The ASRC SR Formula 3 championship in rFactor 2 has seen its first round at Sebring. Here we have the full official race report.
The first round of the SR Formula 3 2022 championship hosted by ASRC was a success! The turnout was fantastic which resulted in a very healthy grid size and opportunities for close racing up and down the field.
Qualifying looked set to be dominated by AM Forza Simsport and the formidable pairing of Albert Maslennikov and Pavel Ivashkin.
However, representatives from other teams managed to stake a claim for the front few rows as Elliot Simpson and Denis Eschenko managed to take first and second row slots respectively.
It was Albert though who claimed the first pole of the season with a commanding lap a good few tenths clear of Elliot in P2. Lap times varied further down the field as many struggled to contend with the arduous bumps of the final corner at Sebring.
Race 1 saw the top 12 in qualifying reversed and all looked set for some great battles as the quicker qualifiers looked to cut their way through the field in this 20 minute sprint. However, as is quite common in the first round of any league, a rather almighty crash in Turn 1 lap 1 saw the safety car deployed and Vladislav Zenkov found both drivers from his first and second teams filling the top 4 slots.
This wasn’t to last as, when the safety car came in, the Sebring bumps claimed a number of Victims, Vlad included. Elliot Simpson found himself leading for a number of laps before Denis Eschenko managed a scintillating move around the outside to claim first place and ultimately the victory. Meanwhile, a half spin for Elliot and a charging Albert meant that the top three of race 1 was Denis P1, Albert P2 and Elliot P3.
Race 2, the feature race, saw the cars line up on the grid as per their qualifying positions. The race start was much cleaner with all cars managing to survive turn 1 unscathed. The battle for P1 hotted up as the top 3 protagonists from race 1 pulled away from the rest of the field.
Albert had managed to hold on to his lead during the opening laps but made an error on corner exit and suffered a spin which dropped him behind Elliot and Denis who had been right behind him at the time. After this it became a 2 horse race.
Denis applied massive pressure to Elliot, even managing to briefly pass before being re-passed into the next corner However, he eventually made a mistake that caused him to drop behind Elliot by 7 seconds.
Relieved of the pressure, Elliot was able to take the win and set the fastest lap of the race, the first sub 1 minute 55 of the weekend. Denis finished in P2 whilst Albert managed to fend off a late charging Steven Lexow to hold onto P3.
After the first round, Elliot Simpson leads the championship by a small margin to Denis Eschenko whilst ‘Motor Racing Developments Ltd’, consisting of Callum Lloyd, Elliot Simpson and Georgy Aratunyan lead Albert Maslennikov’s team ‘AM Forza Simsport’ by 2 points in the team standings with ‘VMS-Sun Edits Racing’ hot on their heals.
Overall, there was fantastic racing throughout the field. It always takes a race or two to get to know one another and settle into a rhythm but I commend the excellent driving and respect of the drivers to adapt to a very tricky race circuit and still race, for the most part, very cleanly.
We look forward to Road Atlanta where I predict more great racing and some new names on the podium! See you all then!
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