With 4 races remaining in the season, we catch up again with Robert Graf to find out how he and his simFlight Cheverolet Impala are getting on in this year’s iRacing DOM-GNL (virtual German Nascar League).
Winning a training race is always bittersweet. Of course you’re happy you did it, but in other ways you know some of the pros weren’t there and not everybody is going full throttle on these events. I had that same feeling for Phoenix. Yes, car was good and fast, but would it be enough?
Qualifying just happened. I still can’t nail a lap and with 2 tenths of your usual pace you are nowhere, 11th place in that case.
Race started and already on lap 2 the first yellow came out. Holger Kluener (the one I sent into the wall in Texas) collected two other guys and missed me by inches. Replay shows he was actually going faster in reverse then me at that moment (see picture).
On the restart I gained 7th and raced teammate Matthias for the next couple of laps. But I was pushing to hard, so my laptimes began to fall off after about 20 laps. On lap 30 i was passed by teammate Mirko and could do nothing about it. I tried to stay on his bumper, but my tires were just gone. On lap 69 we had our next caution. Some guys had allready pitted then, I was still running my first stint. That worked brilliantly, coming up to the restart I was in 5th place.
The first 3 were taking off, while Mirko was trailing a bit. I could have gone faster without him, but opted to stay behind and conserve my tires this time, because this stint was planned to be a long one. Strategy was to pit late and catch up in the last stint with new rubber. On lap 101 Mirko made a small error in turn 4 and I passed him for 4th place. As the leaders pitted in lap 150, so did I. Tires were looking good this time, the small chassis adjustment to the loose side on the last stop had surely worked.
Out of the pits I had moved down to 6th, but was confident to catch up since some of the drivers had changed their tires 20 laps before I did. Running in full attack mode, I soon caught up to teammate Matthias, who surrendered his position to my much faster machine. I continued pushing, but the leaders just were to much for me, I had to settle for 5th. That’s my 3rd TOP5 in the last 4 races and I have reached TOP10 in overall standings. I have to keep this up for the last 4 races!