For the second time this season Virginia International Raceway (VIR) played host to the iRacing.com Skip Barber Race Series. Using the full course configuration this go ’round, sim racers were treated to the Virginia track in its full glory with an extra mile of asphalt that included the famous Oak Tree corner. The 3.27 mile, 17 turn layout was a stark contrast to the previous week when running at the extremely fast Watkins Glen. Instead of fast and flowing, drivers would be challenged by fast corners corners that required a large amount of commitment, blind apexes, slow esses, fast esses, drafting and tight hairpins. In short, VIR put the test to all of a driver’s skills.
Qualifying at the highly technical track saw points leader Frank Hermann reclaim the top spot on the time sheets for the first time since the series visited Charlotte Motor Speedway in Week Three. Hermann was followed closely by the big winner at Watkins Glen last week, Club Scandinavia’s Roland Ehnström, and Club France’s Samuel Libeert rounded out the top three.
While participation was admittedly lower thanks in part to the somewhat daunting nature ofVIR, 462 drivers still took up the challenge that the 3.27 mile, 17 turn track had in store. Club Carolina’s Keith Harrelson ground-out a series high twenty starts for the week, coming home with two wins and top fives in half of his races. It was Club International and Pro driver Jaroslav Honzik who managed the most wins, however, earning nine in his twelve starts to take home a well deserved 178 points for the week. Once again all eyes were on the 3:45 PM EST time-slot on Monday where the high Strength of Field (SOF) race of the week would take place.
Fifteen drivers took to the grid for the week’s high SOF with eight drivers holding pro licenses. Even more impressive, the fifteen highly rated drivers raised the SOF to 4479, meaning a season high 280 points would be available to the winner. Club DE-AT-CH’s Hermann parlayed his fastest lap time for the week into pole position. What could have been a disastrous start turned out surprisingly clean after Club France’s Stephane Tribaudini accidentally jumped the start from fifth on the grid, then stalled momentarily. Although Tribaudini would fall all the way to last as a result, miraculously, the ten iRacers behind him all managed to avoid the stationary Frenchman in their dash to the first turn.
Pole sitter Hermann would experience first lap difficulties of a different sort as he ran wide entering Turn One, allowing Club France’s Samuel Libeert to take the lead. Libeert maintained a slight lead until Lap Four when with the aid of the draft Hermann made a move for first place at the end of the long back straight.
The series points leader then explained what happened next to inRacingNews: “I tried to attack (Libeert) in the first laps but the turn after the back straight I got sideways over the curb while braking and hit Samuel [so] hard that both our [cars] got damaged. Not the best maneuver in iRacing history. I’m very sorry for Samuel.”
Although the two leaders continued, the damage from the contact opened the door for Club DE-AT-CH’s Marcus Jirak. Jirak, who had managed to avoid the opening lap dramas, moved up to second place at Hermann’s expense on Lap Six. Over the next four laps Jirak slowly chopped down the several second advantage that Libeert opened up as the result of the dice for for second place. Finally, on Lap Ten, Jirak forced Libeert into an error, as the Frenchman got crossed-up braking for Turn One, enabling Marcus to take the lead. The lead duo ran the remainder of the race nose to tail with Jirak taking the win for a season high 280 points by a scant 0.328 seconds over Libeert and points leader Hermann in third. Rounding out the top 5 were Club DE-AT-CH’s Marco Linke in fourth and Club Scandinavia’s Fredrik Tackman in fifth.
With Week Seven in the record books,Hermann still heads the field of well over two thousand drivers that have participated in the iRacing.com Skip Barber Race Series in Season Three. With his big win at VIR however, Jirak has narrow the points gap and with still one full week to add to his points total it’s still anybody’s championship. Hermann is currently averaging nearly 205 points per week compared to Jirak’s 201. With Summit Point next on the schedule the points race should become a lot clearer.
|7.||Naiber Pontes||South America||1176|
For the second week in a row we find Club DE-AT-CH’s Frank Hermann on top of the time trial sheet solidifying his position as the man to beat for that championship as well.
|10.||Joni Viljami Rajamäki||Scandinavia||2:10.080|
We invite you to join us for week nine action when the series makes its first and only trip to Summit Point Raceway September 27th-October 4th followed by the series’ second trip to Circuit Park Zandvoort October 4th-11th.