The CMS DTM Championship in rFactor 2 heads to the Red Bull Ring In Austria. How will the drivers and weather fair at this high-speed circuit?
Austria, in particular the lovely area of Styria, was the 6th of 9 stops for the drivers and crews of the NARS VDTMC. The Red Bull Ring was the venue and there was great anticipation for a high-speed contest along the long straights of this storied course.
21 drivers (10 PRO and 11 AM) completed the weekend of racing, much to the delight of the few fans permitted at the venue as well as the record crowd watching remotely. With periods of rain punctuating the practices, the odds were high that the drivers would be very lucky indeed to avoid a wet track for two weekends in a row.
Despite a lack of practice, PRO driver Ahmed Abdallah still managed to wheel his Maures out of the paddock to set an eye-watering time of 1:21.968, much to the disappointment of Dan Kirby, Jon Uyan, George Anglidis and Norm Graf, who were all tightly packed behind him. Aures driver Danny Corriveau grabbed the AM pole with a 1:22.965, again in a Maures, ahead of class leader Matthew Overton and Ross Smith.
At the race start, the top of the order remained relatively unchanged through the opening laps, but not so for the remainder of the field where tight racing meant small errors resulted in significant position changes. PRO driver Edgar Cruz in his Bayro gained significantly in the first laps, moving smartly from 13th to 8th, however, his race ended abruptly due to a complete systems failure which left him fuming at the side of the track. With three DNF in a row, relations between the team and manufacturer must surely be at a very low ebb.
The expected rain made its presence felt about 10 minutes into the race with a steady procession of drivers heading into the pits over the course of several laps to change slicks for wets. This, plus a succession of different cars either spinning or otherwise having difficulties with the track as the drivers gambled on when to make that stop, made for some very tense racing up and down the order. George Angelidis and Frank Radosti were rewarded for their patience in the rain, which ended quickly and they carried on with their original slick tires, thrilling the fans with their decision.
With the field now mostly on wet tires and the course slowly drying, drivers and their teams furiously calculated the pros and cons of a switch back to slicks against the risk of a mistake that carried them off the racing line, where the track remained quite wet. Both the PRO leader Abdallah and his AM counterpart Smith elected to take their chances with the wets they bolted on very early, daring the drivers chasing them to gamble on a change to slicks in an attempt to seize victory before the win.
For both, the gamble paid off, but in each case, it was a near-run thing. Abdallah was able to take the checkered flag for the PRO and overall race win, but with only 2s to spare over second place Kirby, who had been relentlessly closing what had been a 48s gap at mid-race. JT Tami claimed 3rd, having overhauled Uyan, also nursing his wet tires, with 5 laps to go. AM winner Smith saw his lead being reduced dramatically in the closing laps of the race by both Overton and Corriveau, who both sabotaged their own efforts by pushing just a bit too much and suffering spins as a result, as they worked to get by Abdallah, who was doing nothing to defend against the two lapped cars. In the end, it was a 3s gap too much for Overton, who was himself holding off Corriveau by only a 1/2s by race end. Smith was ecstatic with his maiden win in the series, and another top of the podium for Maures, a real surprise as he had been completely unaware that he had been leading!
Finally, it was PRO Driver Brian Hall that claimed “top mover’ in the race honours by moving up 8 places from his starting grid spot, though that was of little comfort with his last grid start due to a penalty from a previous race.
Despite some of the difficulties experienced by several of the drivers, all the teams could point to positive elements in the race and it was a decidedly upbeat caravan that left the circuit late in the day.
With no time to waste, the teams were busy planning for their arrival in Assen for the next round on 25 March.
Server reboot at 7pmET with Q starting at 9:05pmET and then green flag at 9:30 pm See you there!
CMS offers a variety of racing throughout the week across a number of racing sims. The NARS chapter races Thursday nights (North American timezones) featuring concurrent championships with PRO and AM driver classes with a live broadcast on Youtube.
Find out more about CMS and NARS at https://cmsracing.com , join us on Discord at https://discord.com/invite/4ckmjPX or watch us on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Kdp07PvIeW47f0_sM0emw