With the 3rd Round of 2016’s FSR ACE season to be rescheduled after technical issues on the particular race day the season break has basically vanished for ACE drivers. However 5 weeks of break are almost over and the ACE paddock is preparing itself for the 2nd season half to start on 20th of August at Spa-Francochamps.
With a lot of driver changes in midseason this year’s ACE season is weird one. With ACE being the stepping stone to WC it should be a class with a consecutive appearance of drivers. However, we have seen a lot of changes on the grid in terms of number of competitors and drivers. By now only 4 of the 29 listed drivers of ACE have competed in all 8 races taken place. Those are Christian Befumo (ITA), Giordano Valeriano (ITA), Ruud Heesterbeek (NED) and championship-leader Michi Hoyer (GER).
With the Australian Grand Prix we have seen a thrilling season opener with only half of the grid witnessing the chequered flag. The change from V8 to V6 powered cars made life hard for the drivers which resulted in quite a few DNF’s right in the first race. NetRex’s driver Alvaro Torres showed his championship ambitions by winning the season opener with more than 15 seconds gap. Behind him Avid Chronic Racing managed to bring their cars home in P2 (Hoyer), P3 (Gergis), P5 (Partington) and P7 (Valkeejärvi). With only Sander Kallas to be a lapped driver ACE made quite a competitive impression.
With Mike Partington winning the 2nd Round of the Season in Bahrain we had tension building in championships already as Alvaro Torres and Michi Hoyer came 2nd and 3rd. Climber Christof Schgör of GhostSpeed Racing satisfied his bosses decision by finishing in top 6 twice. Same goes for Giordano Valeriano.
The next race would have been Spain which was rescheduled so the next official race was Canada. Origin Front Row replaced their entire team (Baxter and Carpenter) by Daniel Brewer and Adam Maguire. The change took immediate action as they scored P3 and P4 after suffering 2 DNF’s twice in the first two races. At the front Avid Chronic Racing secured an impressive 1&2 with Michi Hoyer winning his first FSR Main Season race. 20 seconds behind Pashalis Gergis took 2nd place with right in front of Brewer. Alvaro Torres came 5th and kept the championship’s lead by 4 points. At this point Mike Partington was promoted to race in WC for Avid Chronic Racing.
Round 4 at Silverstone was meant to be the season highlight in FSR for some people. With the free practise to be fully covered by heavy rain drivers and teams had to quickly adapt to the tricky conditions. On that particular race the new qualifying mode of 20 minutes with a maximum of 12 laps applied. So qualifying was quite difficult. While the qualification started with heavy wet tire conditions soon the track started to dry out, forming a dry racing line. By then Michi Hoyer and Daniel Brewer were leading the pack by doing high 1:39s. With only 5 minutes to go and a fully dried up line Danny van der Niet with NetRex scared the entire grid by scoring a 1.39.5 on Intermediates – setting provisional Pole-Position. Luckily for Brewer and Hoyer, they still had the chance to react and put Intermediates too. Separated by 0,084 seconds Michi Hoyer took Pole-Position with a 1.37.573. Danny van der Niet remained 5th in the end.
The race itself was as chaotic as the qualifying. As mentioned already the ACE grid has had many faces this year. So this time only 16 drivers attended the semi wet race at Silverstone. Very tricky conditions forced the drivers to give their best to stay on track. Michi Hoyer failed to do so and slipped off track in Turn 6 a couple of laps after the start – giving away the lead. He dropped in 9th position and kept slipping off the track. At the front Daniel Brewer chased Pashalis Gergis who has made his way from P6 to P1 by that time. With around 18 of the 52 laps done the grid started to put on slick tires which resulted in an increase of mistakes and spins by everyone throughout the grid. In lap 26 disaster stroke for Daniel Brewer who tried to avoid Pashalis Gergis catching his car off a Spin on the approach to copse corner. Unfortunately, Brewer had less success in catching his spinning car and smashed into the inside wall. With a broken suspension and he was forced to retire. Eventually the spin of Gergis and the crash of Daniel Brewer brought Michi Hoyer back on course who managed to be back in 3rd place after a number of spins and slides on the wet surface. In lap 38 Pashalis Gergis lost his car on the wet in copse corner after powering in the dirty air of Michi Hoyer ahead. Before that both Avid Chronic Racing drivers gave the lead to each other for 4 or 5 times due to little mistakes in tricky conditions. Michi Hoyer won the race in the end with Norbert Leitner and Ruud Heesterbeek coming 2nd and 3rd. Further finishers were Valeriano, Valkeejärvi, van der Niet and de Angelis. Only 7 of 16 cars made it into the finish.
While setting a highlight in terms of spectacle the British grand prix was the beginning of a period with thin grids in ACE. While 23 cars were seen in the first 3 races only 16 made it on the grid for that race. Only the rescheduled race had less contenders by having 15 cars on the grid.
The next race has been Round 5 at Austria. With Avid Chronic Racing looking bright by starting 1st and 2nd the race had its own story for Adam Maguire starting 3rd and catching 2nd of Pashalis Gergis in the opening laps. While trying to catch Michi Hoyer as well, he suffered from bad luck by hitting Luka Oslakvoic who crossed the road on the exit of turn 1 after a spin. Again Hoyer was the lucky one escaping the scene without a scratch. Further back Gergis was put under pressure by Laino and Leitner for quite some laps. In the end Avid Chronic Racing took the 1&2 like in Canada before with Giuseppe Laino completing the podium. Leitner finished 4th 20 seconds ahead of Thomas Satherley who just made his 2nd point finish that season after coming 4th in Bahrain.
The German Grand Prix as 6th venue had a lot of action ready for the spectators. After having missed 3 races Alvaro Torres was back on the ACE grid. Despite losing ground in the championship he gave his best to fight back by qualifying in P3 for the race. The first couple of laps were quite eventful while Pashalis Gergis controlled the race starting from Pole position – like last year. Back in the field Hoyer ripped of his Frontwing on approach to turn 6 being surprised by the sudden stop on the corner apex of Adam Maguire who had to react on his teammate overtaking Victor Ivanov causing a little traffic jam. Afterwards Daniel Brewer and Alvaro Torres collided with each other causing them to join Michi Hoyer in the back of the midfield at P10. In the end Pashalis Gergis won the German Grand Prix after he suffered technical issues last year. In 2nd place Sander Kallas from NetRex Grand Prix scored his best season result. On the 3rd step of Podium was Giordano Valeriano for Twister Racing, his best season result. However, the post-race checks revealed some people to run wide and suffer time-penalties. Those were Kallas in P2, Valeriano in P3, Ruud Heesterbeek and Ernesto de Angelis. Even though Hoyer was P6, Brewer in 8th and Torres in 9th. They found themselves again in P3, P4 and P7 after the time penalties applied.
After that FSR had Turkey on its plan. After being penalised quite badly in Hockenheim Sander Kallas made an incredible comeback by sneaking Pole-Position in front of Daniel Brewer and 14 other drivers on a small 16 car grid. The race began with the top 3 going 3 wide into turn 1. With Daniel Brewer taking the lead of Kallas the top guys came to the pits in Lap 12 separated by only 2 seconds. Hoyer in P3 felt back behind Laino and made contact with him trying to get him passed as soon as possible. While Brewer and Kallas came into the pits lap 32 of 58 Hoyer stayed out for another 3 laps sticking to his strategy still carrying his 9 seconds package from the incident with Laino. While Brewer sticked to his 2 stopper, Kallas went aggressive on the softer compound for double options and 3 Stop to the end. Unfortunately he lost the car in the dirty air of Hoyer’s car at the exit of turn 10. Hoyer then started to build up the pressure on Brewer and his used prime tires and had a final chance at the final corner. Nevertheless, Brewer made it by 0,214s on P1 – the closest finish in this year’s season so far. Kallas had to let Adam Maguire go who secured P3. Victor Ivanov of Eventa Pescara SHS came 5th. With that race being ended the actual summerbreak kicked off…
... If there wouldn’t have been the rescheduled Spain race. By nothing but just 0,002s Michi Hoyer took Pole Position in front of Daniel Brewer and a once again strong Sander Kallas. After another break Alvaro Torres was back on the grid starting in P4. Turn 1 went nice for the top 3 guys but behind Torres was taken out when Laino outbraked himself making contact with two other cars. Hoyer at the front had Brewer right on his back. Both were quickly building a gap to Sander Kallas in P3. For the entire race they were within 2 seconds range. With an early undercut, like in Turkey, Brewer sneaked the lead of Michi Hoyer who fought himself back into DRS and desperately tried to Pass Brewer which he managed to do in Lap 58. By achieving this he ruined his tires so Daniel Brewer got his chance to get the lead back by outperforming a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre around the outside of turn 1 into turn 2. With the victory seeming to be secured for brewer his dreams where shattered in the penultimate lap as his engine died with just 7km to go. Hoyer back in the lead immediately started short shifting and cruised to the end. But drama wasn’t over yet as Victor Ivanov lost his car on the exit of turn 8 racing in P2 at this point. He encountered that much trouble that he only reached 4th position in the end.
Unlike WC and PRO division the championship is quite clear at the top as Michi Hoyer is leading with 174 points and a 92 point gap to Pashalis Gergis (82 pts) who finds himself 2 points ahead of Ruud Heesterbeek (80 pts). In P4 we have Alvaro Torres with 67 pts and Giordano Valeriano in P5 having 65 pts. The lately strong, Adam Magure, Daniel Brewer, and Sander Kallas find themselves in P7 (63pts) P8 (60pts) and P11 (41 pts).
The top 3 constructors are Avid Chronic Racing with 256 pts, followed by NetRex with 158 pts and Origin Front Row Racing with 123 pts.
To see the full board visit our League-System GPCOS with all official results:
Despite the massive lead of Hoyer and Avid Chronic Racing several questions remain unanswered as the 2nd half of the season is about to kick off on 20th of August. Will Avid Chronic Racing defend its lead with Pashalis Gergis moving to WC? What is Origin Front Row able to do with the double 0 disadvantage from the first 2 races? Who is able to stop Michi Hoyer on his way to his title who has scored 8 podiums out of 8 races?
We will soon know – here at Formula SimRacing ACE.