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IVRA Endurance: Late Drama Means Victory for Satellite Racing

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In a race that was marred by chaos, cautions and even a red flag, it was Satellite Racing who eventually took the victory in the GSI Endurance Series by IVRA opener at Road America. It would be heartbreak for Puresims Esports, as the reigning champions got caught up in an incident with the Rusty Spatulas Porsche with just 11 laps to go, handing the win to Alex Gal and Satellite Racing.

It was a calm qualifying session with few incidents, where those who got their heads down and set their own laps instead of worrying about traffic got the fastest laps. Reigning champions Archer Brother Esports did the business first in GT3, followed by ATRS Esports in GT3 Pro, and Urano Esports in LMP2.

The opening half hour of the race, however, was anything but incident-free. The first caution was brought out just six laps in as Element Simracing came to a halt following a pile up involving five GT3 cars. The second caution had an even bigger incident, as Alpinestars Geodesic’s Miguel Vigo had a technical failure that resulted in the Mercedes’ retirement and near catastrophe for those behind having to avoid him.

This opening period of disorder created two different ideas about how to continue with this race. Some came into the pits and topped off with fuel, while others elected to stay out and take their chances. Veloce were one of the teams to stay out, and would rotate leadership throughout the first half of the race with Puresims Esports and Urano Esports, who came in under the first and second cautions respectively.

The race situation remained stable until the halfway mark, with the teams getting over 100 laps under green before an iRacing bug brought out a rare Red Flag. As a result, the race had somewhat of a reset but with a reduced field and only 500 miles remaining.

© IVRA

Urano Esports got the race underway from the front in LMP2 and would hold it until the next round of pit stops, while the lead would change hands in GT3, as Archer Brothers Esports overtook Maniti Racing almost immediately. Impulse Racing held the GT3 Pro lead for the whole green flag run.

The run would eventually end with huge drama. Just after they made a pit stop, Daniel Alves Lourenco got onto the grass after passing a lapped car, spearing the LMP2 into the wall hard and bringing an end to Urano Esports’ day. Since they had just made a stop, Satellite Racing vaulted into the lead for the first time, as the ensuing caution vastly changed the running order.

Towards the end of the stint, with around 80 laps to go, SRC Mivano Corse took the lead for the first time although Satellite Racing needed a longer stop anyway, and would fall back. More incidents, this time for Quasar Sim Racing, brought out a caution that shuffled the order again.

© IVRA

Despite the recency of the last stops, most teams pitted again knowing that they would only need 2 more stops before the end with no fuel saving needed, although Satellite Racing decided to stay out. GT3 Pro and GT3 teams knew they’d only need one more stop, and so most came in from that class too.

And so the scene was set for a dash to the finish. Previous race leaders Veloce started back in the pack and had lots of work to do, something that only got worse when they found themselves in the wall after locking up into Turn 1.

GT3 was the category to get sorted first, as a spectacular restart from Johnny Verhoeff, and some mistakes from Archer Brothers Esports, meant the win would be going to Maniti Racing fairly convincingly. Orion Race Team and Deutche Payment Esports led the other classes on the restart, and held on for an admirably long time.

© IVRA

However, this would come to an end in a matter of minutes with 41 laps to go, as Orion had a spin in the final corner and Deutsche Payment Esports were hit by an LMP2 at the Kink. This meant that Jonas Wallmeier for Urano Esports was gifted the lead in GT3 Pro, and he wouldn’t look back.

LMP2 saw two teams, Satellite Racing and Puresims Esports, become the main protagonists for the win. Puresims Esports gained a tactical advantage as, due to pitting under the last caution, they were able to run deeper into the race than Satellite Racing.

This culminated in a shorter final stop, allowing Harley Haughton to have a six second lead as they exited the pits. But, the GSI Endurance Series by IVRA is never that simple, and there would be late drama to come. With 11 laps to go, Rusty Spatulas lost control in the braking zone of Turn 5, and as they unpredictably spun across the road, Haughton was clipped into a spin of his own.

Alex Gal was able to take the lead for Satellite Racing, and to add insult to injury, the reigning LMP2 champions were only able to limp to a 4th place finish. It would be Satellite to take the win, ahead of Race Clutch and Team RSO who would join them on the podium.

A great opening to the GSI Endurance Series, and there will be more drama to come when the circus rolls onto Circuit of the Americas for another 1000 mile extravaganza in November.

Source: IVRA