Esports, Formula 1

Verstappen dominates round two of Redline’s pro driver series

26th Mar '20
By Nathan Quinn
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Max Verstappen cruised to a pair of race wins in the second round of Team Redline’s ‘Real Racers Never Quit’ series, this time held at Barcelona in GTE machinery.

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Verstappen had already entered the iRacing event as the championship leader, followed by GT driver Kelvin van der Linde, the pair having won a race each in the opening round on Monday.

Verstappen faced a stern challenge from Lando Norris, the other current F1 driver in the field, in qualifying, but edged the McLaren man to take pole by 0.067s.

But the Dutchman’s timing on when to floor the throttle pedal during the rolling start caught out Norris, and Ayhancan Guven was able to use the inside of the turn onto the start-finish straight to take second away from Norris.

Later on in the first lap, Norris rear-ended Guven under braking for the slow-speed Turn 10. The McLaren F1 driver only lost two places as a result of the incident but elected to coast down the main straight and let Guven back through, which dropped him down to ninth.

Guven had an eventful race as he would later run into the back of van der Linde’s car in the braking zone for the final chicane in the fight for fourth.

Hethen decided to slow down and let van der Linde catch up to him but the two made contact again as van der Linde locked up under braking for Turn 5 and sent himself into the gravel trap and Guven into the pits.

The incidents ahead – as well as a memorable cutback move off the exit of Turn 5 on Tom Dillmann to take the inside lien into Turn 6 – meant Norris finished the race in fourth.

Verstappen won by 9.6 seconds over Porsche Supercup driver Larry ten Voorde in second and DTM racer Dani Juncadella in third.

Mercedes Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne joined series’ star-studded roster for round two and finished the first race a respectable 11th of 45.Redline R2 Second Race Crash Pic

In the second 12-lap race, Verstappen comfortably took pole position by 0.456s over Guven, with ten Voorde the only other driver within half a second of pole.

Ironically given the name of the event, Norris quit during the qualifying session for the second race. That was done partially because he mistakenly selected the wrong car and livery combination, and partially out of frustration at being slower than Verstappen.

Verstappen therefore enjoyed an unchallenged victory for the second race in a row and was so comfortably ahead that he insisted on doing a live commentary of one of his laps and then answered a question put to him by one of the stream’s commentators.

Ten Voorde overtook fellow Porsche Supercup frontrunner Guven for second at the first corner of the first lap and finished in that position, with Guven securing the final podium spot.

Some processional running at the front masked a huge crash that took place on the first lap around the long Turn 4 right-hander.

It was started in part by BMW works driver Philipp Eng as he tagged another car going around that turn, resulting in the two cars coming to a stop on the outside of the turn and collecting the tidal wave of traffic coming towards them.

That first-lap wreck was a significant factor in why only 26 drivers of the 40 who started the second race were still running once the chequered flag was waved.

The next round will take place on Friday at 8PM UK time, with the details about the track and car combination deliberately kept a secret until shortly before the start of the event.

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