In the Chinese round of the Oppo rookie league, we have a number of storylines - will Kalnins lead Saldana’s Green Monkeys to a championship in their first full season? Can Galeczka bounce back after a disappointing Malaysia? Can any of the seasoned teams still in Rookie throw their hat into the ring?
Pre-race - With Galezcka within 3 points of Kalnins for the overall lead, the points race was tight going into china. At the same time, the older teams were still holding onto developed cars and facilities that the newbie teams lacked. Saab Scania and JPSpecial Racing needed to prove that they didn’t need rain to make their own luck in China. TheTeamWithSauce were out for revenge while Saldana’s Green Monkeys wanted to continue making progress with their oddball strategies.
Qualifying - In a surprising move, Kalnins was almost out of the top 10 for qualifying. An even mix of old and new seemed to alternate grid spots. This set the pace for the race, really.
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time||Top kph||Average kph|
|Saab Scania AB GP||1:34.627||298.29||207.38|
|Team Punkass Racing||1:34.782||298.59||207.04|
|RSaldanas Green Monkeys||1:35.314||298.85||205.88|
|Prius Power Plus Racing||1:36.041||294.40||204.32|
|Bobololo Racing Team Brazil||1:36.617||292.48||203.11|
|Gotta Go Fast||1:36.671||291.71||202.99|
Race - Galezcka wasted no time enforcing the belief that TheTeamWithSauce was the one to beat this season and immediately pulled out a lead. C. Tabarez, from the newcomer Team Punkass Racing, seemed to shock with a 4th place qualifying and a sudden surge to second. But quickly faded away as did his car. On the opposite end, T. Ryan for TTGP shot up from 8th to second over the course of a mere 3 laps. Mediums proving to be the tire for all the top teams, Berlusconi, Gott, Zaymidoroga, Meyer, and Brundle kept jockeying for position.
For the losers - Kalnins’ gamble on hard compounds was not going to pay off. Not even breaking itno the top 10, he managed to gain some pace around the time of the first pit stops but was losing way to much time per lap compared to the rest of the field. Lessons learned, they vow to do better come Bahrain. Tabarez also found himself falling to the very backof the pack. Even a last stop change to super softs couldn’t let him claw back some dignity as he finished in dead last on shot super softs.
Each round of pit stops seemed to reshuffle the pack. at the front Almost everyone went for a two stop, but two key three-stops defined the finishing order. Amazingly, on the last lap, Berlusconi pitted from 4th to do a final splash n’ dash to finish in 6th. Ryan did the same but had such a gap to 3rd place that he maintained second for the last lap. As the cards fell where they may, the ending order was decided as much by luck as it was by skill. Bad calls and bad luck lead many teams astray. But Galezcka and Ryan showed their expertise and experience respectively. Brundle’s 3rd place finish a nice vindication for the time and money Alternate Evolutions spent in the previous season.
|Pos||Driver||Team||Laps||Grid||Pit||Time / Retired||Best lap||Top kph||Pts|
|Alternate Evolutions||28||7||2||+ 0:34.103||1:35.962||309.56||15|
|JPSpecial Racing||28||6||2||+ 0:45.351||1:35.823||295.17||12|
|Failed racing||28||3||2||+ 0:47.629||1:36.208||294.35||10|
|Derpington Racing||28||8||3||+ 0:51.351||1:35.306||307.85||8|
|Saab Scania AB GP||28||2||2||+ 0:59.362||1:34.808||301.85||6|
|Belling Motorsports||28||11||2||+ 1:14.302||1:36.766||290.99||4|
|Bobololo Racing Team Brazil||28||12||2||+ 1:26.582||1:37.062||292.04||2|
|Gotta Go Fast||28||13||2||+ 1:32.782||1:37.257||291.18||1|
|RSaldanas Green Monkeys||27||9||1||+1 lap||1:36.418||309.66||0|
|Prius Power Plus Racing||27||10||1||+1 lap||1:41.137||281.33||0|
|Team Punkass Racing||26||4||2||+2 laps||1:37.485||297.95||0|