Tag Archives: Russia

Russia Recap

Sochi, Russia welcomed the SBMRL on March 17th as race #7 on the 9 race 2016-17 calendar.  It was a brisk day with highs in the low 50’s, but that didn’t stop the fans from coming out.  Here’s how the cars took to the grid:

P1 – Nero (Frank)
P2 – Ice (Jason)
P3 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P4 – The Stig (Jason)
P5 – Mater (Jason)
P6 – Jamonito del Verde (Geoff)
P7 – Danger Wheel (Ryan)
P8 – Launch Bornado (Frank)
P9 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)
P10 – Jaronimus Maximus (Geoff)

The race started cleanly, with Jamonito timing the lights perfectly for a fast start at the middle of the grid.  He able to get ahead of Mater, causing the Red Bull driver to suffer minor body damage after getting sandwiched with Captain Slow.  Nero and the Stig were the first into Turn 1, establishing the early hierarchy.  By Turn 4, Nero had moved out front for an early advantage.  The Stig and Captain Slow battled for 2nd place with a larger group following behind.

Nero out front

The early mover was Jaap, who caught up with the Scandinavian Blitz drivers by Turn 5, showing once again that Sochi’s track suits him just fine.  By Turn 8 he would find himself up in 2nd place.  It was here on the first lap that Ice, Mater, and Jamonito made their push to catch up, while Jaronimus, Danger Wheel, and Launch languished far behind.

As Nero rounded the final two corners, Mater made his move on the inside of The Stig in Turn 8.  Unfortunately, he clipped his opponent and was sent into the  barriers and out of the race.  The Stig miraculously escaped any damage of his own, and was even able to keep up with his teammate.

Mater crashes out

Among the front runners, the key moment of the race to this point surrounded the pits.  Nero dove for fresh tyres and minor repairs, while Jaap decided to press on with the car as is.  Jamonito and Ice followed Nero in, but the Stig followed Jaap’s lead in skipping a tyre change.  When all was said and done, Jaap found himself in the lead, with Nero in 2nd and the Stig in 3rd place.

Jaap edges ahead of Nero

Jaap established a small lead with smooth running through the first three corners on the second lap.  Ice found speed aplenty down the pit straight and managed to catch up with Nero in a Cobalt battle for second.  Jamonito kept pace with the Stig.  Amongst those trailing, Captain Slow was once again living up to his name, allowing Danger Wheel by and finding Launch soon hot on his tail.  Jaronimous, had a disastrous third sector of lap 1 and would never again challenge even a single car the rest of the way.

The second lap didn’t have near as much drama as the first lap.  Jaap never put a wheel wrong through sector 2, and despite Nero and Ice doing their best to follow, they couldn’t capitalize on a mistake when no mistakes were being made. To their credit, the two drivers who’ve had the worst season to date proved why they were so formidable last season, pushing Jaap the whole way and keeping their challengers in the distance.

The leaders spread out

The battle of note, therefore, was for fourth position.  Danger Wheel took advantage of mistakes by the Stig and Jamonito to catch up with them in Turn 3. He then passed them in Turn 4 as both were a bit slow on entry and he was able to scoot past them.  This would’ve been the time that Captain Slow caught up with his teammate, but he too wasn’t able to find the right line at Turn 4.

The one moment where it looked like Nero or Ice might actually be able to catch up with Jaap was at Turn 9.  Having completely worn out his tyres over the course of the two laps, Jaap had to be extremely cautious around the final two bends.  Nero and Ice, on the other hand, were charging.  Carefully navigating Turn 10, however, Jaap had just enough speed to cross the line ahead of Ice, who came from as far back as 8th on lap 1 to finish 2nd.  Nero followed in 3rd.

Ice and Nero can’t quite catch Jaap

Danger Wheel drove a professional second lap to take an uneventful fourth place.  The battle for 5th place came to a head in Turn 8, with Jamonito and the Stig getting there first, but Launch and Captain Slow hot on their heels.  Navigating through debris left on the track earlier, Jamonito found his way to the front of the group.  With plenty of life left in his tyres, he was free to push around the final bend, ultimately finishing closer to Danger Wheel than those he’d been fighting with.

Launch sneaks past the Stig

The final placement between the Scandinavian Blitz teammates and Launch came down to how hard they’d pushed earlier.  The Stig had to take the slower, outside line to keep his car on the track, while Launch was able to sneak around him on the inside, and then bring it home down the straight.

Final Results

Driver Start Lap Finish
Jaap Snellrijder (RM) 9 1 1
Ice (CO) 2 4 2
Nero (CO) 1 2 3
Danger Wheel (RB) 7 6 4
Jamonito del Verde (ORC) 6 5 5
Launch Bornado (RM) 8 8 6
The Stig (SB) 4 3 7
Captain Slow (SB) 3 7 8
Jaronimus Maximus (ORC) 10 9 9
Mater (RB) 5 10 10, dnf

Sochi marks the third time we’ve raced a track that we raced last year, and Jaap’s victory makes him the first driver to win twice on the same track.  It’s also his second victory of the year, coming after a pair of disappointing 7th pace finishes since his win in Monaco.  Coupled with Jaronimus’ worst race of the season, Jaap edges out his Osito Racing Company rival to move back into first place.

Ice’s 2nd place finish pulls him all the way from 9th up to 6th in the driver standings, while Nero gets out of the cellar for the first time since the first race of the season.  Danger Wheel finshed 4th for the fourth time this year, which pushes him up to 3rd in the overall standings.

Intriguingly, the Sochi results have left us with a pair of ties in the driver standings.  Launch and Jamonito are now tied for 4th place, just 3 points behind Danger Wheel, while Mater and the Stig are tied for 7th, just 4 points behind Ice.

At the team level, Cobalt’s 33 points are easily their best of the season, and second best ever.  It puts them back ahead of Scandinavian Blitz.  Regency Motors, meanwhile, takes back a slim lead over Osito Racing Company.  Red Bull stays in 3rd.

Race Gallery

Russia Preview

Just like last year, our 7th race of the season will be held in Sochi, Russia.  Located on the northeast edge of the Black Sea, the Formula 1 circuit runs through the 2014 Winter Olympic host city.

The track places the starting grid far back on the longest straight, which means that cars near the back of the grid will have plenty of time to gather up speed into turn 1.  It’s therefore unlikely that those at the front will have any significant advantage from a speed standpoint.  However, as we’ve seen at some of our other races this year, the presence of two additional cars in the field mean that the corner has a good chance of being blocked off, forcing those at the back to slow down just to avoid contact.

Turn 2 is a sweeping left hander that was the site of Ice knocking Nero out of the race a year ago.  It can be taken at speed and may be a good spot for overtaking.  What follows will then be a series of sharp, 90 degree corners in quick succession.  This section is a key rhythm section of the track, and opens up on a back straight which is the only place other than the front straight to engage the higher gears.

The third sector is highlighted by the complicated turn 8, where cars will be forced to slow significantly after the back straight.  Two more 90 degree right handers then spit the cars onto the tail end of the starting grid for the long pit straight.  It’s worth noting that the entrance to pit lane immediately follows the final corner, meaning anyone carrying too much speed through there may not be able to enter the pits at all.

Last year’s race in Sochi was marked by the aforementioned elimination of Nero in turn 2, which was particularly significant given that it was his teammate Ice who caused the collision.  Captian Slow also made his mark, slipstreaming past Danger Wheel at the final moment to snatch 4th place.  The victor, was Jaap, who started 8th and last on the grid, making it the lowest grid position anyone came from to win last year.  That has since been eclipsed twice, once by himself, and once by Jaronimus, both of whom won races after starting 9th this year.

Starting Grid

The results of Germany have caused a minor shuffling of the starting grid order for Russia, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that Nero will start on pole position.  Despite his 3rd place finish, he hasn’t moved up out of the bottom of the standings, and will start his 5th consecutive race at the front.  With Ice’s poor showing Cobalt locks out the front row.

  1. Nero (CO)
  2. Ice (CO)
  3. Captain Slow (SB)
  4. The Stig (SB)
  5. Mater (RB)
  6. Jamonito del Verde (ORC)
  7. Danger Wheel (RB)
  8. Launch Bornado (RM)
  9. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  10. Jaronimus Maximus (ORC)

Pit selection is reverse order of average starting grid position, which means that despite Osito Racing Company leading the team standings, they won’t get first choice of pits.  Jamonito’s higher grid slot means that Regency Motors has a slightly worse average start position, so they’ll have the first choice.

  1. Regency Motors
  2. Osito Racing Company
  3. Red Bull
  4. Scandinavian Blitz
  5. Cobalt

No driver has Sochi as their home race this year, so all will be on equal footing.  The long approach to turn 1 means that starting position will be less important than it typically is.  However, pit selection may be more important than normal given that the entrance to pit lane is right after turn 10.

Russia Recap

Our April trip to the Russian resort city of Sochi marked the middle of three races in Europe to end the season.  The weather was partly cloudy with temperatures in the upper 60’s and the track was dry.

At the front of the grid, Mater sat poised for his most important race of the season.  Anything lower than 2nd place would automatically eliminate him from the driver’s championship.  Behind him, the white cars of The Stig and Captain Slow waited for their chance to get back in the hunt, too.  They each needed a 4th place or better showing.  Ahead of them lay the long straight that led to turn 1, and the knowledge that higher speeds at this track meant the back of the grid would have time to close in fast. Here’s how the full grid looked:

P1 – Mater (Ryan)
P2 – The Stig (Jason)
P3 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P4 – Danger Wheel (Ryan)
P5 – Nero (Lonny)
P6 – Launch Bornado (Frank)
P7 – Ice (Lonny)
P8 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)

The lights went out and everyone began the rapid process of upshifting as fast as possible along the lengthy front straight.  The Stig managed to edge past Mater and into a temporary lead, while Danger Wheel scooted past the reluctant Captain Slow. With Launch Bornado charging up the right side and Captain Slow dragging his feet on the left, Nero made his move up the middle. Unfortunately, his front wing suffered damage in the process, having barely even passed the starting line.

Mater recovered to take back the lead by turn 2 with Launch Bornado charging hard enough to join the pack chasing him. Nero took a more cautious line through the first two turns. His teammate, Ice, desperate to catch up with the leaders from a distant 7th, charged through the second turn. As he came around the outside of Nero, he misjudged their relative speed and Nero was sent off the track and out of the race.

Sochi Nero Crashes Lap 1 Turn 2

Ice suffered minor front wing damage which would plague his efforts to catch up, as the Cobalt crew back in the pits rued the development.  Mater hit turn 4 ahead of the others, but the racing was so tight that all 6 of the remaining cars were fighting through it at the same time.

Sochi Lap1 Turn 4 Congestion

The Stig was fastest on the inside line and flew past Mater in turn 5 with Jaap taking a similar tack.  He and Mater would get the edge on the Stig through turn 6 and then were drag racing down the long back stretch out of turn 7.  Further back, Launch and Captain Slow kept up with the Stig but Danger Wheel and Ice began to trail behind.

Sochi Lap 1 Turn 8

The only real developments over the third sector were a push from Danger Wheel all the way up to 3rd place and a belabored effort from Launch Bornado, who couldn’t find a rhythm through turn 8 and 9.  Most drivers, having suffered some form of damage due to all the tight racing, opted for extended repairs.  Jaap’s quick pit wasn’t quick enough to keep up with Mater on the front straight, and he began to pull away.  Launch, having raced a cautious but clean first lap, decided to forgo the pits entirely.

Sochi Lap 2 Turn 2

Mater’s efforts to get away from Jaap came for naught after Jaap went full gangbusters through turns 2 and 3.  Behind them, the rest of the field began to stratify.  Danger Wheel held a comfortable 3rd place over Launch and Captain Slow.  The Stig was struggling to keep up and Ice was almost a non-factor.

The second sector saw things start to shift around again.  At first, Mater reestablished himself over Jaap through turn 5, but Jaap caught him again in turn 7 while carrying greater speed down the long straight.  Behind them, Launch was mounting a charge, catching Danger Wheel in turn 5 and passing him in turn 7.  Ice even caught up with the Stig, both of them beginning to threaten Captain Slow in 5th place.  Jaap’s blazing path down the back stretch forced him to downshift hard into turn 8, giving Mater and Launch a chance to catch up.

Sochi Lap 2 Turn 8

Danger Wheel was being equally challenged by Captain Slow, who’d managed to shake the Stig and Ice.  In the end, Jaap was able to pull away from Launch and Mater.  Launch’s charge through lap 2 had left him needing to nurse his tires, and that was enough for Mater to take 2nd place.  The battle for 4th turned out to be the most thrilling.  Both Danger Wheel and Captain Slow came out of turn 10 onto the front straight in strong position, but Danger Wheel was just ahead.  He floored it and barelled down the front straight in what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.  However, Captain Slow followed inches behind, ultimately using the advantage of Danger Wheel’s slipstream to pull past him at just the last moment and cross the line in 4th.

Sochi Cpt Slow Edges Danger Wheel

Ice momentarily passed the Stig for 6th in turn 9, but the Stig went for broke through turn 10 to take 6th place.

Final Results

Driver Start Lap Finish
Jaap Snellrijder (RM) 8 2 1
Mater (GT) 1 1 2
Launch Bornado (RM) 6 5 3
Captain Slow (SB) 3 4 4
Danger Wheel (GT) 4 3 5
The Stig (SB) 2 6 6
Ice (CO) 7 7 7
Nero (CO) 5 8, dnf 8, dnf

Outside of the Cobalt garages, one could reasonably argue that this was the most thrilling race of the season so far.  There were numerous high speed passes and quite a bit of jockeying for position.  The condensed racing through the first sector provided a number of thrilling moves, including Launch slipstreaming past Captain Slow into turn 5 on the second lap.  Clearly, he learned something from that maneuver.  His catching Danger Wheel at what was literally the last possible moment is one of the highlights of the year.

With his victory, Jaap Snellrijder has locked up the season championship.  He’s the first driver to win multiple races and has matched Ice with 4 podiums on the year.  Ice’s victory from 5th place in Germany has now been eclipsed by Jaap’s 8th place start as the farthest back anyone has started and won.  Launch Bornado’s 3rd place finish ties Ice at 4 podiums and edges him one point ahead of Ice in the standings for 2nd place.

Mater got the 2nd place finish he needed to have any shot at the driver’s championship, but that was predicated on Jaap finishing 8th.  The best he can do now is 2nd, which requires a lot of other things to go in his favor.  Neither of the Scandinavian Blitz drivers have a shot at any of the top 3 spots.  Danger Wheel and Mater are both closing the gap on Nero after his consecutive DNF’s, with just 4 points separating the three drivers heading into our final race of the season.

At the team level, Regency Motors scored 40 points, second only to Cobalt’s performance at Sebring.  That now wraps up the team championship for them.  The race for 2nd, however, is still open to anyone, including Scandinavian Blitz.

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