Friction enter Simply Race 24 Hour
On the 5th and 6th of November, Friction Racing will be entering the Thrustmaster 24 Hours of Interlagos at Simply Race in Milton Keynes. Two Friction Racing teams will be battling it out with various other sim racing teams and teams of Professional racers for the overall honours.
Earlier in the year, Friction Racing took part in the Inaugural Simply Race 24 hours, with Dean Prescott, Darren Kirk, Mark Winwood, Chris Hardwick and David Robertson coming home in second place, after a long and tiring 24 hours around Estoril. Friction will be looking to build on that success and with additional Friction members bolstering the ranks, two teams will be entered to aim for the top step of the podium.
Two wins for Friction at Barber
Two wins for Friction Racing in week 7 of the BSRTC, from Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama.
The lead up to qualifying was going pretty well until a new session had to be created so more drivers could join. After leaving the original session, a few drivers were having difficulties joining the new one as there was a problem on the iRacing web page. After his penalty from last week, it wasn’t a big issue for Ross Balfour, but Dan Craft managed to just join before qualifying started. Colin Cunniffe however, wasn’t able to join until a few minutes into the session so started on the back foot. His first “banker” lap saw him get blocked through the final section of the lap after Mark Johnston went off track and re-joined in front, but did not allow a pass. Pushing hard to try and get a respectable time in, his next lap included a very slight, but very costly off track, which left Cunniffe with his final lap to get out of the midfield. Luckily he kept it together and got up to sixth place, two places behind Craft.
Race one of the evening saw Craft get a decent start getting up to third by turn two, and chasing the Alfallatech duo of Chepilevski and Schellbach who were on the front row. Cunniffe got a decent start, but found himself under attack from Steve Hefford along the back straight, and duly lost the place. The fight was over though, and coming out the final quick chicane, Cunniffe managed to re-pass the Sim Racer driver. Starting from 39th with the rest of the bad boys, Balfour cut his way through the field and was up to 26th by the end of lap one after taking advantage of various incidents so some good overtakes.
On lap two, Craft was to be handed second place after a rare Chepilevski mistake in the turn four hairpin, and then set about chasing the leader. It took a few laps, but Craft got onto the tail of Schellbach but the nature of the track made it difficult to pass as the Alfallatech driver didn’t make any mistakes (for that race, fireworks come later), meaning another podium finish in second place. A few places back, Cunniffe was unable to catch the leading pack after his battles and settled for his original starting position in sixth. Further back, Balfour was continuing his climb up through the pack, and by the start of the penultimate lap was up to 18th and looking at passing Philip Johansson for 17th. Going into the turn 4 and 5 chicane, Ross made the pass, but the Engine Oil Direct car must have misjudged something as he went careering into the rear of the Friction car, sending it into a half spin. Luckily with no major damage, Balfour was able to run round and finish in 18th.
Balfour’s hard work paid off, allowing him to start in sixth for race two. After a good start, the first lap was spent fighting Kip Stephens, but after a few hairy moments, the Friction driver came out on top. Ross wasn’t the only one having first lap scary moments though, as Cunniffe’s race was finished early after going into the back of Simon Field and getting steering damage. Craft managed to avoid the bashing and crashing getting up to 16th by the end of the first lap and looking to continue his form. However, on lap five, while defending from Jamie Rushworth, the pair were surprised to find newcomer to the series, Alex Everitt, bombing down the inside. The resulting squeeze saw Dan lose a couple of places to the following train. With no real damage, Dan got his head down and by lap nine was back up into 10th place. Battling with Laura Bond coming out of the last corner of the final lap tenth place looked secure. Well it wasn’t, and the fireworks I alluded to earlier were to start. Schellbach got a run on both, but with nowhere to go except slow down, he decided to drive straight into the rear quarter panel of Dan, disqualifying the Friction driver after the previous incidents in the race. Laura finished the race backwards. With little consolation, Schellbach was also disqualified post-race by the race stewards for the incident. What was a massive consolation though was happening up front? Balfour got into the lead by lap five, and even with some pressure from behind from Ben Hackeson, he managed to cross the line in first place, getting his and the team’s first win of the season!
Race three was relatively quiet for the Friction team. Only real moment of contention came on the first lap when Balfour, starting 20th after his win, was side by side with Cesare Rizzo going through the first fast chicane. Rizzo got his line all sorts of wrong, failed to slow down sufficiently, and ended up t-boning Ross. Then had the cheek to complain Ross didn’t leave him enough room! Carrying a decent bit of damage, Balfour managed to get round and finish in 12th place. Craft finished just behind in 13th after working his through from 32nd at the start. At the back, Cunniffe struggled to make his way through the pack. Starting 45th, he only made it up to 28th at the finish, after some unlucky decisions hindered his progress, meaning his race four would be just as difficult since he wasn’t going to have a chance of the reverse grid.
As it turned out, race four wasn’t much better for Cunniffe. Getting caught up in more incidents, it looked like he would at least finish in the top 20, however going into the penultimate corner of the night, he clipped the car ahead of Rob Graham while going over a kerb, and rolled the car into the tyre barrier. Somehow he managed to get the car back on track with severe damage and cross the line, in 33rd place. Meanwhile, Balfour had a couple of adventures of his own. On lap one, he got involved with Swirydowicz going into the turn four hairpin, with both ending up in the grass. Then midway through the race he also got together with Matt Bunn, sending the latter around the outside of the first fast chicane. After that he was still able to recover to 14th.
And Craft? Not content with Ross getting the team’s first win, he had to even the score. Starting only one place ahead of Balfour, he kept everything together working his way through, with one moment into the hairpin on lap two when the pack seemed to check up more than usual being the first heart stopping moment. Some opportunist overtaking got him up to the front by the end of lap six, but a lapse in concentration on lap eight cause another “squeaky bum” moment. Unlike the Nordschleife, Barber is a bit more forgiving, and he was able to settle back in, never looking back, and taking the teams second victory of the night and season!
The evenings results see Balfour leapfrog Cunniffe into eighth, with the latter only down to ninth after his nightmare. Crafts form continues as he sits just outside the top ten in 11th. In the Teams Standings, things are very tight as Friction sit in third, only five points off Apex in first place.
Green Hell lives up to its name in week 6 of the BSRTC.
Qualifying at the Nurburgring Nordschleife was always going to be about getting around with a clean lap. However, no-one told Dan Craft who put his car on the front row in second place, behind Michael Schellbach. Colin Cunniffe was surprised to be in seventh place, with Ross Balfour taking a safety first approach, rounding out the top ten, admitting he probably could’ve been a bit quicker.
The lead up to race one was filled with confusion. The time limit set for the race meant that it was likely that three laps would be required rather than the two that was scheduled. With rules being hastily implemented, drivers were adding extra fuel just in case, with only seconds to go until the race start.
Once the lights went out, Craft and Cunniffe got away pretty well, however Ross had a nightmare. His car bogged down a lot, losing some positions, and once he got going again, got dive-bombed by Steve Hefford into turn one, pitching the Friction car across the inside of the corner, giving him a slowdown penalty. With the penalty served, and another few places dropped, the next corner he was to find the car had been damaged… By this time, the car was into the barrier and caused problems for the chasing pack. Stewards found Ross guilty and have served him with a back of the grid penalty for the event at Barber.
The slippy conditions also caught out Craft, who spun out from second place, with his car parked in the middle of the track. Luckily nobody hit him, and after a five point turn, finally got under way again. Craft's incident allowed Cunniffe to pass Swirydowicz, where he would stay until the end of the lap. With both caught up to Smolensky, it was a drag race along the big straight. Colin managed to pass Smolensky, but then Woj passed both going into the kinks before the end of the lap, leaving the Friction car in fifth. Further back, Dan was making progress through the field, eventually finishing in 13th place.
More confusion before the start of race two, saw the event change to two more races of three laps. However, quite a few drivers would struggle to make turn five. The overcast conditions and low temperatures meant the first few corners were treacherous. Genovski starting from pole was the first to spin, with much of the rest of the grid getting involved if they weren’t having incidents of their own, with Cunniffe being one of the victims being unsighted and ploughing into one of the pile ups, ending his race.
Craft somehow managed to somehow get through it all. With spinning cars in front getting hit out of the way by those around him, he was up to third by turn five from his grid spot of 11th. By Aremberg, Craft was in the lead! With Ross starting way back in 35th, he was aware of what was going on ahead and also managed to make his way through, with just a slight bump to the front of the car. He managed to get up to 17th by turn five as well, and up to 10th by the end of lap one.
All was going well until the end of the final lap, and showed why you never assume anything at this track. Leading a massive margin, the rear end of Craft's stepped out, making the driver clip the inside kerb, and pitching him into the barrier. With significant damage, Dan managed to limp home in eighth place, just ahead of Balfour.
Only two cars started race three, as Cunniffe decided starting from the pits would be a safer option. Unfortunately, with no others cars to use as a reference point, he managed to lose the rear end in the first few corners and hitting the barrier, ending his night very early.
Up front, Ross and Dan started alongside each other, and off the start kept everything clean and tidy. That was until the fast right hander of Flugplatz. With iRacing recently announcing they will introduce Rallycross, Ross decided to test the physics by sliding the car around the outside grass, just missing the tyre barrier. It looked spectacular, but it wasn’t fast, and lost some positions. With his teammate out of the way, this allowed Craft to set about after the lead of the race. Dan was cutting through the field, with the only blemish a mistimed attempt on John Roberts, which allowed the following Schellbach to force his way ahead of both drivers. Craft and Schellbach continued their assault on the rest of the front pack. Midway through the second lap, the pair had caught up to the leader of Kip Stephens, and Craft managed to surprise the German driver by throwing his car up the inside into a tight left hander. Schellbach turned in on Craft and the two came together. Both were then side by side for a few corners before Craft finally came out triumphant. Both then quickly caught and passed the leader.
Behind, Ross was following the battling duo through the pack, as was Woj Swirydowicz and Jack McIntyre, who were just in front going into the last lap. Some excellent defensive driving was keeping the Alfallatech driver at bay for the majority of the lap, but his luck was to run out again as going into the mini Carousel. A possible net code with Schellbach getting very close the Craft going in, it meant Craft missed the banking, pushing out to the barrier on the outside, allowing the following three drivers by. With just the long straight to go, it seemed fourth would be the best he would finish, but the three leaders battled away for the win. Woj braked to get into the slipstream of McIntyre, and it worked a treat, getting him past both cars by the final kinks. All looked done, except he out braked himself and cut the final corner, strangely not getting a penalty and keeping the win. Behind it was also kicking off. Schellbach hit a bump and half spun the car, McIntyre followed the exact same line and completely spun the car. This allowed Craft to jump back up to finish second, and Ross got up to fourth after the dramatic finish.
The evenings results see Craft jump six places to 13th, Ross climbed back into the top ten into eighth. Cunniffe's bad evening cost him and the team dear, with him dropping to seventh, and falling further behind in the Team Standing, although still in third place.