The SBMRL made their annual trip to Monaco for December’s race, with a typically comfortable day in store. The grid featured penalties for the Stig and Jaap, which resulted in the following starting positions:
P1 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P2 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P3 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P4 – The Stig (SB)
P5 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Whiplash (SR)
P8 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
The field got off to a clean start with the pecking order seeing no substantial changes through the first corner. The field remained tightly packed, largely as predicted, with the first sector not revealing any particular changes of note. The field only began to separate a bit once they were in Casino and Mirabeau.
The Stig and Sheila led the way into Loews but nearly the entire field was jockeying for space behind them. Only Whiplash lagged behind. The Stig led the way through the tunnel with Sheila struggling to keep pace. Delilah led Launch, Rask, Bubba, and Jaap behind them.
The Stig kept up his pace into the third sector, but Sheila was caught up by the others at Tabac. Launch also began to struggle, with Whiplash recovering from a miserable first half lap to put himself back in the mix.
Sector three saw Regency Motors start to make their move. While the Stig pulled into the pits ahead of the field, Rask, Jaap, and Sheila rounded the Anthony Noghes corner. Delilah and Launch were now in a direct battle with both of the Sprite Racing drivers.
Sheila stayed out instead of opting for fresh rubber, which had her passing the Stig around Sainte Devote at the start of the second lap. The others all went in, with Rask emerging first, followed by Jaap and Bubba. Force Ravenswood were the ones that came out at the back and would have the most ground to make up over the final lap.
Sheila and the Stig jockeyed back and forth through the first sector, but the Stig pulled ahead at Mirabeau. Behind them, a similar battle between their teammates was raging, and soon all four cars were slogging around the Loews hairpin.
Whiplash, Launch, and Delilah fought behind them, and soon disaster struck. Launch tried to take the inside line in Loews and get ahead of Whiplash, but a small misjudgment meant a collision and the end of the race for Launch. Adding insult to injury for Force Ravenswood, Bubba was able to take advantage of the mayhem and catch up with Delilah.
The driver who was able to take advantage of the crash induced caution was Jaap, who flew down the tunnel at speed in an effort to catch up with the Stig. The race’s long time leader suddenly found himself passed at the chicane, but Jaap’s momentary brilliance was undone with a poor approach at Tabac.
While the Stig pulled away at the swimming pool, Jaap was soon accompanied by Sheila and Rask. Stig took the checkered flag as Rask got an edge on the others in the final two corners. He would hold on to take second place with Jaap just fractions of a second behind. Sheila was comfortably fourth.
As for the rest of the field, Whiplash, managed to run a smooth third sector, but it wasn’t enough to threaten the others. In the end, it was a quiet 5th place finish. Less quiet was the battle against ignominy that Delilah and Bubba were mired in. The two went back and forth in the third sector, with Delilah initially ahead, then Bubba, then back to Delilah. Bubba managed to find a better line through Rascasse and Anthony Noghes, leaving Delilah just short.
|The Stig (SB)||4||1||1|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||2||3||2|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||6||4||3|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||3||2||4|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||8||5||6|
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||1||8||7|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||5||7||8, dnf|
The Stig gets his 3rd Monaco victory in 4 races, which also makes him the first driver to win at three times at a single venue. It’s his 7 career victory, which ties him with Jaap for the SBMRL career lead.
Rask snatched the second podium of his short career thus far. It marks a fine turnaround from the last two races, where he finished 7th and 8th. Jaap’s third place finish matches his performance last time out in Singapore. Despite his track record of success, the only other time he’s had consecutive podiums was three in a row near the end of the SBMRL’s inaugural season. The top three finishers now sit as the top 3 in the driver standings.
Scandinavian Blitz’s 1-2 finish marks the 5th time that has happened in SBMRL history. They are also now the only team to have done it more than once, having previously accomplished the feat at the Nurburgring in the 2016-17 season. Given that we’ve only had five 1-2 finishes, it’s no surprise that this is the first time that we’ve had each team see their cars cross the line in consecutive order*. As a result, Scandinavian Blitz has taken a healthy lead with Force Ravenswood falling to the back after their disastrous result. Sprite Racing was far enough ahead of Regency Motors that those teams now sit tied in the middle.
* Note that at Austin in the 2016-17 season, 4 of the 5 teams saw their cars cross the line one after the other. The only team that didn’t was Red Bull, who saw Mater win and Danger Wheel finish 4th.