After 2 weeks off, it was time for the F1 crew to bring in the new year and attack one of the most polarizing tracks on the schedule, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Melvin Guerrero (Melg222) looks to repeat his Season 8 performance as he tries to get his 1st win in Season 9.
Qualifying would be a huge key to the race this week. While drivers had perfect conditions to run around in during qualifying, the race would start with in a down pour, making track position more important than most weeks. Conner Stanek (McSendit) would snag his 7th Pole of the season, but not before having a huge scare as a late lap by Melvin Guerrero (Melg222) cut the difference down between the 2 drivers to a razor thin 0.008 seconds. Edwin Garcia (ForzaAlonso14), Jon Pfeiffer (AerosStrike) and Mitchell Riggs (MitchMan009) rounded out the Top 5.
Even in the best conditions, the famed “Eau Rogue” uphill S is dangerous. Now when you add in a down pour, it becomes absolutely unforgivable. That was found out early and often this evening. Off the lights, our front qualifiers would all stay in position as the middle and back of the field would bunch up and try to get any positions they could in Turn 1 before heading down the front stretch towards Eau Rouge. The first victim of the night happened right on the first lap, at Mitchell was unable to secure the traction he needed exiting Eau Rogue, and received terminal damage. Mitchell was far from alone, as 7 drivers in total would suffer terminal damage throughout the race (all in wet conditions), with 5 of them being claimed by Eau Rouge. Now back to the race, pit strategy would play a very big part for the field. The track would dry out by the end of the race, so this meant every driver was on a 2 stop strategy (From Wets to Intermediates, then Intermediates to Slicks). The big key was when to pit. Going from Wets to Intermediates was an easy choice for the field, stay out and wait for Conner to pit, then the entire field came in as well. During this point, the field started separating. It was a 2 car pack up front with Conner and Edwin, then a gap to Melvin and Jon competing for 3rd. The key to the race victory happened during the Intermediate tyre stint, as while Edwin was closing in on Conner, his car slid through a turn and he would suffer wing damage that required a pit stop right away to address. Knowing that Edwin had that issue, all Conner had to do was keep the car pointed straight for his 7th victory of the Season, and that is exactly what he did. Conner’s night really could not have gone anymore perfect as he won the Pole, the Race, Lead wire to wire, and on the very last lap, claimed the Fastest Lap of the Race for the total sweep of the evening. Edwin would have a strong recovery, using his great pace to rebound and finish 2nd after falling all the way back to 7th. After running in proximity all race long, Jon was able to overtake Melvin with 2 laps to go to take the final podium spot. Melvin would fall to 5th, as Brandon Moore (Bemoore) would run a sensational race and recover from his qualifying wreck to take the 4th position on the last lap. By finishing 4th, Brandon would go +10 on the race and take the Hard Charger Award for Spa.
**Top 10 Finishing order for Spa**
1. Conner Stanek (McSendit) – 7th Win of the Season
2. Edwin Garcia (ForzaAlonso14) – 9th Podium of the Season; 61st of his Career
3. Jon Pfeiffer (AerosStrike) – 3rd Podium of the Season
4. Brandon Moore (Bemoore)
5. Melvin Guerrero (Melg222)
6. Jarrod Bruno (JRod15243)
7. Jonathan Foucault (Fouko_QC)
8. Kyle Spencer (KDawgHonda777)
9. Brian Mosser (BrianMosser88)
10. Cameron Epilon (Cameps)
After 12 rounds for the Driver’s Championship, Conner Stanek (McSendit) would regain the points lead he lost 2 weeks ago to Edwin Garcia (ForzaAlonso14). However the gap is only 6 points, so the lead would swap back to Edwin next week with a win. Jon Pfeiffer (AerosStrike) 105 points back in 3rd, however holds a 45 point lead over his nearest competitor.
For our Team championship, Mercedes (Conner and Cameron) have gained ground over the Ferraris (Edwin and Aaron) in 3 of the last 4 races, and has raised the lead up to 61 points after Spa.
Next week we head to the world famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, which is a perfect layout to bring forth tons of action during the race. Each Thursday at 9PM EST, you can catch the live race commentary broadcast from Charles Sumner (Hootius) @ www.twitch.tv/oldmanhoot. Follow the link below to watch back action from Spa: