A beautiful day welcomed the SBMRL to the Circuit de Catalunya for the final race of the 2018-19 season. After 9 months of racing the season’s champions were soon to be decided with one final race for glory. For one final time, the SBMRL grid lined up as follows:
P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P4 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)
The cars lined up and the lights went out and all but one car came off the line cleanly. Jaap found himself sitting still on the grid as the rest of the field began their race around him. He quickly found gear, but not before Delilah and Whiplash put him squarely in last place.
At the front of the field, Sheila, Launch, and Rask moved to the front of the pack as Bubba dropped back. The first sector saw the three front runners battling back and forth until Launch and Rask pulled out a narrow edge over Sheila’s yellow Regency Motors car. The real mover and shaker, though, was Whiplash. The season’s top driver continued to show the form that put him in the driver standings lead, charging past Delilah and Bubba to get in the fight for 4th place with the Stig.
The Stig, feeling the charge, stepped up his race in the second sector. He caught up with Sheila and left Whiplash behind in his quest for 3rd place. With Rask at the front in a duel with Launch, Scandinavian Blitz was looking quite racy.
At the very back of the field, the trio of Bubba, Delilah, and Jaap struggled along. Jaap, who’s season had been on the upswing after three straight second place finishes, looked spent. However, it was Bubba who would soon find himself out of the race. Pushing hard around the final corner of the first lap, he heard a pop and his engine had gone. Just like that, a second straight DNF to finish the year.
By this point, the front runners were already into their second lap, but to rewind for a moment, as Delilah and Rask came around the final corner, Delilah had a slight edge. In an effort to keep ahead of her rival, she skipped the pits and drove on down the straight, while Rask opted for fresh rubber.
The Scandinavian Blitz pit crew was up to the challenge, and Delilah wasn’t even into the first corner when Rask was coming out of pit lane. At the same time, Sheila and the Stig were heading in, with Whiplash trailing them.
Rask caught Delilah in short order, and found the fresh set of tires was more than up to the task of pulling away from her in the first sector. The Stig came out of the pits in 3rd place, and Whiplash caught up with Sheila at the first corner to round out the midfield. Jaap and Delilah puttered along at the rear.
As had been the case for most of the race, there were never any real challengers to Rask and Launch up front. Unlike the first lap, the two front runners lost touch with each other and Launch wasn’t able to mount any additional challenges to Rask. The two had rather uneventful drive to the finish line.
The Stig’s hold on 3rd place was a bit more tenuous, and it begins with the battle for 4th. As the midfield began the second lap, the Stig was ahead when Sheila was caught up by Whiplash. This arrangement, the Stig in front with Sheila and Whiplash fighting each other would last through the first sector until Wurth. It was there that Whiplash got the Stig within reach, and there that Sheila lost touch with both of them.
What none of them fully gathered, was that behind them, Delilah was charging. The corner after Wurth is Campsa, and while Whiplash struggled here, Delilah caught him and Sheila. In fact, Delilah was charging with such speed and skill that she soon found herself in front of not just Sheila and Whiplash, but the Stig as well.
As a brief aside, Jaap’s exploits on the second lap are best left to the simple assertion that he did finish the race. The less said about his efforts to get there, the better.
The third sector, then was all that remained in the season for the four cars still hoping to claim 3rd place. Having seen Delilah’s aggression in the second sector, the Stig proceeded to tackle the third sector in kind. He charged through Banc Sabadell to get ahead of the group.
Delilah moved in front again in Europcar, with the Stig and Sheila each just a car length back. Whiplash had faded, leaving just these three to fight it out. As they rounded New Holland, the final corner, Delilah was ahead by just a nose over the Stig. Sheila was right there with them, and it would be a drag race to the finish.
That drag race would see the Stig pass Delilah on the pit straight to put two Scandinavian Blitz cars on the podium for the second time this year. Sheila carried speed down the straight as well, but Delilah was ahead by just enough to pip her for 4th.
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||4||2||1|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||2||1||2|
|The Stig (SB)||5||4||3|
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||7||6||4|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||1||3||5|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||6||7||7|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||3||8||8, dnf|
Rask’s victory gives him bookend wins on the year, having taken the season opener at Road America. After struggling through the middle part of the season, it’s a nice way to end it and leaves him 3rd in the driver standings, ahead of his more experienced teammate.
Launch’s podium extends his SBMRL record to 17, now two ahead of Jaap. It’s only his 3rd of the season and his best finish this year, in what can only be described as a bit of a disappointing year. He finished down in 6th place, the first time he’s not been in the top 3.
The Stig edging out Delilah for third means that he gets his fourth podium of the year. However, there are much bigger implications as well. With Whiplash’s poor showing in the race, finishing in 6th place, Delilah ended up just 1 point shy of taking home the driver’s championship. Had she edged out the Stig for the final podium spot, she’d have won it. Instead, Whiplash backs into the win.
The Stig and Delilah’s finish also determined the team championship. By earning 3 more points for the race, Scandinavian Blitz won the title over Force Ravensood by those same 3 points.