We've absolutely loved the first season of the V10 R-League and we're extremely excited ahead of the season finale tonight.
Two teams; Porsche24 Redline and Williams, have a shot at the title. To add more drama to the situation, the two outfits will be facing each other on-track.
We've caught up with Porsche's Ben Cornett and Michal Smidl and Martin Stefanko of Williams ahead of Round 7 at the Yas Marina Circuit. Here are the highlights of what they had to say about the showdown on Monday!
Ben Cornett - Porsche24 Redline
Porsche24 Redline have been the standout performers of the inaugural season of the V10 R-League. The Dutch outfit have won all six of their contests, only dropping two points in the process.
Ben Cornett has been instrumental in this success, but how does the Australian driver feel going into the final round?
"For us, we're treating it like any other round. Every team has been strong, and Williams are no exception. They can beat us, we're aware for that."
"We have a good points lead, but they can take it (the championship). We've treated each team with respect and gone into it as if we could lose it, so Williams will be no different."
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Cornett was focussing on the team as a whole, this ethos being part of the reason behind their near-perfect results. When we asked which moment was his personal favourite though, here's what he had to say:
"I started to deliver and get some wins, so from then on, it was a good series. The turning point was at Valle and that was where I was happiest."
It's interesting to hear that even though Porsche were winning, Cornett, by his own admission, was relatively struggling with the machinery. It goes to show that hard work and practice are essential, even for professionals.
Martin Stefanko - Williams
Williams go into the final round as the only team which can usurp Porsche. It would be a major upset though, as Williams need to do a clean sweep over Redline to take the championship victory.
This will be the first time that the championship contenders will actually face each other out on-track. How had the Williams drivers coped with this though? Martin Stefanko gave us the inside line:
"I don't think it's been hard (competing indirectly with Porsche). Obviously, Redline are our championship rivals, but matches against the other teams are just as important."
"As the championship went on, we have been looking at the other teams and learning from them, so we've been keeping a close eye on everybody."
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I think we all hope that Stefanko doesn't suffer at the hands of any more technical gremlins, as he did at Spa-Francorchamps:
"We had a power issue at home, which happened only an hour before the event. So, I had to get all my equipment and drive to my girlfriend, who lives 30 km away from me."
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"We managed to assemble everything like five minutes before the start of the event."
Stefanko went on to throw down the gauntlet to Redline before the final round:
"We're losing by three points, so, when you look at it this way, we have nothing to lose and Redline have everything to lose. So, we can just go all-out and see where we end up."
Michal Smidl - Porsche24 Redline
Finally, there was Michal Smidl, Cornett's teammate and another driver who has been extremely impressive throughout this season.
Smidl is raring to go and is going into the final round on a high after a brilliant performance in Belgium:
"I was dead last after the first corner [in the team race] so I had to make many overtakes during the race. I had to send it every corner of every lap and I enjoyed the overtaking."
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"I think that was crucial for the championship."
Throughout the season, Porsche have run lower downforce than most of their rivals to be quicker down the straights. This tactic has worked for them, as passing has rarely been an issue:
"For certain races or certain drivers, we've been running low downforce. We're not that far away from the aero levels which most teams run, so I don't think that will be a surprise from our side."
"There won't be anything special from us [in terms of setup] for the last race."
Where to watch
The V10 R-League travels to the Middle East for the final round of the series' inaugural season! Round 7 will be held on the UAE's Yas Marina Circuit on 19 October at 7 pm BST.
The entire Season 1 of V10 R-League will be shown on BT Sport in the UK.
Those in the US can watch on ESPN3, while in the Middle East it will be available on STARZPLAY Arabia.
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