Photo Credits: Jerry Chen, John Maher and Daniel Kirby
One race only this week in rF2 at CMS, with the NARS making the trip to sunny California with the Hypercars and GTs to take on the Long Beach street circuit. The third week in a row of racing these modern machines, the drivers are coming fully to grips with the capabilities of their cars and how to race both fast and close between the classes.
It was championship leader Daniel Kirby in his Mercedes AMG One that set the time to beat for the Hypercars, a blistering 1:07.949 that was almost a second faster than his closest challenger, Ben Boorman in his Storm Rider Racing Aston Martin Valkyrie. Ross Smith, in his Howl at the nOOn Bugatti Bolide was the fastest Hypercar AM qualifier, a more pedestrian 1:10.472, but still a half second clear of Troy Uyan in another Bolide. Eduardo Beninca powered his JB Motorsport Lexus RCF to top the GT qualifing with a 1:16.986, .04s ahead of Zander Tallman in his V.I.C.E Racing Lamborghini Hurucan EVO 2. In GT AM, it was another V.I.C.E Racing driver, Paul Ibbotson, showing his continuing fine form with the top qualifying run in class, a 1:18.375, .5s clear of Erik Jacobs of JB Motorsports.
The fields got racing in a clean start however it was not long before the tight circuit and it’s wall started to have an impact, literally, on the race. By lap 14 of 51, the 3 of the HC front runners had either retired or tumbled down the standings, as well as HC AM polesitter Smith and the always competitive Lanny Hall. While Kirby disappeared in the distance virtually unchallenged, the remainder of the field found themselves in constant contact, with traffic navigation proving to be a key ingredient to holding advantage over challengers, whether HC or GT. By mid-race, another leader had fallen to the wayside as Paul Ibbotson had an encounter with the walls as HC traffic passed, with the GT AM lead now to be contested by the the Porsche 911 of Eugene Mazur (Pazuzu Racing) and the BMW M6 of Thomas DiLibero (Rum Runners Racing).
At the line, it was Kirby romping to a win in which he lapped all but Brian Hall, who took 2nd in the Hypercars with Norm Graf picking up 3rd. Troy Uyan took the win in Hypercar AM, finishing 4th overall after a penalty dropped Matthew Overton to 7th overall and out of a podium position. Completing the Hypercar AM podium were Ross Smith and Lanny Hall (from the pits). In GT, Eduardo Beninca kept Tallman and Chris Brew just beyond striking distance for the win, while Mazur triumphed in GT AM for his first NARS and CMS win, leading Paul Ibbotson and James Bowder to the line by about 1/2 a lap.
A full slate of racing this coming week as both the MNRL and VWSC take the WSC 1991 cars to Monza while the NARS starts the next short series, multiclass Radical racing featuring the GT3 Turbo and SR3!
You can catch the race stream on the CMS Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Kdp07PvIeW47f0_sM0emw and the full details of the NARS Radical series may be found at https://cmsracing.com/nars-2022-virtual-radical-cup/.