The Dutchman secured only his 2nd ever FSR World Championship victory in Bahrain, and the World Championship has now seen 2 different winners in as many races.
3 weeks had passed since the race in Australia, and the battle lines were drawn when Jim Parisis won for VBMadcape, however in post-race checks he was found to have cut the track on his fastest timed lap, and therefore was not allowed to participate in qualifying here, resulting in him starting from the rear of the field.
The venue for round 2 was the Bahrain International Circuit, the 5.412km circuit making its 9th appearance for an FSR World Championship Grand Prix.
Muhammed Patel was quickest in Q1 for Musto Racing, Jeroen Kweekel wasn't too far behind 2nd fastest, they were joined in Q2 by both Netrex cars of Michelle D'Alessandro and David Greco, the Twisters of Daniel Kiss and Francesco Bigazzi, Kuba Brzezinski, James Sadler, Eros Masciulli and Giordano Valeriano. Once again Jernej Simoncic struggled to have the pace over one lap in qualifying, and could only manage 12th fastest, George Manousakis was the 1st of the VBMadcapes in 13th, due to Jim's back of grid penalty. Mike Partington would be last of all, as he too had a back of grid penalty for this event.
In the Q2 shootout it was Daniel Kiss who grabbed his 1st ever FSR World Championship Pole Position, he was on the Pole by 7 hundredths of a second from Muhammed Patel, Michele D'Alessandro was not much further behind, the top 3 in the end separated by just 0.075. The 2 Origin Front Row cars were 4th and 5th, Jeroen Kweekel out-qualifying his team mate for the second consecutive race. Eros Masciulli did a fine job to line up next to Kuba on the 3rd row, they were followed by an all Italian 4th row, David Greco and Francesco Bigazzi, rounding out the top 10 was the Ghostspeed of James Sadler and the Musto of Giordano Valeriano.
|1) Daniel Kiss||Twister Racing||1:30.771|
|2) Muhammed Patel||Musto Racing||1:30.840|
|3) Michele D'Alessandro||Netrex Grand Prix||1:30.846|
|4) Jeroen Kweekel||Origin Front Row Racing||1:31.011|
|5) Kuba Brzezinski||Origin Front Row Racing||1:31.123|
|6) Eros Masciulli||Eventa Pescara-SHS||1:31.128|
|7) David Greco||Netrex Grand Prix||1:31.239|
|8) Francesco Bigazzi||Twister Racing||1:31.330|
|9) James Sadler||Ghostspeed Racing||1:31.542|
|10) Giordano Valeriano||Musto Racing||1:31.840|
At the start of the race the top 3 stayed the same with Kiss leading from Patel and D'Alessandro, the big loser on the 1st lap was Jeroen Kweekel who dropped to 7th, Jim Parisis gained 8 places on lap 1 and his charge through the field would be one to watch throughout the race. Eros Masciulli succumbed on lap 1 with suspension damage.
The battle for the lead intensified on lap 9 when Muhammed Patel passed Daniel Kiss going into turn 1, and David Greco passed Kuba Brzezinski for 5th place at the same corner just a couple of seconds later. At the end of the same lap the pit stops began, both Ghostspeed cars being the 1st to pit, 1 lap later Daniel Kiss and Michele d'Alessandro decided to follow suit, with Patel, Bigazzi, Greco, Brzezinski and Kweekel all making their 1st stops over the following 2 laps.
After these stops it became clear that VBMadcape were running a different strategy to the rest of the grid, and both of their drivers were now running 1st and 2nd after starting on the medium compound. David Greco and Kuba Brzezinski then had a coming together a couple of laps after the pit stops, resulting in a damaged suspension for the Polish driver, he would have to pit again, but the damage would remain for the rest of the race, dropping him well down the order.
On lap 18 Jeoren Kweekel passed Francesco Bigazzi and on the following lap passed the other Twister of Daniel Kiss, the Origin driver now running in 5th place after these 2 overtakes. Both Madcapes made their 1st stops at the end of lap 21, staying on the medium tyre for another stint, but now down to 9th and 10th place.
For the rest of the front runners their 2nd stops commenced at the end of lap 23, Kweekel stopping 1st, followed 1 lap later by Patel and D'Alessandro, as Patel exited the pits he found himself side by side with Manousakis, as the 2 of them went into turn 4, slight contact between the 2 forced Manousakis into a spin, and he dropped down to 9th place.
Michele finally made his way past Patel into turn 1 at the start of lap 28, using the boost and DRS. That put him into 2nd place behind Parisis, with Kweekel back in 4th place.
Further down behind the leaders, Jernej Simoncic and David Greco were having a good battle for 6th place, and it went on for many laps, but their battle for 6th suddenly became a battle for 5th place on lap 31, when Michele D'Alessandro spun his Netrex at turn 13, he rejoined in 9th place. However 2 corners later as a result of the spin, Jeroen Kweekel passed Muhammed Patel for 2nd place, and was now in pursuit of the leader Parisis. David Greco also passed Simoncic at the same corner, and was finally ahead of the Ghostspeed driver.
Kweekel hunted down Parisis and on lap 36 he passed the Madcape driver into turn 1 for the lead, and he was followed through by Patel just 1 lap later also into turn 1, dropped Parisis down to 3rd place. Francesco Bigazzi began his fightback by also catching and passing Jim Parisis, Jim now found himself down to 4th place.
The final pit stops commenced on lap 39, Jeoren Kweekel being the 1st one in, almost at the same time, Bigazzi passed Patel into turn 1, over the following 2 laps the rest of the contenders made their final stops, with Patel re-passing Bigazzi during these stops and back up into 2nd place. However this did not last long, with Bigazzi just staying behind Patel for 1 lap, before he retook 2nd place.
With 4 laps to go Jernej Simoncic and Daniel Kiss passed David Greco, dropping the Italian down to 7th place, in a battle that had waged on throughout the whole race.
But Jeroen Kweekel couldn't be caught in the closing stages, eventually crossing the line 3 seconds ahead of Bigazzi and Patel, with Jim Parisis not having the pace at the end to make the option tyres work, he still managed an amazing 4th place despite starting last with his back of grid penalty.
Jenrej Simoncic held on for 5th place from the pole sitter Daniel Kiss who would be disappointed with 6th after an excellent qualifying. David Greco was 7th with Mike Partington 8th, and early race contenders George Manousakis and Michele D'Alessandro rounding out the points finishers.
Full Race Classification Results are HERE
Full Championship Standings are HERE
Full Race Re-Run can be found