Simoncic grabs IndyPRO championship lead at Sebring - The Race

Simoncic grabs IndyPRO championship lead at Sebring

Oct 12 2020
By Nathan Quinn

With half of The Race IndyPRO Championship by FSR completed, Jernej Simoncic has taken the lead in the standings after finishing on the podium in both Sebring races.

Williams Esports’ Martin Stefanko was the fastest in qualifying, taking pole position with a margin of just over a quarter of a second.

Alex Siebel and Simoncic started second and third and were two of only three drivers on the first five rows of the starting grid to opt for the softer, alternate, tyres.

It didn’t take them long to overtake harder tyre runner Stefanko, but before then Simoncic moved into second and ahead of Siebel by getting a better start and having the inside line.

Both Simoncic and Siebel passed Stefanko at Sunset Bend, dropping Stefanko to his eventual finishing position of third by the end of the third lap of nine.

The other Burst Simplexity Esport driver Michi Hoyer was the fourth highest placed soft tyre starter as he qualified in 14th.

Despite his low starting position he worked his way up to fourth place, with his final move coming at the start of the final lap as he passed Alen Terzic around the outside of the first corner.

Terzic finished in fifth on the harder tyres, ahead of Jiri Toman in sixth who gained three positions over the course of the race having chosen to use the softer tyres.

Indypro R3 Feature Race Start

The reversal of the top 10 finishers from the sprint race meant Jan Woznica started the feature race from pole position.

Not only did many of the faster drivers have to start from lower down the order, but many of them were caught up in collisions at the start.

Dennis Jordan spun and went into the pitwall as soon as the lights went green and Stefanko was spun at Turn 1 and collected a number of drivers as his car sat sideways on circuit.

Sprint race winner Simoncic was slowed down by the various starting incidents, dropping from 10th to 12th by the end of the opening lap.

Indypro R3 Stefanko Crash

Up at the front the second Williams Esports’ driver Petar Brljak benefited from a mistake by Ricardo Costa, who locked up under braking for Turn 3, which put him into second as the leading driver to start the race on the softs.

With race leader Woznica starting on the harder tyres, it wasn’t long before Brljak caught up to him, then took the outside line at Turn 1 to pull alongside.

Brljak had Woznica still next to him for Turn 3, but wheel to wheel contact sent Woznica spinning and dropping to 13th place.

Croatian driver Brljak then held first place until a wheel disconnection meant he went straight on and into a tyre barrier at the Le Mans corner.

Costa therefore inherited the race lead before he was passed by Terzic, who was on the softs after using his second mandatory set of harder tyres at the start of the race.

After six races Terzic became the first repeat race winner, having also taken the chequered flag first in the preceding round at Portland.

Fellow two stopper Costa finished second with Simoncic moving up to third on a three stop strategy in which he used the harder tyres for only a few laps at the start and end of the race.

Siebel in fifth and Simoncic’s team-mate Hoyer, who finished seventh, both adopted the same strategy, but were both beaten by Woznica – who avoided the first lap chaos to cross the line in fourth having pitted only twice.

Terzic’s second race win means he’s moved up to second in the championship, only five points behind new leader Simoncic.

Stefanko, who entered the third round tied on points with Simoncic, has dropped to fourth in the standings after finishing 13th in the feature race.

The fourth round of the championship and the final road course event will take place at the Virginia International Raceway on October 18.

Indypro R3 Simoncic Copy

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