Barcelona Recap

A beautiful day welcomed the SBMRL to the Circuit de Catalunya for the final race of the 2018-19 season. After 9 months of racing the season’s champions were soon to be decided with one final race for glory. For one final time, the SBMRL grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P4 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)

The cars lined up and the lights went out and all but one car came off the line cleanly. Jaap found himself sitting still on the grid as the rest of the field began their race around him. He quickly found gear, but not before Delilah and Whiplash put him squarely in last place.

At the front of the field, Sheila, Launch, and Rask moved to the front of the pack as Bubba dropped back. The first sector saw the three front runners battling back and forth until Launch and Rask pulled out a narrow edge over Sheila’s yellow Regency Motors car. The real mover and shaker, though, was Whiplash. The season’s top driver continued to show the form that put him in the driver standings lead, charging past Delilah and Bubba to get in the fight for 4th place with the Stig.

Launch in the lead, Whiplash up to 4th

The Stig, feeling the charge, stepped up his race in the second sector. He caught up with Sheila and left Whiplash behind in his quest for 3rd place. With Rask at the front in a duel with Launch, Scandinavian Blitz was looking quite racy.

Rask leading in the third sector

At the very back of the field, the trio of Bubba, Delilah, and Jaap struggled along. Jaap, who’s season had been on the upswing after three straight second place finishes, looked spent. However, it was Bubba who would soon find himself out of the race. Pushing hard around the final corner of the first lap, he heard a pop and his engine had gone. Just like that, a second straight DNF to finish the year.

By this point, the front runners were already into their second lap, but to rewind for a moment, as Delilah and Rask came around the final corner, Delilah had a slight edge. In an effort to keep ahead of her rival, she skipped the pits and drove on down the straight, while Rask opted for fresh rubber.

The Scandinavian Blitz pit crew was up to the challenge, and Delilah wasn’t even into the first corner when Rask was coming out of pit lane. At the same time, Sheila and the Stig were heading in, with Whiplash trailing them.

Launch up front, but Rask is already out of the pits

Rask caught Delilah in short order, and found the fresh set of tires was more than up to the task of pulling away from her in the first sector. The Stig came out of the pits in 3rd place, and Whiplash caught up with Sheila at the first corner to round out the midfield. Jaap and Delilah puttered along at the rear.

As had been the case for most of the race, there were never any real challengers to Rask and Launch up front. Unlike the first lap, the two front runners lost touch with each other and Launch wasn’t able to mount any additional challenges to Rask. The two had rather uneventful drive to the finish line.

Rask starts to pull away

The Stig’s hold on 3rd place was a bit more tenuous, and it begins with the battle for 4th. As the midfield began the second lap, the Stig was ahead when Sheila was caught up by Whiplash. This arrangement, the Stig in front with Sheila and Whiplash fighting each other would last through the first sector until Wurth. It was there that Whiplash got the Stig within reach, and there that Sheila lost touch with both of them.

The Stig and Whiplash get distance from Sheila

What none of them fully gathered, was that behind them, Delilah was charging. The corner after Wurth is Campsa, and while Whiplash struggled here, Delilah caught him and Sheila. In fact, Delilah was charging with such speed and skill that she soon found herself in front of not just Sheila and Whiplash, but the Stig as well.

As a brief aside, Jaap’s exploits on the second lap are best left to the simple assertion that he did finish the race. The less said about his efforts to get there, the better.

The third sector, then was all that remained in the season for the four cars still hoping to claim 3rd place. Having seen Delilah’s aggression in the second sector, the Stig proceeded to tackle the third sector in kind. He charged through Banc Sabadell to get ahead of the group.

Launch rounds the final corner as the Stig, Sheila, and Delilah jockey for position

Delilah moved in front again in Europcar, with the Stig and Sheila each just a car length back. Whiplash had faded, leaving just these three to fight it out. As they rounded New Holland, the final corner, Delilah was ahead by just a nose over the Stig. Sheila was right there with them, and it would be a drag race to the finish.

The fight for 3rd place!

That drag race would see the Stig pass Delilah on the pit straight to put two Scandinavian Blitz cars on the podium for the second time this year. Sheila carried speed down the straight as well, but Delilah was ahead by just enough to pip her for 4th.

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Rask Sjofar (SB)421
Launch Bornado (FR)212
The Stig (SB)543
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)764
Sheila Dinkum (RM)135
Whiplash (SR)856
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)677
Bubba McQueen (SR)388, dnf

Rask’s victory gives him bookend wins on the year, having taken the season opener at Road America. After struggling through the middle part of the season, it’s a nice way to end it and leaves him 3rd in the driver standings, ahead of his more experienced teammate.

Launch’s podium extends his SBMRL record to 17, now two ahead of Jaap. It’s only his 3rd of the season and his best finish this year, in what can only be described as a bit of a disappointing year. He finished down in 6th place, the first time he’s not been in the top 3.

The Stig edging out Delilah for third means that he gets his fourth podium of the year. However, there are much bigger implications as well. With Whiplash’s poor showing in the race, finishing in 6th place, Delilah ended up just 1 point shy of taking home the driver’s championship. Had she edged out the Stig for the final podium spot, she’d have won it. Instead, Whiplash backs into the win.

The Stig and Delilah’s finish also determined the team championship. By earning 3 more points for the race, Scandinavian Blitz won the title over Force Ravensood by those same 3 points.

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Barcelona Preview

It all comes down to Spain, as the final racer of the 2018-19 SBMRL season will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Barcelona

Formula 1’s offseason testing track, Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and played host to the Spanish Grand Prix that very year. During the 1992 Summer Olympics, it hosted the cycling team time trials event.

The starting grid sits pushed back on the extremely long pit straight which means that starting position won’t be a significant factor in the race. The first corner the drivers will face is called Elf and is quick right-left combination that leads into a long, full throttle curve.

The rest of the track is simultaneously straight forward and nigh on impossible to get perfectly right. While each corner in and of itself isn’t particularly challenging, the constant acceleration and deceleration between them will result in some cars simply getting thrown off. The long straight into La Caixa is one that can make or break a lap.

This all culminates in the tight third sector, where the field can get bunched back up. The sector itself is probably the least complicated, but that will depend somewhat on having run cleanly prior. As we saw at Watkins Glen, don’t be surprised to see cars skip the pits between laps, as the long straight will tempt drivers to fly down it at top speed.

Starting Grid

With a tie at the bottom of the driver standings, by rule, pole position goes to the lower finisher at Watkins Glen. That would nominally be Launch Bornado, but Launch also has a one spot grid penalty for knocking Bubba McQueen out of the last race. Fortunately, he’ll still start on the front row.

  1. Sheila Dinkum (RM)
  2. Launch Bornado (FR)*
  3. Bubba McQueen (SR)
  4. Rask Sjofar (SB)
  5. The Stig (SB)
  6. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  7. Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
  8. Whiplash (SR)

Once again, each team will have a driver in the top four.

Pit selection is order of team standings. Scandinavian Blitz and Regency Motors are currently tied, so the tie is broken by average starting position fo the team’s cars.

  1. Sprite Racing
  2. Force Ravenswood
  3. Scandinavian Blitz
  4. Regency Motors

Barcelona is the home race for Delilah Whipplefilter.

Track History

The SBMRL visited Barcelona last year for the season’s final race and it was tightly contested. Jaap pulled away on the second lap, but there were 5 different race leaders. Sprite Racing had a poor showing, but it was Bubba’s last place finish that caused him to be fired from Force Ravenswood. It’s a memory that the team has not forgotten, as it cost them the team championship.

SBMRL @ Barcelona

Watkins Glen Recap

The penultimate race of the 2018-19 season took place in upstate New York at Watkins Glen. A first time visit from the SBMRL meant that there was some question over how the race would play out. The first order of business was determining the track configuration, and the league decided to include both the Inner Loop chicane and the Boot.

The grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)

Bubba had a fast start with the rest of the field getting off the line cleanly, but soon found himself bumping into other cars as he jockeyed for position. The front four fought wheel to wheel through the first few corners until Sheila was able to pull ahead slightly. As she did so, the back half was right on their tails with the lone exception of Jaap.

Wheel to wheel in pursuit of Sheila

The Inner Loop chicane was where Bubba and Rask caught up with Sheila again, and the three of them battled back and forth throughout the second sector. Delilah and the Stig also started to make a move on Launch, with Whiplash and Jaap falling behind the others.

Into the Boot they went, with Sheila finding herself unable to keep up with Bubba and Rask. The Force Ravenswood pair continued to push, and caught up with Sheila at the Toe. The Stig, meanwhile, found his car responsive and flew down the sole of the Boot with such speed that he caught up with the front runners at the Heel.

The Stig crashes Bubba and Rask’s party

Delilah wasn’t far behind, making a move of her own at the Heel. She managed to get by both red cars and take the fight directly to Bubba. Like Stig in the Boot, Delilah found speed through the final two corners and then flew down the pit straight.

Jaap was the other big mover in the third sector. He pulled off a similar feat to the Stig’s and earned a few places as a result. The difference was that the Stig went through the third sector slowly while Jaap pulled off the same feat that Delilah did, flying down the pit straight. In the span of half a lap, Jaap went from last to second.

Delilah about to leave Bubba behind

Despite getting passed by several cars while pitting, Launch was able to catch up with them shortly. Delilah was in the lead, with Jaap in a solid second place, but behind them, Launch, the Stig, Rask, and Bubba all pursued.

Coming through the Esses

As the field came out of the Esses and into the back straight, a few drivers were able to change things up. First was Rask, who found enough speed on the straight to catch Jaap at the Inner Loop. The other driver to make a strong move was Whiplash, who hit the Esses just right and was up to fourth place after the straight.

Delilah was able to pull away in the second sector, putting a couple of corners between herself and the battle for second place. Jaap and Rask fought back and forth through the Boot with neither able to get an advantage, while Whiplash settled into 4th place. His teammate, Bubba, was less fortunate. Having fallen to the back of the pack, he made a hard charge through the chicane and was heading through the Outer Loop when Launch bumped him. The collision was enough to know Bubba out of the race.

Launch ends Bubba’s race

Delilah continued her charge through the third sector and no one would get close as she easily took home her second win of the season. Jaap and Rask fought neck and neck until the final corner, where Jaap was able to take advantage of fresher tires and pull away.

The other four cars were well behind Rask, led by Launch and Whiplash. The Stig and Sheila were right behind them, however, and just like in the battle between Jaap and Rask, the final order would come down largely to tire freshness. Sheila, having pitted for new rubber, was able to take the most advantage, followed by the Stig.

Sheila gets ahead to take 4th place

While Whiplash was able to come out of the corner ahead of Launch, his engine wouldn’t respond to the need for speed. This allowed Launch to finish just ahead of him in 6th place.

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
611
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)742
Rask Sjofar (SB)353
Sheila Dinkum (RM)174
The Stig (SB)
535
Launch Bornado (FR)
266
Whiplash (SR)
887
Bubba McQueen (SR)
428, def

Delilah’s victory is her second in three races and the second of the year for Force Ravenswood. It’s her fourth podium of the year and puts her just 5 points behind Whiplash for the driver championship lead.

Jaap’s second place finish makes it 3 consecutive runner-ups for him and 5 podiums on the year. He sits 7 points back of Delilah. Rask’s 3rd place finish moves him up to 5th place in the driver standings. He has 3 podiums this year, with one appearance on each step.

Bubba’s DNF means that he’s now in danger of finishing last, a position currently held jointly by Launch and Sheila.

At a team level Sprite Racing couldn’t have had a worse result. They had a very healthy lead that has now dwindled to 10 points over Force Ravenswood. Largely propelled by Delilah’s strong form of late, the white, green, and orange cars sit 7 points ahead of Scandinavian Blitz and Regency Motors, who are tied.

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