The SBMRL’s second trip to Singapore was a long time coming, but the field was set and ready to go under the lights. With just two races in the books, both won by Scandinavian Blitz, there was an opportunity for the red cars to put some distance between themselves and the other three teams, who were all tightly packed. Despite their team success, it was Sprite Racing’s Bubba McQueen who was leading the driver standings. With his teammate in last, here’s how the grid lined up:
P1 – Whiplash (SR)
P2 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P3 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P4 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P5 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P6 – The Stig (SB)
P7 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P8 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
The field got off to a clean start with Whiplash taking his pole position to an early lead. Launch was the early mover, taking the inside line in turn 1, but Sheila and Jaap were also hot in the early going. In fact, Sheila took to the long straight out of Republic Boulevard with enough speed to fly by Whiplash and take the lead in the second sector.
Jaap was also able to catch up with Whiplash at Suntec City, a corner that would see a lot of action. It was there that Bubba and Rask caught up with the Force Ravenswood pair fighting for 4th place. Only the Stig lagged behind.
As Sheila managed the race from the front, and with Jaap and Whiplash behind her, Delilah began to get things all wrong. She started to fall back from Launch, Rask, and Bubba and was soon in a battle with the Stig for last place.
The transition into the third sector proved to be a challenging spot for the drivers all night. Heading from Fullerton Road to the back side of Crossroads was apparently not as easy as it looked. Drivers just couldn’t get the speed right and that often carried over into Esplanade Theaters. It was here that Whiplash reeled Sheila in. Similarly, Rask and Bubba were able to catch up with Jaap and join the fight for third place. Finally, it wasn’t just Delilah fighting the Stig, but they were able to catch up with Launch.
As the first lap completed, Whiplash had run a clean enough lap to forgo the pits. Bubba, who had somehow wormed his way up from last place to second, dove for fresh rubber with Sheila, Jaap, and Rask all forming a procession behind him. A quick pit later, though, and Bubba was joining Whiplash for a Sprite Racing 1-2.
Regency Motors was not to be outdone, and they used their fresh tires to drop Bubba back down to fourth in short order. Delilah and Launch were also fast through the first couple of corners, leaving the Stig behind them and catching back up with Rask.
Delilah was able to fly down the long straight and catch up with Sheila and Jaap at Suntec City, while Bubba was suffering the opposite fate. He must have accidentally gotten an engine setting wrong as he couldn’t get any speed whatsoever. Rask and Launch both passed him and the Stig was closing fast.
It was here that Sheila started to go wrong. Launch and Rask both passed her at Concert Hall. In addition, the Stig was right behind her after leaving Bubba in his dust. At the front, Whiplash continued a smooth race with Delilah and Jaap struggling back and forth in their effort to catch him.
This time on the back side of Crossroads it was Whiplash who didn’t quite get the run into Esplanade Theatres right. This allowed Delilah to pass him there and take over what had appeared to be an insurmountable lead. Rask, meanwhile, was hitting everything right and found himself soon in the fight with Jaap for third place. Behind them, Launch found Sheila’s efforts to be lacking, moving ahead of the earlier race leader, while seeing a hard charging Stig in the mirrors.
Through Carlton Millenia, the penultimate corner, Delilah led Whiplash. However, the story of the race was the reckless charge from the Stig. With Jaap and Rask in a close battle, the Stig threw his car into the mix. He ended up colliding with his teammate Rask, sending both Scandinavian Blitz cars into the barriers and out of the race.
With the red cars in chaos behind them, Delilah led Whiplash out of the final corner but just didn’t have enough power down the straight to take the win. The gave Whiplash a rare victory and left Delilah as the runner up. Jaap was a close third.
With the Stig and Rask out of the race, Launch, Sheila, and Bubba had stratified enough that there really wasn’t any sort of competition for the remaining cars. The finished quietly in the order listed with all the tense battles having been relegated to earlier in the race.
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||2||6||2|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||3||3||3|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||5||7||4|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||4||3||5|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||8||2||6|
|The Stig (SB)||6||8||7, dnf|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||7||5||8, dnf|
Whiplash gets his second career victory after fighting off all comers who were there to challenge him. Unlike some pole position winners, his was not the case of running away with things and coasting to victory. He holds the only two victories that have gone to Sprite Racing.
Delilah recovered from a miserable first lap to match her starting position and record the first podium of her brief career. Jaap gets his 11th career podium and first of this season. Given his success over the past two seasons, it’s a bit surprising to note that he hasn’t finished in 3rd place since Hockenheim in the 2015-16 season. The misfortunes of Scandinavian Blitz mean that the driver standings are extremely tight. Only 7 points now separate Bubba in 1st from Delilah in last.
The team standings are similarly tight, with the team standings now nearly reversed. Sprite Racing moves up into first place for the first time in their history, aided by 3 consecutive podiums to start the year. The other three teams are separated by just 3 points, with Force Ravenswood leading the group in 2nd place. They sit just 7 points back of Sprite, meaning only 10 points separate the field.
It’s not terribly uncommon for a driver here and there to finish in the same position that they started the race in. Prior to this year’s race in Singapore, there had been 32 such occurrences in 28 races. It’s most common for this to happen from pole position. The race winner had come from pole on 8 different occasions, with the runner-up having started 2nd six different times. Before Singapore, those two events had never happened in the same race. There were only two occasions where the podium was populated with multiple drivers starting and finishing in the same slot. In both cases those were 1st and 3rd place finishers, and the races in question were Austin in 2016 and … Singapore 2015. Naturally, this year we had the top three drivers on the grid populate the podium in the same order that they started. The only other time the top 3 finishers all started in the top 3 was at the Nurburgring in 2017.
This year’s Singapore race, despite how tense it was and all the potential for various finishing combinations, actually produced the smallest difference between the starting grid and finishing order in SBMRL history. Bubba was the only driver to finish more than 1 position from where he started, inheriting 6th place in the final sector after starting 8th. That amounts to a 0.66 standard deviation from starting position. The next closest race had a 1.12 standard deviation from starting position. That was last year’s race at Suzuka, which Scandinavian Blitz would also like to forget. The race with the highest amount of change was Monaco 2016, at 2.79. Hmm… Scandinavian Blitz had a double DNF there, too…
There have been 6 occasions where a team has had a double DNF. Cobalt at Valencia in 2017, which was the final race of the 2016-17 season, and Scandinavian Blitz five times. They’ve now done it at Austin 2015, Monaco 2016, Interlagos 2017 (consecutive with Monaco), Suzuka 2017, and Singapore 2018 (this race).