ACE 2015 - Round 10: Spa race review

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Jul 21, 2015
Osilo, SS, Italy
NetRex GP
These ACE articles were not published on website dueto several reasons. They are so old that I didn't find round 8 and 9 reviews (sorry, but it was a year ago). I can't publish, so better to save them on forum.

ACE round 10 - Spa

Spa-Francorchamps was the first FSR race with the new real world weather to have heavy rain conditions; interest was higher than usual. Partington earned his first ACE pole position followed by Bolukbasi, Gergis, surprising FSR rookie Antochowski and Masciulli; D'Alessandro, Hoyer, Ragusa, Francesconi and Valkeejarvi completed top ten, meanwhile Gobbi, Godek, Prieto, Faustini and Heesterbeek started from the pit lane. Klop was the most important absent in Belgium.

Impressive beginning from most of ACE drivers. It wasn't easy to face new tricky conditions without big issues; Riera lost a front wing template, Chatzipantelis spun and Godek retired because of a crash, but considering a 20 car grid it was a quite good achievement by the World Championship preliminary category.

No big changes on top ten. Not the best possible first lap for Ragusa, meanwhile Hoyer gained some places. On lap three Bolubkasi attacked the race leader at the end of Kemmel Straight, but Partington defended well. Valkeejärvi and Ragusa fought for Ninth showing a very different setup; the Italian having much more downforce, his overtake wasn't made easier by the ACR-Blue ensign. Later Hoyer was charged by Antochowsky at Rivage for fourth; a slight contact forced the Origin Front Row driver to damage his car bumping into a wall, but his lap times displayed that luck was on his side. Meanwhile Masciulli took a double advantage from this battle, targeting a podium spot. First strategy pitstop was made by Valkeejarvi on the ninth lap for another set of wet tires. Bolukbasi did the same a couple of laps later, being seven seconds faster than Partington pace! After that most of top position driver decided to pit. Ragusa stayed out with old tires but he was overtook by Gergis outside Blanchimont; that was probably the most appreciated move of the day by spectators, certainly by the commentary team.

Half race distance saw Bolukbasi lead Partington and Gergis by 10 seconds, with Antochowski and Masciulli not far. Hoyer, Ragusa, Gobbi, Francesconi, and Heesterbeek completed top ten; Riera, Hodas, Valkeejarvi, Faustini, Almeida, and Chatzipantelis were trying to reach them.

After the rain stopped a drying line began to appear, but conditions weren't easier at all; there was a single race line that had to be precisely followed. Hodas spun at Pouhon retiring after a big slam, and Gergis took an advantage on Partington after a little mistake by the Eventa driver. Surprising some, the race leader pitted for another set of wet tyres when it was seemingly time for inters, but there was no sure pick. Then, big shock; Partington made a mistake selecting neutral and first gears just before Blanchimont. Bolukbasi had nowhere to go and brutally crashed his opponent; this meant two virtually podium drivers getting out of the grand prix, and put Gergis in first place.

Francesconi was the first racer to try dry tires; his lap times were quite fast and soon many teams decided to copy this strategy. More drama followed at Spa-Francoshamps; Gergis lost his ACR after Rivage and collided with the wall. He was not lucky as Antochowski and retired. Ragusa took the lead staying on wet tires but soon he switched to drys as the rest of the pack.

These changes completed mixed standings. With a few laps to go Antochowsky led a charging Hoyer by few seconds, with Masciulli on podium as well. Ragusa, Francesconi, Valkeejarvi, Heesterbeek, Riera, Almeida and Faustini were the top ten, with Chatzipantelis closing the group. By the way, Hoyer wasn't lucky with a back marker and missed victory chances. Amazing FSR win at wet debut for Antochowsky! Masciulli lost third place to Ragusa because of a Pouhon mistake, quite common today. However the BBR Life4Racing driver dropped to Fifth because of race cuts after post-race checks.

20 drivers started this race, 11 finished it
1)Michal Antochowski (POL)
Origin Front Row Racing Green

2)Michi Hoyer (GER)
Avid Chronic Racing Team

3)Eros Masciulli (ITA)
Eventa by Pescara SHS Ace

4)Michael Francesconi (ITA)
Eventa by Pescara SHS Ace

5)Giuseppe Ragusa (ITA)
BBR Life4Racing
+56.777 (30 second time penalty imposed:"Race cuts")

6)Ruud Heesterbeek (NED)
GS Engineering

7)Argenis Riera (VEN)
Comunidad JDT Team

8)Teemu Valkeejärvi (FIN)
Avid Chronic Racing - Blue Team
1 lap down

9)Thiago Almeida (BRA)
Origin Front Row Racing Red
1 lap down

10)Guilherme Faustini (BRA)
Origin Front Row Racing Red
1 lap down

11)George Chatzipantelis (GRI)
GS Engineering
1 lap down

Press conference
Eros Masciulli (Eventa by Pescara)
-"Welcome Eros and congratulations for another podium. You seem determined to fight for this championship in and out the track, we would like to have a comment about post-race checks. How demanding was racing in these conditions?"
-"Yeah I had a good race until the end when the track was going on dry. With soft tires all was difficult and I did a mistake at Pouhon. After post race check I was third and this is not what I needed. Anyway it is a good results and my hopes are still alive"

Pole lap
Race broadcast
Race standings
ACE driver and team standings

Next Ace review will be Singapore GP. Alessio Campus, David O'Reilly and Pashalis Gergis (FSR Media Group)

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