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I haven’t written a race report for iGP manager before for a few reasons. So, here is the first! I run in a league once a week, and it really isn’t much work to quickly edit down a race video and put some words together – so here goes…

I’ve run 19 races, so far. I scored 3 points in a race last season, and haven’t scored any since. This is a very competitive league, and it takes time to get your team into a decent position. It is also very easy to screw up the strategy either by badly calculating the fuel load, selecting the wrong tire, or managing them badly in the race.

I usually enter the races not expecting to get any points. Right now I am working towards researching a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), and I believe that will help me to be more competitive. But again, I am a long way from it, I might not even get it done before the end of the season.

For this race, at Belgium, I expected high speed to be a factor, and while my Technical Director advised a 3-stop strategy, I decided a lighter fuel load – and a faster high speed – may be of more benefit. So I calculated fuel for 5 stints, 4 stops and decided to take a risk on soft tires.

Qualifying went very well with Kristensen in 7th and Ryan in 9th. I didn’t expect to stay there for long, but hoped I would be able to use my Drag Reduction System (DRS) creatively to stay in-touch. Kristensen was 0.8s off the pole time of 1:50.431, set by Papakonstantinou (DAM Racing).

I got a good start, and immediately set about trying to pass the cars of Team Spamsac. My soft tires were warm much faster than theirs, and Ryan managed to pass in the DRS-zone on lap 3, moving himself into 8th-place. Once clear, Ryan then set a blistering pace, going purple in sector 2, giving him fastest lap beginning lap 4. This pace allowed him to close within range of DRS, and reel in the other Team Spamsac machine.

Managing the tires became difficult, and after briefly challenging for 5th, I began to back off. I fell out of DRS range, but happily still gained 6th and 7th when Saksaganskiy (HRT Junior Team) pitted on lap 7, saying that soft tires were not working for him.

A lap later, while trying to save fuel and tire wear, I was passed by Olsen (Mattlaren), but at the end of the lap passed pitting drivers, briefly running as high as 5th-place with Ryan. I pitted on lap 10, dropping to 19th and 20th.

On lap 11 I gained quite a few places while others pitted on their 3-stop strategies, jumping to 15th and 17th. A lap later, more pitstops, and I moved to 12th and 13th-place.

I got held up pretty badly by Ryan (Kozhi Racing), finally getting by on lap 13, before getting stuck behind his team-mate. This pretty much ruined my strategy, as I was unable to take advantage of the tires at the point in the stint they had the best grip. I pitted on lap 19, still behind him, rejoining 15th and 18th in a tight fight with Aso (Sandbox GP). The nice thing about this battle, however, was that Aso didn’t have the straightline speed to pass me, even when aided by DRS.

More pitstops ahead for those on 3-stops put me 14th and 17th on lap 22, then 13th and 16th on lap 23. I then found myself stuck behind Wilson (SRT), and this pulled me further off where I hoped I would be, but I kept pushing, pitting on lap 28 from 12th and 14th.

I rejoined running 15th and 16th, quickly moving up again as others pitted. I ran as high as 12th before pitting again on lap 37, exiting into the positions I would finish the race.

The battle for the win was a pretty good one. Both Team Spamsac drivers catching and passing Campbell (Insecticons GP) in the final laps.

Overall, I’m not that disappointed with this run. I probably would have finished higher with a standard strategy (3-stops, hard tires), but I wanted to take a risk. It was fun to run with the big boys, even if it was for a couple of stints. I really do want to close out the season with a point for each driver. Hopefully I can make that happen at the first track I ran last season: Italy.

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British-born U.S. Resident, Tim Wheatley, works for Image Space Inc., a developer of driver-in-the-loop simulation technology. He lives in Illinois with his wife and children.
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