As his first season in the online iRacing DOM-GNL (German Nascar League) draws to a close, this week we have two race reports from Robert Graf. With only two races remaining, has he been able to continue his impressive performance from the previous few rounds?
Race #33 Homestead:
This looked like another one for the tire lovers. Qualifying got me 11th place on the grid, a position I steadily improved during the first two stints under green. The first and only yellow came half way through the second stint and I was eager to gain the position from James, the guy i had been fighting in a truly fascinating way the whole race up to that point (see picture). So i went in, changed only two tires and got the position on the exit. However, every other lapped car stayed out and so I gained 1 position but lost a lap. And I still had to pit once for fuel to make it to the finish line. This tactical error cost me the race and with 1 lap down, only 11th place was possible.
Race #34 Daytona:
Super speedways have always worked for me and this was no exception. Starting from 4th (qualifying DID pay off) I was shuffling the lead with Martin Thiemt and Hauke Grotheer between lap 20 and the first stop in lap 45. Out of the pits I had lost positions, but was still in the lead pack, just outside the TOP 10.
Now tandem racing started. Making my way up front I was back in the lead in lap 66 with Marvin Aulmann as pusher. 2 laps later we had to swap, his temps were getting high. Since we hadn’t enough of a gap to the cars behind us, we had to do it on the high line and logically lost the lead to Hauke Grotheer and Rene Sowada. On lap 70 it was their turn for a swap, but Rene just opend the gap a bit to get fresh air. We passed on the outside, I got my “clear” and went down for what would be second place again. But the track below me wasn’t quite clear and I touched with Hauke and caused that feared BIG ONE. The car was pretty shot afterwards, but the pitcrew got it going again after 15mins of repair. Of course the car was in no condition to drive fast anymore, it was lacking more then 30mph in top speed. I just had to stay out there and hope for something to happen. Well, it didn’t and 14th place was all I could do. I’m truly ashamed, it was such a stupid error on my side. I really should know better by now.
Good news is, i’m still clinging to that 10th place in overall results (11th if you consider scratch results), trailing the next guy by just 10 pts. So the chance to finish in TOP10 is still alive.