This first Championship round-up has been pretty tricky to get together. First the PSN Maintenance threw a curveball into proceedings, and I felt compelled to postpone the racing for a week for the Monday Championship. Then on the video side of things, where Death_in_Flamez, Chuggy and Liam are creating commentated videos, DiF’s laptop had issues and couldn’t process video for a week.
So it’s taken a while, but we’re finally here to cover the first round of racing from the TSA F1 2012 Championship, brought to you in association with the lovely folk from Elgato Gaming, creators of the Game Capture HD box, and Insert Coin Clothing, makers of many a t-shirt and hoodie based on popular game franchises.
Just before we crack on, people should remember that the clocks go back an hour overnight, and you need to do this manually on the PS3. Please try to remember and not be late for the Sunday racing at 5PM GMT tomorrow.
Right, we’ve got a lot to cover!
Each race will have its own video, with the first being for the first race at Melbourne, Australia. If you want to skip some of the pre-race chat and qualifying videos to the actual racing, that can be found at 7:25 in the video below.
Over to JamboGT for his written view of the action:
Following a rather messy qualifying, which saw myself and CarBoyCam harshly sent to the back of the pack, we lined up on a soggy grid with the front being taken up by Tomjakes and Lee-ma, and Chuggy in third. The start seemed quite tidy and we barrelled down to turn one, trying our best to see through the spray. I managed a good start moving up behind Rob at the start and things remained tidy until braking for turn 3, at which point quite a few drivers misjudged their braking, and mixed things up.
Out of turn three Tom and Lee were leading the way with Kirk up to third, Rob fourth and myself somehow up in fifth. Rob ran a little wide into turn 6, allowing myself and a recovering Chuggy through and then following a small error by myself, Chuggy and I touched giving us both rather unfair penalties. Even more unluckily for me, there was an unfortunate router incident at my house disconnecting me from the race!
Through all of the tricky conditions, Lee and Tom were racing away at the front, with Lee eventually taking the win by half a second after Tom ran deep into a corner on the last lap to surrender the lead. CarBoyCam moved up from the back of the grid to take the final podium spot and Kirk was up next with Chuggy completing the top five.
All in all a trying race for many but a great result for the defending champ!
We head now to Malaysia, where the actual racing kicks off at the 6 minute mark in the video below.
It was a sunny Sepang for qualifying, but that didn’t stop a few of us managing to blow up our engines… Meanwhile, no-one was stopping Lee from coming out on pole, just edging it with three tenths separating him, Chuggy and Tomjakes. CarBoyCam followed his podium up with a strong fourth place on the grid.
As we went to the grid we were delighted to see another wet start for the race, though maybe not such a surprise in Malaysia. We were all on Inters and ready to go and as the lights went out the race was on. Lee made a strong start with Chuggy holding second from Tom on the first lap. Behind, things hadn’t gone quite so smoothly! Keaneplay was spun in a melee into turn one. I’d tried to take a tidy line but skidded in the wet, hitting Keaneplay, spinning him and leaving me with a 10 second penalty.
Rob’s great start had taken him past CarBoyCam, but was halted after the hairpin in the middle of the lap when both he and Camdaz went wide into the gravel dropping them down the grid. This allowed me up a position and then I closed in a little on those ahead before spinning and having to settle for 6th.
The race calmed down a lot after the opening lap, and the top 5 was comprised of the same racers in a slightly different order. Tomjakes took home the honours (after a cheap penalty was quashed) after a strong drive in the wet to pass Lee-ma for the win, and a second podium finish for Cam, with Chuggy in 4th and Kirk in 5th.
The Monday group in which I, Teflon, was racing headed to Australia a week later than the Sunday Championship, and we all took part in one of the craziest races I have ever encountered. Lets not forget that this all happened over the course of just 5 laps.
Now with video from Kirk, Chuggy and Liam.
AshGraham had an unfortunate connection error after qualifying, and everyone agreed to go back to get him, but this merely led to almost everyone committing on-track mistakes for their qualifying attempt. So crazy was this that I sat on pole, dimjim alongside me, with some of the favourites, AshGraham, THLNetwork and Manorhowze starting way down the grid.
I lost out into turn 1 to Jim, before sliding back further, as Manor and Tom charged through the field. Jim and Stanley both made errors on the second lap both needed to pit, letting THL attack Sitorimon for the lead he’d inherited with me catching them up again. Lap 4 saw THL on the verge of losing control through turn 4, locking his brakes, so I selflessly dived in there to straighten him out, whilst putting myself into a full 360 spin. Manor snuck through, very quickly passing Sitorimon for the lead, who dropped back into THL’s clutches.
The final twist in the tale came at the final corner, as Tom outbraked himself, locked up an punted into the back of Sitorimon, cruelly robbing him on a podium and letting myself and Freezebug to pass to splash the lower steps on the podium in Ferrari’s red. Credit where it’s due, and Tom honourably waited for Sitorimon to get back on track and to finish ahead of him, as they came home 4th and 5th.
Now with videos from the commentary team.
Several of the favourites had much better qualifying sessions at Sepang, as Ash lined up on pole alongside Stanley, with Sitorimon and THL right behind. Of the top four it was THL that lost out most in ricocheting carnage at turn one, as the top three managed to escape. It was all about who could make it through or recover the quickest, and after a coming together between Freezebug and Deadpool a few turns later, I managed to get up to 4th with Dimjim and everyone else hot on my heels into the hairpin at turn 9.
Luckily I was able to stay just ahead of the squabbling pack behind me, and pull out a few seconds to secure fourth. Dimjim similarly found himself some room, but Heedbaw, THL and Manor continued to scrap through the race.
I surprised myself on the penultimate lap, setting the fastest time (though Ash took the final honours), and saw Stanley coming back towards me. He had a fairly scrappy final lap, dipping into the gravel as he ran wide a few times, and I was able to squeeze past him down the back straight, before controlling a completely intentional slide through the final turn and just clinging onto third place as he raced me to the line with his DRS flap wide open.
AshGraham had a comfortable victory, a few seconds ahead of Sitorimon, claiming the podium he deserved at Melbourne, whilst I held third from Stanley by less than 1/10th of a second. 20 metres more, and he’d have had me!
Head over to page 2 for the full Championship tables. Even a cross-group Constructors Championship!