ACE 2015 - Round 13: COTA race review

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Jul 21, 2015
Osilo, SS, Italy
NetRex GP

Penultimate round and the driver ACE championship was not decided yet, dueto six contenders fighting for it: Kiss, Klop, Ragusa, Hoyer, Masciulli and Hodas! Circuit of the Americas race was vital for these drivers; however, Kiss hasn't been racing in the second part of the season despite a dominant first half. We want to remember that Thrustmaster Twister Racing was already ACE team champion; congratulations again to them. D'Alessandro took his first ACE pole position in front of Ragusa, Klop, Masciulli and Hodas. Antochowsky and Hoyer started from pitlane; Goded, Gergis and Nel from the bottom becouse of penalties. Many racers from second part of the grid decided to launch with harder compound.

At first corner Ragusa took inside line without leaving space to D'Alessandro, forced to go wide; then the Twister car hitted the BBR, loosing his front wing and retiring meanwhile Klop took leadership. Even Horril had troubles, with Chatzipantelis crashing Nel and Antochowski; these ensigns had a compromised event. On lap six Hodas tried to overtake Masciulli at first corner for last podium spot, but the Italian driver holded it. A lap later the Eventa Simracing driver pitted to undercut; effectively some colleagues began to lose tire performance, like Fernandez in Eleventh, passed by Gergis, Hoyer and Godek. The Trines NetRex racer and Heesterbeek werent't able to control this tire drop and spun. On lap nine Gobbi took advantage from Ivanov for Fifth, braking very heavily after back straight.

Soon pit lane became very busy and strategies created more battles; Godek, Hodas and Francesconi made contacts in few laps, with Masciull thanking them. Gobbi led untill his first pit, but then spun exiting and created chaos. After Ivanov crash and Godek stop, one third of the race was gone; let have a look to positions. Klop led Ragusa by less than a second, with Masciulli completing podium; from Fourth to Tenth only 10 second gap, thanks to Hodas, Francesconi, Valkeejärvi, Gobbi, Prieto, Gergis and Hoyer. Outide top ten Heesterbeek, Campus, Godek and Ivanov. Soon a three wide battle saw Valkeejärvi overtook by Gobbi and Prieto; the Avid Chronic Racing driver let pass his teammates and dropped from Sixth to Ninth in not many corners.

Again, second round of pitstops made some show, especially with Masciulli conquering Third from Gobbi. In the meantime Prieto spun losing a place, and Godek had another chance with Gergis before succumb to Hoyer; the GhostSpeed ensign retired after a crash. On last stint Gobbi rear-ended Hodas for Fourth, but then he gave place back; another contact with Francesconi "forced" the BBR racer to continue without wings, facilitating Hoyer and Gergis. We thought last day overtake was Hoyer on Hodas (grat race for the German, started last), but afterwards the race leader made a brake mistake on back straight, allowing Ragusa to take first position with few laps to go! In fact Gobbi took away a brake marker, causing confusion. Gergis stepped up on Francesconi for Sixth (very good performance from him aswell), but race battle was not over yet; Ragusa half spun under 2014 PRO champion pressure, who won and took the ACE 2016 lead! Three weeks and one race to go; Klop, Kiss, Ragusa, Hoyer and Masciulli were still racing for the gold.

20 drivers started this race, 13 finished it
1)Rens Klop (NED)
Thrustmaster Twister Racing
1h15m00.685 (45 laps)

2)Giuseppe Ragusa (ITA)
BBR Life4Racing

3)Eros Masciulli (ITA)
Eventa by Pescara

4)Michi Hoyer (GER)
Avid Chronic Racing Team

5)Martin Hodás (SVK)

6)Pashalis Gergis (GRI)

7)Michael Francesconi (ITA)
Eventa by Pescara

8)Ruud Heesterbeek (NED)
GS Engineering

9)Guillermo Prieto (SPA)
Faster Than Speed

10)Teemu Valkeejärvi (FIN)
Avid Chronic Racing Blue

11)Alessio Campus (ITA)
TrinesNX Exclusive

12)Victor Ivanov (BUL)
1 lap down

13)Fabrizio Gobbi (ITA)
BBR Life4Racing
3 laps down

Special press conference pre-Interlagos
Daniel Kiss (Thrustmaster Twister Racing)
-"Welcome Daniel. First of all congratulations to be second in ACE championship even missing many races.
-Who took the decision to switch from ACE to WC category during this season? Why this choice?
-Was it an easy pick? Considering current championship standings, do you regret it?"

-"Thank you! It was completely my decision. After the WC race of Austria, I messaged D.Greco that I didn't want to race in ACE anymore, because I knew that I could do well in WC (with only 2 races I was P5 in the championship). I wanted him to loan me to Madcape for the rest of the season, but he decided to give me his seat instead. Yes, it was an easy and quite straightforward decision after the WC race of Austria. I could stay close to my teammates and we did a 1-4. I wasn't really motivated to race in ACE afterwards. After finishing all of the races in P1 and P2 (except for China where I was gifted a win), I felt that I needed a new challenge, but I also knew that it meant that I wouldn't win the ACE title. Do I regret it? A part of me says yes, the other says no. I haven't won a title in FSR, probably this could have been it, but I felt like I was wasting my time in ACE while I could have fought for podiums in WC. So that part of me doesn't regret it at all. Looking back at the results (scored only 2 points) and the amount of bad luck I had with incidents/traffic and discos (2) in those 5 races since I got promoted, I do regret it a bit, because I know that I would have won the ACE title with maximum 2 more races. A tiny part of me feels that I threw the ACE title away for nothing. But hopefully Rens will clinch it, so it stays in the team."

Michi Hoyer (Avid Chronic Racing Team)
-"Welcome Michi. First of all congratulations to be an FSR ACE championship contender; not an easy achievement.
-What was the best 2015 moment? What about the worst?
-Are you happy about your season untill now? What was the target?
-How much is important to win this championship for you? Are you optimistic about it?
-What will be the key in Interlagos?"

-"One of the best moments definitely has been the race in COTA. To score a 4th place after starting from the pitlane has been quite an achievement. Together with the 2nd place in Singapore – the toughest race of the season where I didn’t crack - those have been the best moments for sure. Worst thing that has happened to me might be the penalty of China and the penalty resulting out of the Suzuka crash aswell with the bad performances. The season has developed some ups and downs. In the end I’m satisfied with the position I am right now. But there were enough situations that costed me the chance to have a better potential to win the championship before the last race. After all I’m happy to end up in top 5 position in the drivers championship. I’m thinking realistically! So I do not expect me to win the championship. If it rains – you never know what happens, so I keep trying. I will maximize my performance in Interlagos to make the impossible possible. The key will all be about consistency and being in good shape at the right place. Overtaking is very hard so you have to know and decide where to push hard and where to save tires."

Eros Masciulli (Eventa by Pescara)
-"Welcome Eros. First of all congratulations to be an FSR ACE championship contender; not an easy achievement.
-What was the best 2015 moment? What about the worst?
-Are you happy about your season untill now? What was the target?
-How much is important to win this championship for you? Are you optimistic about it?
-What will be the key in Interlagos?"

-"Thanks a lot. This season has been very positive for me, I feel much stronger than before as driver and I have to thanks my team and expecially Francesco Bigazzi. I test always with him, he is one of the fastest guy I have ever seen on this business and is a big advantage for me to try to follow his pace. Worst moment in the season? Qualifying of course, I think it is where I lost crucial points, together with Sepang and Shangai, in which I had troubles with internet. Anyway I am happy to be alive in this fight, I had good moments in WC partecipation too beeing always into the points and on podium at Singapore; in ACE I had a really strong second part of the season, my race pace was always good and I had some spectacular comeback after bad qualify. At Interlagos for me will be crucial to have a massive luck, this is the only way I can still win; I would be of course very happy if it will happens, I know it is almost impossible but we are here to try."

Race Broadcast
Race Results
ACE Driver and Team Standings

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

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