The V10 R-League continued to thrill us around Brands Hatch last week! This week, the V10 monsters tackled the incredible Nordschleife, one of the most famous tracks in all the world.
Some changes were made to the events thanks to the incredibly long lap time at the Nurburgring. The head-to-head was a single tour, the relay race was reduced to three laps, with the teams race run over a total of just two laps.
Porsche24 Redline now led the series, but only by one point ahead of Williams. With Red Bull and BMW eager to catch the leading pair too, there was everything still to play for in this one!
BMW v Racing Point
BMW and Racing Point both got their first points of the season last time at Brands Hatch. Just one point separated the teams after the first two rounds and both are eager to catch Porsche and Williams.
CLOSE: The contest between Racing Point and BMW was tighter than many expected
BMW: Cem Bolukbasi, Kevin Siggy, Laurin Heinrich
Racing Point: Lucas Blakeley, Daniele Haddad, Rafael Lobato
The first head-to-head was between Kevin Siggy and Lucas Blakeley. Siggy's BMW powered into the lead but Blakeley was hot on the Slovene's tail throughout.
Blakeley was trying everything to get past but ended up losing control through the Karussell, which ultimately decided the contest in Siggy's favour. 1-0 to BMW.
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Laurin Heinrich is a Nordschleife specialist and was drafted into BMW especially for this weekend. This showed as well, as Shanaka Clay was outclassed, meaning that BMW won the head-to-head.
Rafael Lobato was another debutant this weekend and the Racing Point man showed his inexperience against Cem Bolukbasi. Bolukbasi started behind but passed the Portuguese driver thanks to an incredible dummy in the mid-section. That made it a clean sweep for BMW and 1-0 in the series.
Blakeley and Siggy were the two drivers to begin the relay race and the pair locked horns early on. They made contact when Blakeley went for an overtake, effectively knocking out Siggy and BMW, but what would the stewards make of that?
BMW closed the gap down a bit but at almost three minutes, there was no hope. However, Clay made an error going in for his driver change. It didn't matter though, Racing Point weren't given a penalty and the series was tied at 1-1.
ON THE LIMIT: Racing Point were giving it their all to stay in the contest
This was turning into a grudge match, something that continued in the team's race. Siggy punted Lobato off in the first few corners as Bolukbasi and Heinrich led in the early stages.
They had a massive gap to Blakeley in third too, over seven seconds on the first lap, the Racing Points were faltering at the final hurdle. Siggy made it a BMW 1-2-3 going down the back straight.
Bolukbasi would made a few errors which dropped him down to P4 but it was 19-7 in the final round as BMW took the contest 2-1.
Porsche v Red Bull
Porsche24 Redline led the championship but if Red Bull completed a clean sweep over their opponents, they'd be level on six points each.
BANGING WHEELS: There was contact in this contest
Porsche: Ben Cornett, Jeffrey Reitveld, Michal Smidl
Red Bull: Joni Tormala, Aurelien Mallet, Graham Carroll
Aurelien Mallet of Red Bull led into Turn 1 but Ben Cornett was hot on the Frenchman's heels in the head-to-head contest. Mallet would get the lead back though, as Cornett made an error and ran off the track.
Cornett was running lower downforce though, as his Porsche flew past on the back-straight to make it 1-0 to Porsche!
Michal Smidl of Porsche led into the first corner but it was close again, Graham Carroll wasn't falling back. The two came to blows though, both flying in the air and spinning round. Smidl had a three second advantage over the line but would the stewards intervene?
Smidl was deemed to have been weaving excessively, and was given a five second penalty which handed the win to Carroll. It was now 1-1 in the head-to-head contests.
Jeffrey Reitveld had an extremely impressive debut though, as the Dutchman won his head-to-head with Joni Tormala after the Finn made an early error. Porsche led the series 1-0 but it has been very close so far!
The Porsche team led in the early stages of the relay race, Carroll was unable to keep up in his Red Bull. Tormala was eager to make up for his error in the head-to-heads and was closing up fast.
FLYING: Red Bull were fast but were going over the limit
However, the Porsche had far superior straight line speed, Tormala couldn't overtake! It was down to Mallet, he had to win the race to keep Red Bull in the contest. Mallet couldn't close though, Porsche bossed the relay race to win the series and lead 2-0.
Red Bull needed to make up ground in the team's race, a whitewash would be a serious dent to their championship hopes.
READ MORE: V10 R-League Round 2 – Brands Hatch Results
Cornett led in the early stages but Tormala and Carroll were keeping the Porsche man honest. Tormala would make another mistake though, dropping to fourth and allowing Smidl into P3.
The tide would turn though, as Cornett made an error in the final stages, handing the lead to Carroll. Contact between the leading pair left Smidl as the closest challenger to the Red Bull.
Carroll would win the race as Red Bull won the team's race 15-11 and became the first team to take a point off Porsche. Porsche24 RedLine still won 2-1 though and maintained their top spot in the standings.
Fordzilla v Yas Heat
Two teams that had failed to pick up a win so far in the series are Yas Heat and Fordzilla. Something had to budge though, as the pair were keen to get off the foot of the table.
SLIPPING BACK: Fordzilla has work to do to catch the leaders
Fordzilla: Pablo Lopez, Javier Roman, Ruben Rodriguez
Heat: Andrea Capoccia, Eamon Murphy, Jaroslav Honzik
Ruben Rodriguez thrilled us all at Brands last week but Eamon Murphy was eager to win the first head-to-head contest on his return to the R-League. Rodriguez attempted to take the lead but Murphy got his elbows out and pushed the Spaniard wide.
That effectively decided the contest is the favour of Heat and Murphy, as Heat led 1-0. Jaroslav Honzik and Pablo Lopez enjoyed a ding-dong contest, Lopez overtaking Honzik spectacularly only to lose his car later on and let Honzik of Heat through.
Heat now lead 2-0 and had won the head-to-head contest to lead the series 1-0!
Fordzilla needed to get on the board to keep in the contest. It was so tight throughout the first stint of the relay race, which contact between Lopez and Honzik going down the back straight.
Heat now led the race but only by over a second, as Roman chased after Capoccia. Heat's lower downforce was paying dividends, as the pulled out an advantage over Fordzilla going into the final lap.
Rodriguez closed the gap somewhat but Murphy crossed the line first to win Heat's first tie and lead the series 2-0!
PUSHING: Fordzilla were trying everything but they couldn't keep up with Heat
Fordzilla had to get a point back to save face in this contest. Lopez led in the early stages, the only man that was stopping a clean sweep by Heat. Heat were 2-3-4, which meant that we would have our first ever draw in the R-League as it stood.
Lopez won by over seven seconds as Heat and Fordzilla drew in the team's contest 13-13. Neither side picked up a point but it was Heat's first win the V10 R-League!
Suzuki v Williams
Williams were Porsche's closest challengers going into this one. It wouldn't easy to keep up with the German team though, as nobody had completed a clean sweep over JAESA Suzuki yet.
SECOND BEST: Suzuki struggled to keep up with Williams in the early stages
Suzuki: Danilo Santoro, Cesare Penco, Giovanni De Salvo
Williams: Martin Stefanko, Kuba Brzezinski, Nikodem Wisniewski
Martin Stefanko and Danilo Santoro took each other on in the first head-to-head, with Stefanko leading in the early stages. Stefanko converted this over the line as Williams took a 1-0 lead in the head-to-head.
Nikodem Wisniewski started on pole and flew off the line ahead of Cesare Penco. Penco did his best, but Wisniewski roared away before Penco ran wide and lost ground. Williams would win the head-to-head tie 2-0 and lead the series 1-0.
READ MORE: V10 R-League: Winners and Losers - Round 2
The relay race was an opportunity for JEASA Suzuki to tie the contest but Williams started on pole, as Stefanko once again ran away in the lead. The gap was two seconds but could Santoro close it in stint two?
Suzuki were doing their best, but Williams were keeping their opponents at arm's length. However, that all changed in the final pit-stop, as Suzuki jumped into the lead!
Penco was coming under pressure and it showed, as Wisniewski forced an error and flew back into the lead. Williams had won the contest and led 2-0 but could they complete a clean sweep?
Brzezinski led in the early stages for Williams but the Alesi trio were 2-3-4 behind, which would mean another tie was on the cards.
READ MORE: V10 R-League Winners and Losers: Round 1
Less than five seconds separated the entire field going onto the final lap but the order remained the same. Penco was the only one who could change things but he couldn't get within striking distance of Brzezinski.
A mistake by Penco while pushing ended any hopes of either side picking up a point in this one. It was a 13-13 tie in the team's race, as Williams won the series 2-0.
Here are the updated standings after the Nordschleife ties:
|3||BMW Motorsport Sim Racing Team||5|
|6||BWT Racing Point Esports Team||3|
|7||JAESA Team Suzuki||2|
Porsche maintained P1 but Porsche and BMW are hot on their heels!
The Next Round
The V10 R-League returns to Italy for the next round of the season. Round 4 will be held at Vallalunga on 28 September at 7pm BST.
The entire Season 1 of V10 R-League will be shown on BT Sport 2 in the UK.
Those in the US can watch on ESPN3, while in the Middle East it will be available on STARZPLAY Arabia.