Story and Photo Credits: Matthew Overton
May 31, 2022 – This week, the MNRL traveled to Portland for a couple of sprints with the Datsun 510s while NARS took the Radicals to Toban for their second endurance race of the season.
Eduardo Beninca pipped Jason Whited for the pole in the first of the two sprint races, less than 1/2s ahead with a 1:21.489. The tight qualifying battle carried on into R1, with Beninca prevailing by an even smaller margin after 18 laps! Joe Miller placed 3rd, only 8 seconds adrift of the leading pair, attesting to a very hotly contested race.
R2, with the reverse grid, saw equally intense racing, every driver bettering their best race lap timings. Despite Whited’s best efforts, Beninca was able to pass and stay in front of his rival to take the second win of the night . Whited had to content himself with P2 once again, with Miller taking the final podium spot.
In the series championship, Beninca and Whited are tied for top spot going into the final round at Riverside, well clear of Gilles Lalonde, with Steve Carman at the top of the Senior Championship.
The action switched to the venerable Toban fantasy circuit that has been part of the rFactor stable since inception. The practice session pointed out that the nature of the track levelled out characteristics of the two classes, guaranteeing a regular seesaw of action as the drivers looked to maximise the advantage of their car where they could.
Despite the best efforts of the top PRO, Eduardo Beninca to put an SR3 at the front of the grid, it was AM championship leader Paul Ibbotson that grabbed the overall pole, but by the slimmest margin yet at 1:30.510 against 1:31.716. The tight nature of the track did mean however, that GTs were liberally sprinkled amongst the SR3s, setting the stage for an entertaining race.
At the drop of the green, racing was on and the elbows were out as the GTs worked hard to use their superior speed to advantage. The better track holding abilities of the SR3s however, made for few chances and by lap 10, it was only 1 GT at the front, that of Ibbotson, keeping SR3s firmly behind him. Both Stuart Barge and Adrian Wong had their opportunities to get and stay ahead of the PRO field too, however the consistency and patience of the more experienced drivers meant that by the checkered flag, it was Beninca only 24s behind overall winner Ibbotson, with PROs Norm Graf and Brian Hall crossing the finish before Wong. Tom Mountjoy rounded out the AM podium, a lap down but the AM ‘hard charger’ for his efforts.
With 4 rounds complete, Beninca has opened up a 50 point gap to Hall and Graf, while Ibbotson has dominated the AM championship, holding a 100 point lead over his closest rival, Tom Nasella.
This coming week, NARS is the only rF2 league in action at CMS, with Radical sprints at the always entertaining Trembling Mountain circuit.
You can catch all the action on the race streams on the CMS Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Kdp07PvIeW47f0_sM0emw.