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S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT

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1 S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 14th April 2015, 10:56 am



rFactor Racers World Formula 1 League
Season 8 Round 1
Chinese Grand Prix
April 12th 2015
The cast of RFR reassembled after the Easter break for the first race of the new season, and the 5th Chinese Grand Prix. It was the second time the Shanghai circuit has hosted the opening event, and after an inter-season break with a lot of ‘out of all races’ outbursts, it was a depleted field of 16 cars that took to the grid to set a new record for lowest ever attendance at a season opener.
The Renault team swept all before them, taking pole, win, fastest lap, second on the podium and a 43 point maximum score, to set an ominous shape of things to come.
Adrian S Shole took his 40th career pole position, with Joe McLaggen edging out Antonio Hreljanovic by just 0.005 seconds to prevent an all Renault front row. Defending champion Tom McKay was a further 0.35 back, with less than half a second covering p4-10.
Speaking after qualifying Shole said “Despite getting pole, I was two tenths off and I don't know where that time went missing.” McLaggen said he “knew it would be hard to beat the Renault guys” and was “happy” to get between them - “so whatever that show we can be there is a good motivation for the team.” Hreljanovic believed he could have done a better job: “I was fastest in first two sectors which would end up being 31.1 time with my last sector from previous laps but I messed it all up in last sector somehow.
There was drama before the race even started as CueballUK arrived just 5 minutes before lights out. He was hurried through scrutineering and was granted permission to make his 47th race start by the stewards based on historical form. Alex Hill suffered an electrical problem in the garage between qualifying and the race and was unable to take the start.
The field got away cleanly on the first lap in what would be an uncharacteristically uneventful race for RFR. Shole took a comfortable lead and was joined in a Renault 1-2 formation after Hreljanovic dealt with McLaggen on the opening lap. McLaggen, running a heavier car and planning on only 1 pit stop would also drop behind McKay and the fast starting Arek, both on 2 stop strategies. However, an intense, race long, ‘sido by sido’ battle between McKay and Arek would greatly benefit McLaggen and Sven (also 1 stopping) and eventually cost the pair the chance of a podium finish.
Behind the leading six, Sexy Briagdeiro and Wez collided in the long turn 1 on the 4th lap and cost the former the chance of a top 5 finish. The latter had his race further wrecked by a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. This allowed Juan Caires, to score 8th position on his 34th start and first since last season’s opening round.
Mattie Redford collided with Denis Belarus in the last corner of lap 5 to compound a miserable pre season for the 4 time race winner. Redford would be relegated to 12th after the race, behind Denis, but ahead of final finisher Alaster, promoting BlackFox into the final points position.
Further back, Mike Henry Jr forgot to enter the pits at the end of lap 9, ran out of fuel, and ground to a halt on the pit straight to the despair of his mechanics. CueballUK’s first race since Austria Season 6 came to an agonising end just yards from the start of the pit lane for the same reason.
Meanwhile, at the front, Shole comfortably made his way back past the 1 stoppers to take a comfortable win, and 14th career hat-trick from long time team mate Hreljanovic, who had got the better of final podium finisher McLaggen. Sven led 3 laps on the way to P4, and Arek rounded out the top 5 after finally clearing McKay after the 2nd round of stops, and Brigaderio with a few laps to go.
Speaking after the race Shole said it was “Obviously a great start to the season. Unlike other seasons, over the winter we spent a lot of time developing the car for race pace and it seemed to have paid off.” His team mate added that the “race was good” but that he been having some gearbox problems throughout the race: “Lap 6 I think I got first of double downshifts in last corner and spun out losing some time which could have cost me 2nd place in the end. Later I got some more double downshifts but managed to control them with steadier driving.
Despite missing out on P2, McLaggen was upbeat: “The race was exciting... FSONE mod allows close fights...which make the races very enjoyable.” Speaking about his team’s chances to fight for the championship he said “This season I think we both have chances for podium and to score many many points. So all in all is good to see the team is strong and feels motivated. Looking forward to the next GP and I'm sure the team will come back strong for the Bahrain GP looking for more!
The Renault team believe this dominant display will be a one off: “From what I've seen, the mod is very sensitive to tracks and setup changes. I don't expect many repeats of our result (we'd need 4 weeks of testing before each race), so bring on the great battles that FSONE always seems to deliver” said Shole. Hreljanovic added “I’m happy with result for the team and I hope we can keep on in next races although as Adrian said much work is needed to do that”.
The other teams will be hoping to make up the difference at the next race in Bahrain on April 19th; a track with very different characteristics and demands on the car. But it seems the Renault pair are already the bookies’ favourites for a 3rd WCC title.

See you in Bahrain! The race will start 30 minutes earlier than normal (14:30 BST UK time) due to the FIA F1 race being held at 4pm BST UK Time.



2 Re: S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 14th April 2015, 1:17 pm


Nice report!  Smile Reading it I felt like the race was real Razz

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3 Re: S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 14th April 2015, 5:04 pm


League Director
League Director
Very well done Tom I had to LOL all the time reading it Very Happy

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4 Re: S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 14th April 2015, 11:15 pm

Very nice report! Great job Smile

                                                                            Team Pet Shark
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5 Re: S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 15th April 2015, 8:20 am

Nice report Tom!! Keep it like that!! Very Happy

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6 Re: S8 R1 Chinese GP - RACE REPORT on 15th April 2015, 8:38 am

awesome report Tom! really feel it as a real race reading it

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