up to first place.
Brzezinski had to pull out all the stops to keep his opponents at bay. Unfortunately, he misjudged the next entry into Turn 1 taking Siggy along for the ride. This all but confirmed Redline’s second point with only Romanidis chasing and a penalty point dished out to Brzezinski.
It had taken two whole rounds, but Team Redline was finally back on top.