BBR Life4Racing’s Michele D’Alessandro took his first career win in Formula Sim Racing’s PRO series, narrowly beating out championship leader Jeroen Kweekel to the chequered flag despite a late charge from the Dutchman, ending his win streak to begin the season at five.
Round six began as usual with qualifying, three familiar faces close near the top of the timesheets including D’Alessandro, Kweekel and Trines NetRex’s Sander Kallas. However it was Kallas coming out on top only 0.019s ahead of D’Alessandro who joined the Estonian on the front row.
Kweekel made a mockery of his final sector, cutting the track and aborting the lap to avoid a future penalty ending Q2 in P10. Giacomo Ranzini had his best qualifying performance in FSR with 4th on the grid, splitted by Jacques Wengler who carried on his impressive form with 3rd on the grid.
The 60% distance, 43 lap event began with the leaders staying in position during the early stages. Kweekel on the medium tyres, had a blistering start up three positions into P7 while an incident between Giordano Valeriano, David Cook and Henry Hermsen resulted in a huge detriment to each drivers race.
Georg Winter and Valeriano had coincidental spins on the exit of Turn 4/inside of Turn 5 at the same time on Lap 3. Valeriano’s race however took another dramatic turn for the worst as he rejoined the track with damage and got into contact with Andrew Pienaar. All three drivers races ended as a result of the incidents and all three will be gunning for much stronger results in upcoming races.
Kweekel disposed of drivers one by one, slicing his way through the field on the medium rubber whereas Kallas still leading, could not build an early lead but a small hiccup for D’Alessandro at T3 allowed Wengler ahead into P2. Wengler’s race came to an abrupt halt on Lap 12, when he misjudged the pit-entry, hitting the wall and ending his race for Round 6.
The pit-lane claimed more victims with a bizarre incident in which Hermsen lost control at the pit-exit, blocking the road as Italian Christian Befumo was exiting the pits immediately after. Hermsen’s car was cleared and Befumo carried on unscathed, albeit losing several valuable seconds.
Leaders Kallas and D’Alessandro made their first and only pit stops for the day on Lap 17, switching from the soft to the slower medium compound rubber for the remainder of the event effectively remaining in P1 and P2 respectively. Kweekel unexpectedly pitted early on Lap 21, electing for a longer stint on the soft and faster tyre, feeding out of the pits in front of GhostSpeed teammate Christof Schgör who was having a quiet race in P4.
Shortly after the pit stop phase was over, D’Alessandro crept up to the back of leader Kallas who lost traction exiting Turn 1 and surrendered the lead to Michele. As a rapid charging Kweekel was closing in on the top two, the focus suddenly switched from whether or not the GhostSpeed driver could take the win, to whether he could even get passed Kallas in P2 despite being on the fresher soft compound rubber.
A backmarker impeding Kallas brought him into the clutches of championship leader Kweekel, springing up an immense and utterly brilliant battle for the next few laps. The Estonian NetRex driver giving the five time FSR PRO series race winner a very hard time getting passed with the promising Kweekel eventually doing so on lap 35.
In the meantime, this helped D’Alessandro gain time who never looked back from there on in, taking his first win of the season and first career FSR victory in the PRO series. Kweekel couldn’t quite catch D’Alessandro before the chequered flag and came home in second place with Kallas rounding out the podium positions.
Craig Baxter’s late pass on Christof Schgör in the latter stages of the event promoted him to P4, dropping Schgör to 5th. Dewald Nel came home in a strong P6, behind him David Cook recovered from a poor start to his best performance of the season in P7. Christian Befumo and Andrea Ventura claimed top 10 finishes in 8th and 9th respectively while a late mistake by Giacomo Ranzini promoted the infamous Mihajlo Vicentijevic into the top ten. The race claiming a substantial amount of victims with only 13 classified finishers.
Regardless of his first finish off the top step of the podium, Kweekel extends his lead in the drivers championship 98 points ahead of Sander Kallas in second. With his win, Michele D’Alessandro jumps Christof Schgör into P3 in the standings on 140 and 130 points respectively. GhostSpeed dominate the teams standings ahead of Trines NetRex by 170 points and BBR Life4Racing in third.