iRacing WCS Round 12 - Motegi

Ilkka Haapala On August 22, 2013
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Twin Ring Motegi in Japan was the stage for round 12 of the World Championship Grand Prix Series. The race around this 4.8 km race track saw a full field again after the special circumstances at the previous round at Indianapolis.

Orion Race Team was looking to continue strong form after Matthias Egger's podium and the pre-race testing had gone well. In qualifying Ilkka Haapala put down a solid effort and scored a satisfying 8th position on the grid. Matthias had a good qualifying as well and was 13th on the grid. Although not completely happy with his lap, Dion Vergers had his best qualifying of the season and started from 19th on the grid. 

The team had worked hard on the strategy for this race and were all looking to make two pitstops as that seemed to be the quicker option. With majority of the field going with one stop strategy, overtaking was going to be crucial. At the start, unfortunately the curse of misfortune struck again as Ilkka, after a good launch, was involved in another opening lap incident. Matthias' steering wheel, which had shown worrying signs before during the week, decided to call it quits. The downshift didn't work and Matthias got involved in a Turn 1 incident due to that. With both Matthias and Ilkka out of the race, it was now Dion to carry the Orion colors on his own.

Ilkka's race ended short, again

Matthias' downshifting broke down right after the start compromising his braking into Turn 1

Dion didn't survive the opening lap without trouble either, but fortunately he was able to avoid getting any damage to his car and was able to continue his race. With his two stop strategy against the heavier one stopping cars, Dion was able to overtake a lot of cars which was crucial in making this strategy work. After a hard fought race he scored a good 16th position and scored valuable points for securing his position in the top 25.

Dion performing one of his many overtaking moves

Overall a disappointing race for the team as, maybe the first time this season, the race pace and the starting positions were very promising for a great result.

The race at Motegi was also the last event before a major change in the Williams FW31 car. Just after the race, iRacing released an important update to the tire model which changed the handling characteristics of the car to a more realistic direction. The update has received a very positive response from the entire field and it's going to be interesting to see it in action. The update will be in use for the next race on this coming Saturday, August 24th as the drivers tackle the classic Zandvoort circuit. Be sure to tune in on GlacierTV on Saturday at 14:00 GMT and cheer the Orion cars!


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