CoRe Podium in PC & Top 6 in GTE!
The second season of the iRacing Sports Car Open series is here – and the opener was held at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with a tough eight hours race. CoRe SimRacing was competing with one Prototype Challenge entry including Santeri Kallunki, Maxime Pauly & Maik Paluch and two CoRe GTE teams, where one of them pre-qualified in Imola over a month ago. For the season start it had Marco Nesi, Marius Golombeck, Thomas Arends and Janne Kiuru behind the wheels. CoRe PC qualified in P3, the CoRe GTE cars started from P6 and P9.
It was a rollercoaster ride of feelings for the CoRe PC entry. Qualifying did not go as intended and only P3 was the maximum Santeri could get out of his single hotlap without an incident. The GTE class was definitely higher in competition – a 6th and an 8th position from the grid for CoRe was therefor justified as an solid start into the series. The green flag for the second season flew – and Santeri was able to catch the lead in PC after a couple of laps already. Marius and Janne, who did the start for GTE, were able to advance one position each. But the problem was not the starting procedure, it was the major traffic which kicked in after few minutes. The P1 class including the 919 Porsche LMP cars, were smashing by. Santeri tried to overtake the GTE traffic in front before Blanchimont and pushed off Mivano’s LMP by accident. They were trying to lap traffic at the same time and Santeri forced a 3-wide situation, making both run wide. Losing control as a result, the 919 of Mivano crashed into the CoRe HPD’s side and caused a huge chain reaction which took out several teams. Although Santeri survived that incident, a drive through penalty for CoRe PC given by the stewards made the team fall back to the end of the field even more.
On the other hand – it was a solid race by both GTE CoRe entries. Without major issues both Ford GT’s from CoRe were able to get their stints down properly. One breathtaking highlight was the overtake on the start-finish line by Marius where he accidentally pushed the CoRe HPD off the track. Maxime and Maik where starting the comeback in PC but the effort was thrown back after a fuel issue in mid race. After 8h of racing and some close moments on track, the CoRe PC car finished 3rd after a quick splash & dash in the last ten minutes. Thomas and Marco, who had some on-track battles against each other, did their job to bring home the CoRe GTE entries in 5th and 6th position.
The team was satisfied with the outcome, nevertheless everybody was expecting a bit more. Santeri, Maxime & Maik had to confess : “We had 10 laps of damage, a drive through penalty and then a 2 minutes 30 seconds tow – we still got P3 which is a miracle, but a victory was possible here.” Thomas & Janne had to say : “I really enjoyed the race, I think it is a really positive first effort with the Ford GT. This car was great for Spa.” The next race will be a four hours race at Monza. The broadcast of this race can be found here : [Part 1 / Part 2]