The final week of the two groups in the F1 Championship is here, and it went right down to the wire to see just who would make it to the overall finals. All the fun and shenanigans are brought to you in association with the lovely folks 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.
The commentated videos take a lot of time to get organised and uploaded, so we’ll be adding those in as they come along. Unfortunately, this time it was Youtube throwing a hissy fit, so we have an uncommentated video to start us off, with the other added in as we go along.
Over to James for the report on the Sunday group. Although he wasn’t actually there, I’m punishing him for his absenteeism by making him write about it for you all:
Well, according to reports qualifying started off greasy and only got worse. As is tradition at Spa the conditions changed halfway through the session and the track dried out again, giving the racers a bit of a headache when it came to choosing what tyres to use and deciding when to go out.
This left a lot of position changes to right at the end when the track was at its driest. Despite all of this it ended up with a few familiar names at the top of the timesheets. Lee took pole with Tom joining him on the front row. Rob threw in another great performance to take third with CBC filling the second row. The Mercedes boys completed the top half of the grid on the third row.
We head over to a temporary video, without any commentary to it. Bliss! Just skip to around 4:40 for the actual footage, since before then you’ll just have silence!
Presumably it was all very exciting. I don’t know, I wasn’t there! La Source provided the usual spills with DiF and Camdaz ending up being the losing parties. At the front Chuggy made a great start moving up to third by the time they had reached Pouhon, and this was to be the end of any changes with the top three as the gaps started to stretch out from here. Lee comfortably took the win from Tom with Chuggy filling the podium.
Further back Rob wasn’t quite so lucky. After Chuggy got past him, Rob made a slight lift causing his car to go out of his control, which ended up with him hard in the wall, losing the front wing and gaining a puncture with half of the long lap of Spa to go! A further incident at the bus-stop left Rob with another broken wing and from there he ended up last of the cars still running out on track. This was all in stark contrast to CBC, who had a quiet race, started fourth, finished fourth and that’s about it really!
Following their turn one issues DIF and Camdaz made different decisions; DIF headed for the pits for an early switch to the hard tyres whilst Camdaz fought through the traffic. After Camdaz’s pitstop he came out 3 seconds behind and attempted to chip away at the gap for the rest of the race. This was a very important position as Camdaz needed the extra points to qualify for the final. However despite his best efforts DIF held on to take fifth by just over a second.
All of this meant that there was barely any movement on the leaderboards, with the top 8 going into the race coming out of the race having all qualified for the finals.
Thankfully the sun was out and the Bernie Sprinklers safely put away for Monday’s race at Spa, and the qualifying seemed to go pretty smoothly. Ash set himself a great time to take 1st, with James_m2603 again showing a lot of pace to place 2nd. Manor thought he had 3rd place locked up securely, but I (teflon) put in a last moment dash after the flag had dropped, dodging around AI controlled moving road-block to sneak past him into 3rd place myself, much to his chagrin.
The big battle for the 8th spot in the championship was going to go to the wire. Colin qualified in 8th and needed a good finish to cling onto it, whilst James was up near the front hoping to leap well up the standings with a podium. Also in the hunt were Dimjim and Freezebug, who had qualified 10th and 12th respectively. Still, anything can happen come race day.
I seemed to have quite an exciting race, so we’ll hop onboard with my own video this time around:
Off the start, most people seemed to get away quite well and make it through La Source cleanly, before going single file through Au Rouge and down the long straight. James got a great run on Ash here, and, as he did at Silverstone, put in a gutsy move to take the lead into Les Combes. Ash then ran wide, letting me through, but it was Manor who saw the tiniest glimmer of an opportunity and dove up the inside of us both to take 2nd place.
It was all going so well until we got to the Bus Stop, where Manor braked early, and I gave him a light tap to send him a little deep. As we tried to recover, Ash, THL and what felt like a hoard of stampeding buffalo smashed in, creating quite a mess and putting me into a 720º spin! Sitorimon made the jump up to 3rd, with a lot of people gaining places from the smash.
Ash and I had a lot of work to do, and I was able to push back past several cars very quickly before chasing after the battling Heedbaw and Freezebug. Ash was feeling a little held up, and dropped into the pits early on lap 4. THL had lost his front wing though, and had to dive into the pits. Colin was also having a bad race, and he and Tom engaged in a race-long tussle over the final few points positions.
Up at the front, Manorhowze was unable to catch James, but when James pitted on lap 5 he decided to stay out much longer on his soft tyres and try to go faster. James came out of the pits right alongside myself and Heedbaw, who were battling over 4th place at the time. We must have held him up a little, and when I pitted on lap 6 they were still at it, so that Manorhowze was able to come out in the lead after his own stop.
The battle for the final qualifying spot was particularly cruel on all involved. After 5 laps Freezebug2 was disconnected from the network, which was rather disheartening as he’d been running in a strong 6th place. It didn’t stop there though, as Colin had been having a bad race too and dropped down the order, whilst James had been running so strongly in 2nd place made a single error, lost his front wing and subsequently retired from the race! Dimjim’s tale is much more controversial, though.
Manorhowze brought the race home quite comfortably in 1st, whilst Sitorimon held onto 2nd place. Ash and myself had tussled for a few laps over 3rd place, whilst also catching up to Sitorimon on the final lap, but Ash span out on the last lap, and started to limp home. I passed him to take the final podium spot, with Heedbaw and Stanley also passing for 4th and 5th. Dimjim just managed to get past his brother on the last turn to take 6th place with Ash then taking 7th place.
This means that Dimjim takes the final qualifying spot from Colin, who was only able to come 9th (post penalty removal)! He’s one lucky boy.
All of which means that the qualifying racers for the final tomorrow are (in championship order):
Sunday: Tomjakes, Lee-ma, CarBoyCam, Chuggy, Death_in_Flamez, Ro6afc11, Keaneplay and JamboGT.
Monday: Manorhowze, AshGraham99,Sitorimon, Teflon, Heedbaw, Stanley1664, THLNetwork and Dimjim94.
Head over to page 2 for the various championship tables to see exactly how everyone did.
The race tomorrow sees everyone head to Suzuka, Japan for a 50% race.