Interlagos played host to the SBMRL for the second time after first hosting the league last season. Last year’s race was marked by a large number of retirements and some tremendous passing on the second lap. Would this year’s race have more of the same? Here’s how the cars lined up at the start:
P1 – Stevie Wondertyres (Jason)
P2 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P3 – The Stig (Jason)
P4 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)
P5 – Launch Bornado (Barb)
P6 – Whiplash (Frank)
P7 – Bubba McQueen (Barb)
P8 – Sheila Dinkum (Frank)
As the lights went out, so did Captain Slow’s chances of maximizing his first row starting position. He stalled on the grid and was soon passed up by everyone in the field spare Sheila. Stevie, on the other hand, made the most of his start and established an early lead with the Stig and Jaap following close behind.
Through the second sector of the first lap, the field began to stratify, with most cars spread out. Launch Bornado and Whiplash were the two drivers to make moves in this part of the circuit, gradually inching their way up the field in an effort to catch the front-runners. At the back, Captain Slow had recovered slightly to get a leg up on Bubba and Sheila.
As the field came down the pit straight, The Stig’s pit crew put him ahead of Stevie with a tremendously fast stop. This gave The Stig an early lead heading into the second lap. Whiplash, meanwhile, decided to pass up the pits entirely, and this vaulted him all the way into 3rd position and a tight battle with Launch. Captain Slow, who looked like he might be recovering, flubbed the third sector and was a distant last place in crossing the line. He was so far behind his teammate that The Stig was already half way around lap 2 by the time he pitted.
The Stig drove smoothly and confidently around the second lap, and he really didn’t have much to worry about. The Sprite Racing teammates were fighting with Launch for second place and it was Whiplash who made good in that battle. Meanwhile, Jaap came charging around the others to wrest 3rd place away from them. The three would fight it out throughout the remainder of the lap.
The Stig took a comfortable victory with Whiplash coming home in second uncontested. However, the former teammates, Jaap and Launch would fight for the final podium spot. Launch took the edge in Bico de Pato, and from there, it was essentially a drag race to the finish line. Jaap couldn’t find the speed to keep up, and that was their order of finish.
Behind them, Stevie and Bubba were similarly fighting for 5th place, but this time it was the Force Ravenswood driver that was lacking in pace. Stevie edged out Bubba, leaving only Sheila and Captain Slow to sort the final two places. The latter, again lived up to his name, and despite the Stig’s victory, or perhaps because of it, rumors of dissatisfaction with Captain Slow’s performance emanated from the Scandinavian Blitz garages.
|The Stig (SB)||3||1||1|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||5||4||3|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||4||5||4|
|Stevie Wondertyres (SR)||1||2||5|
|Bubba McQueen (FR)||7||7||6|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||8||6||7|
|Captain Slow (SB)||2||8||8|
The Stig managed to get past his rivals in the pits and then drove a clean 2nd lap for his second consecutive victory. Only Launch Bornado has done that before, and a 4th place or better finish in the next race will give him the best three race stint in SBMRL history. The wins put the Stig at the top of the SBMRL driver standings for the first time in his career.
Whiplash may have started farther back, but his second 2nd place was well deserved after the gamble of not pitting paid off. Launch records a second podium on the year. Both drivers can thank Stevie’s miserable second lap for their fortunes.
At the other end of the spectrum, Captain Slow took a bad start and made it worse with an uninspired performance. Bubba and Sheila didn’t look at all like the drivers they’ve been the rest of the season, resulting in even tighter standings than before.
The team standings can hardly be any closer, with Regency Motors and Force Ravenswood tied at the top and Scandinavian Blitz and Sprite Racing just a few points apart.