With some overnight rain, race day in Magny-Cours was overcast and cool, but the track was dry and the field eager to get the race in. As the 7th race of the season, it marked the beginning of the season’s final trio of races. A strong showing here could put a driver in contention. Here’s how they lined up:
P1 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P2 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – The Stig (SB)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)
Starting from 4th place, Bubba was able to time the lights perfectly and get a jump on Rask at the start, edging ahead in the first two corners. Rask, Launch, and Sheila were all hot in his tail as the field quickly shifted their way up to higher gears.
The field charged down the Golf straight, packed about as tightly as one could expect given the speeds they were recording. As they approached the Adelaide hairpin, it was Jaap who got there first.
The second sector saw Jaap struggle to maintain his lead and the rest of the field struggle to catch up. In other words, plenty of opportunities missed. Rask, Sheila, and Launch led the charge, with Bubba trying to shake things up.
At the Imola chicane, the Force Ravenswood pair would finally take advantage of Jaap’s mistakes, with Bubba also joining up with them. Bubba’s participation was temporary, though, as he couldn’t keep up in the third sector. A short way behind them, Scandinavian Blitz and Whiplash plodded along. Sheila was barely an afterthought.
It was in the final corner of the first lap that Whiplash would start to make a move. He flew past both red cars and his teammate, pitting just behind the race leaders. As the second lap commenced, Delilah and Launch were pulling away, but Whiplash was finding his rhythm. Rask found the pace to join him in the battle with Jaap for third place.
As he did on the first lap, Jaap struggled through sector 2, and his teammate Sheila started to do the same. Whiplash, on the other hand, was in a zone, hitting each corner just right. While Jaap’s struggles seem to have rubbed off on his teammate, Whiplash’s inspired driving seeemed to do the same for his. Bubba began to find the feel for his car, passing Rask for 5th place and beginning to threaten Jaap.
Whiplash cruised through the 3rd sector for his third win of the year, with Delilah and Launch in hot pursuit… or perhaps more accurately, tepid pursuit. The Force Ravenswood drivers couldn’t quite figure the final two corners. Jaap’s second sector struggles were replaced with third sector skill, and he was able to get past both of them. Bubba, meanwhile, meant to make things difficult as well.
As the cars charged down the back straight, Launch was able to hold off the challenge from Bubba, but Delilah wasn’t quite as lucky. The Stig and Rask held a drag race for 6th, while Sheila finished a miserable 8th.
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||5||3||2|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||1||2||3|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||4||5||4|
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||6||1||5|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||3||6||6|
|The Stig (SB)||7||8||7|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||2||7||8|
Whiplash’s victory is his 3rd this season and 2nd in the past three races. He joins Jaap and the Stig as the only drivers to have won 3 times in a single season and is now 3rd on the career wins list. It’s also his 8th podium, which is 4th all time. The victory extends his lead in the driver standings to 24 points.
Jaap’s 2nd place duplicates his result from Kyalami and pulls him up into a tie with Delilah for 2nd in the standings. Launch’s podium is only his second of the season, with the last one coming at Elkhart Lake, which was the season opener. The result keeps him 2 podiums ahead of Jaap on the career leader board.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Stig’s all or nothing struggles came up in the nothing category, dropping him down to 4th place. Meanwhile, Sheila’s last place finish makes her the first driver mathematically eliminated from the driver’s championship this year.
The team standings have Sprite Racing now well ahead of the others. They boast a 32 point lead over Scandinavian Blitz. Just 5 points separate the 3 teams chasing Sprite Racing. Right now, Regency Motors is in last place.
On a statistical oddity note, this race was the 2nd time in SBMRL history where 3 drivers finished in the exact same position as they did from the previous race. Jaap, Bubba, and Rask were also 2nd, 4th, and 6th in Kyalami. The last time this happened was in the inaugural season when Launch, Jaap, and Captain Slow finished 2nd, 4th, and 5th at Buddh and Monaco.