While the SBMRL has raced in South America before, January saw the league pay their first visit to Argentina, to race Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez. With the sun high and not a cloud to be seen, the grid lined up as follows:
P1 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – Whiplash (SR)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P8 – The Stig (SB)
The cars got off the line cleanly and then accelerated into the first corner. The long run up meant that all the cars were fighting for position around Curva Numero Uno. It was in the second bend, Curva de la Confiteria, that a leading pack began to take shape. The Sprite Racing duo of Whiplash and Bubba were able to pull ahead with Jaap alongside them. Sheila fell a bit behind, but other than that, the cars stayed fairly close in two groups through the first sector.
As the field moved on to the second sector, Jaap got a jump in Curva De Ascari, but was soon run into by Whiplash in the following corner. Jaap’s car suffered enough damage that he was forced to retire from the race after having been in the lead just moments earlier.
In the ensuing chaos, Delilah was able to get around both Whiplash and Bubba to take the lead. Her teammate, Launch, however, was not faring as well. The former champion couldn’t keep pace with the others and was square at the back.
While the Sprite Racing duo battled with Delilah in the arena section, the Stig and Rask started to make their moves to reel the front runners in. Sheila, who had been struggling at the rear, also started to move up in the third sector. The field was so tightly bunched that when it came time to pit, all 6 cars other than Launch were in pit lane at the same time.
The second lap saw Whiplash and the Stig start a battle in earnest for the top spot on the podium. Bubba ran a solitary third through the first sector, but the battle for fourth place raged in earnest. Delilah, Sheila, and Rask, went back and forth with little to separate them.
Whiplash pulled out a moderate advantage of the Stig as they entered the arena, but Bubba was starting to fade. Sheila found speed down the long back straight and was soon challenging Bubba position. Rask and Delilah charged ahead in their pursuit as well. While Sheila reeled Bubba in, Rask and Delilah soon did the same.
The Senna ‘S’ saw the Stig take a late race lead, and it looked like he was surely heading for his 3rd victory of the season. However, Whiplash was able to hit Horquilla just right, exiting with speed down the pit straight and a comfortable win. The Stig would have to settle for second place.
Behind them, Sheila had nearly caught up, but the same was true of Delilah and Rask. Unfortunately for Rask, he got it all wrong in the final corner. Sheila came out ahead of Delilah, but it was the Force Ravenswood rookie that had speed on her side. She passed Sheila down the final straight to round out the podium.
Rask’s misery was compounded by the fact that both Bubba and Launch came barreling around the last corner ready to pounce. Despite some margine to work with, Rask’s engine wouldn’t produce. Bubba sailed past him for 5th, and he just barely held on over Launch as the final two finishers crossed the line.
|The Stig (SB)||8||3||2|
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||1||4||3|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||3||5||4|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||4||1||5|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||7||6||6|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||2||7||7|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||6||8||8, dnf|
Whiplash records his 2nd victory in the past three races and third victory overall. His run from 5th on the grid to the checkered flag matches the 4 spot improvement he saw at Interlagos last year. He’s now up to second place in the driver standings.
The Stig continues his hot driving with a second place finish to go with two victories on the year. His run of success truly dates back to Monaco just over a year ago. If not for a clunker in the season opener and a DNF in Singapore, he’d likely be running away with things. As it stands, he’s just 4 points up on Whiplash.
Delilah’s podium is a much needed shot in the arm for the struggling Force Ravenswood. She’s currently beating her veteran teammate, and demonstrated some resolve in how she battled back from spending a good portion of the second lap as far back as 6th.
At the other end of the spectrum, former Regency Motors teammates Jaap and Launch are left looking for answers as they struggle to return to their previous form.
Despite trailing in the standings, Force Ravenswood scored more points than Regency Motors, who had their worst race of the year. Sprite Racing’s strong showing has them just a few points behind Scandinavian Blitz.