Jim Parisis avenged his disappointment from Melbourne 12 months ago by winning the opening round of the 2016 Formula SimRacing World Championship in Australia.
For the 2nd season in a row Madcape have won the opening round of the Formula SimRacing World Championship. This time it was with new recruit Jim Parisis, Jim departed Twister in the off-season and showed his new employers how justified their decision was to sign him for 2016, taking the lead on the 3rd lap of the race, losing the lead only during the pit stops, to take the 3rd win of his career, and get his and his teams season off to the best possible start.
A huge air of uncertainty was in the air for round 1 of the championship, as Formula SimRacing headed into its 1st race of the 2016 season. A new mod, drivers moving teams, nobody knew were each other was, for the neutral viewer it would certainly be a spectacle.
The venue for round 1 was the Albert Park Circuit, the 5.303km circuit with 16 turns has always been a favourite among the FSR drivers.
In qualifying, there was a lot of the usual suspects who made the top 10 shootout, with Jeroen Kweekel going fastest. He was joined in the shootout by his team mate Kuba Brzezinski, both Twisters of Kiss and Bigazzi, Jim Parisis and George Manousakis of Madcape, Nikodem Wisniewski, Michele D'Alessandro, Mike Partington and Muhammed Patel. Some of the big names to miss out were all 4 Ghostspeed cars, who at this point in the season don't look to have the pace yet.
In the shootout Kweekel grabbed the pole after his 1st timed lap, and no one could better it, Jim Parisis was alongside him on the front row, but was shy of the pole position by just two hundreths of a second. Daniel Kiss was 3rd and had Kuba Brzezinski for company on the 2nd row. Musto new boy Muhammed Patel was joined on the 3rd row by Twister newcomer Bigazzi, and rounding out the top 10 were Nikodem Wisniewski in 7th, George Manouskis 8th, Mike Partington in his final outing for Eventa Simracing in 9th and Michele D'Alessandro for Netrex 10th.
|1) Jeroen Kweekel||Origin Front Row Racing||1:26.128|
|2) Jim Parisis||VBMadcape Racing||1:26.154|
|3) Daniel Kiss||Twister Racing||1:26.191|
|4) Kuba Brzezinski||Origin Front Row Racing||1:26.203|
|5) Muhammed Patel||Musto Racing||1:26.255|
|6) Francesco Bigazzi||Twister Racing||1:26.278|
|7) Nikodem Wisniewski||Avid Chronic Racing||1:26.294|
|8) George Manousaklis||VBMadcape Racing||1:26.397|
|9) Mike Partington||Eventa Simracing||1:26.467|
|10) Michele D'Alessandro||Netrex Grand Prix||1:26.634|
At the start Parisis got a better start than Kweekel and led into the first turn, the biggest gainer in the 1st couple of corners was the Ghostspeed of Jernej Simoncic, who jumped from 14th on the grid up to 9th by the end of the 1st lap. Jim Parisis' lead would only hold for 3 corners though, as Jeroen fought back and went side by side with the Madcape for 3 corners, until Jim surrendered the lead back to Kweekel on the exit of turn 5.
However the race would take a sour turn on lap 3 for the Origin driver as Jeroen suffered domesitc technical issues, forcing his computer to temporarily freeze, and he went straight on at turn 3, handing the lead to Parisis. Kweekel would eventually get going again, albeit down in 16th place.
The race would stay steady until the 1st round of pit stops, Jim Parisis held the gap well to Daniel Kiss in pursuit, whilst Kuba Brzezinski was starting to form a queue behind him, with Bigazzi, Patel and Manousakis all in his wake.
The 1st pit window opened on lap 9, George Manousakis being the 1st to pit, the same lap things went horribly wrong for the 2 Avid Chronic Racing drivers, firstly John-Eric Saxen spun on the exit of turn 2, narrowly missing the wall, but losing a lot of time getting going again, and further round the circuit Wisniewski spun on the exit of turn 12, but he was not as lucky as his team mate, resulting in a nose change for the Polish driver.
After the 1st round of stops the order at the front stayed the same, one notable absentee was George Manousakis, who succumbed to technical problems at the end of lap 10. Mike Partington led for a few laps until he made his 1st stop at the end of lap 13, however 2 laps later Mike Partington was collected by Jernej Simoncic, who looked like he came from a long way back and eneded up tagging the Brit going into turn 3.
Daniel Kiss then made an unscheduled 2nd stop just 5 laps after his 1st stop for new tyres, he re-joined the race back in 10th place, and it seemed from there that the chance of a podium was gone. This gave Jim a healthy lead of over 10 seconds from Kuba Brzezinski, who still had a queue led by Bigazzi in pursuit.
Lap 23 saw the retirement of 2 drivers whose races went wrong earlier on, Daniel Kiss spun coming out of turn 13, and whilst recovering collected Jeroen Kweekel whilst narrowly missing Daniel Brewer in the process, both Kiss and Kweekel's days were over.
Michele D'Alessandro opted for a slightly different strategy to the leaders, and it seen him join up with Muhammed Patel and Francesco Bigazzi in following Kuba Brzezinski in the battle for 2nd, in the meantime Jim Parisis extended his lead to almost 20 seconds before making his 3rd pit stop, and coming out in front of the battle for 2nd, now a whole pit stop in front. Nikodem Wisniewski's day came to an end for good on lap 33, he crashed into the wall at the exit of the tricky turn 5, losing both front and rear wings.
At the 4th and final round of stops Bigazzi incurred a stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit lane, and slipped down to 10th place, ending his chance of a podium finish. This then created an epic battle which played out over 3 laps between Muhammed Patel and Kuba Brzezinski, who at one point were side by side for over half a lap, when Michele D'Alessandro rejoined after his final pit stop, the cars were 3 wide heading into turn 3, with Muhammed finally breaking Kuba's hold on track position after 42 laps. Michele D'Alessandro also passed Kuba a few laps later, but on the exit of the final corner on lap 54 he crashed his Netrex into the pit wall, and retired after what was a brillaint drive.
With 2 laps to go there was a battle for 7th place between Daniel Brewer and Blair Disley, heading into turn 3 the 2 of them collided, sending Brewer into instant retirement, Disley though managed to keep his GS Engineering car going, albeit slightly damaged, and he managed to drive around for 2 more laps, eventually crossing the line down in 10th place.
But out in front it was Jim Parisis' day, 12 months ago at the same race his day ended in disappointment when he lost connection whilst leading, this season though and with his new team, his day down under finally came, taking the chequred flag by over 22 seconds. It was also the 2nd consecutive year that Madcape have won the opening round of the World Championship in Melbourne. This year however they hope to be consistent all year round, and they certainly started the season off the right way.
Patel managed to hold off Brzezinski for 2nd place, the latter saving fuel with 2 laps remaining, but he was far enough ahead of Jernej Simoncic to manage it, who despite starting 14th finished 4th. Francesco Bigazzi recovered from his stop and go to finish 5th.
Mike Partington was 6th for Eventa, leading home sister team eventa driven by Eros Masciulli in P7. Valeriano, Sadler and Disley rounded out the top 10, and John-Eric Saxen was the last to finish in 11th 1 lap down.
Full Race Classification results are HERE
Full Championship Standings are HERE
Full Race Re-Run can be found
I hope you have enjoyed reading this race review of Round 1 of the 2016 Formula SimRacing Season. Join us for Round 2, when we head off to Bahrain on 2nd and 3rd April.