The Opening round of the iRacing V8 Supercar Series headedto Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the first appearance back there for a few years.With all the changes during week 13 it was going to make for a reallyinteresting season.
Qualifying for Round One was led by defending serieschampion Madison Down with a 1:24.320 while Mitchell McLeod, now driving for4Motorsports, would start on the front row for the first time in just over ayear in the main series. Justin Ruggier and Josh Muggleton would start fromthird and fourth while Richard Hamstead and Rens Broekman would start from thethird row. John Emerson and Vail Riches from TTL locked out the fourth row withCorey Slade and Brad Ryan rounded out the top 10.
When the lights went green it was Down leading the way intoturn one with Ruggier right behind, for McLeod starting from second left himout wide and just managed to hold onto third while Hamstead’s great start wouldleave him on the outside for turn three, which allowed Muggleton back throughand pushed Hamstead back into fifth place.
Into turn two Marlon McMullen would go down the inside ofTrevor Johnson, unfortunately Johnson didn't realise McMullen was there andturned down into him. Matthew Barron on the outside was a bystander and wasspun due to the contact; Chris Stone and Sean Maher also got caught up in theaccident and had a lot of damage to the front of their cars.
On lap nine, exiting the corkscrew McLeod made an error andran wide, allowing Muggleton to move up into third place. Tony Autridge blewhis engine – Autridge he would become the first driver to retire from the race.
The race settled into a rhythm with Down continuouslypulling away from the rest of the field. On lap 14 coming onto the mainstraight Leigh Ellis would nail the last corner but Robert Hartley was just abit slower at the apex and unfortunately for Hartley he was spun around whenEllis made slight contact.
On lap 17 into turn one Hamstead locked a left front underbrakes and couldn’t get the car stopped, hitting the back of McLeod while hewas turning, which sent him around. Emerson tried to take evasive action butgot hit in the right front tyre and gave him a meatball flag. Hamsteadre-addressed which moved them back down the order but still inside the top 10.
A few laps later when Slade was right behind Hamstead he puta wheel off into turn six and car went straight off into the dirt on theoutside. With a few laps to go an awesome battle was heating up betweenMcMullen and Ellis with both drivers going side by side through multiplecorners and trading positions. McMullen ended up with the spot.
Up front it was the Madison Down show, continuing where heleft off from his Championship win last season. Down would dominate here atLaguna Seca and take the flag first with Justin Ruggier and new tatts.comdriver Josh Muggleton rounding out the podium.
Rens Broekman in his new looked Dynamic Simsport car managedto climb up into fourth position with Brad Ryan gaining five places to finishinside the top five.
Mitchell McLeod would fight back and finish in sixth placewhile Vail Riches and Richard Hamstead would come home in seventh and eighth.Corey Slade and Mitchell Abrahall would round out the top 10.
Round One would also reach a new high for the iRacing V8Supercar Series with over 130 people signing up to the race to make it the highestin the series history!
Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall 1. Madison Down –281 2. Justin Ruggier –268 3. Joshua Muggleton–255 4. Rens Broekman – 242 5. Brad Ryan – 229
Split Two Winner: Leigh Day Split Three Winner: Wayne Bourke2 Split Four Winner: Henry King Split Five Winner: Colin Boyd Split Six Winner: Luke Betts
Broadcast done by the crew at www.v8sonline.com.au.