until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Simoncic takes FSR championship lead with pit strategy

by Matt Beer
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The second round of the 2020 FSR World Championship, rFactor 2’s official open-wheel championship, was won by Jernej Simoncic.

Simoncic’s second one-two finish this season with his Burst Esport team-mate Michi Hoyer means the two drivers are tied on points at the top of the drivers’ championship.

The polesitter for the race around Imola was Luke Maguire with Simoncic qualifying in second place.

Pitstop strategy proved to be more important than outright lap pace, when Simoncic dropped to third before the pit stop phase kicked in as Tom Satherley overtook him.

On the same lap, Maguire made the first pit stop of the race but it was a full nine laps before Simoncic would go on to stop.

Other front runners Tom Satherley and Luca D Amelio – the latter of whom qualified in third – also pitted before 20 of the 63 laps had been completed.

Satherley’s early stop backfired almost immediately as he got stuck behind Robin Pansar which meant one stopper Michi Hoyer jumped him in the pits by staying out a few laps longer. Satherley still had to pit again.

One stoppers Simoncic and Dennis Jordan both pitted on lap 25 and ceded the race lead to Petar Brljak who qualified in 15th but opted to start on the hardest compound tyres.

Maguire was ahead of Simoncic at this point but made his tyre change so early that he had to stop again whereas Simoncic managed to make it to the end of the race.

Maguire needed to make overtakes quickly to build a big time gap over Simoncic and the other single stoppers.

Maguire FSR Esports 2020

He ended up spinning at the tricky Variante Alta chicane twice and on the second time, he dropped behind Simoncic. Maguire then pitted at the end of that lap and exited the pits in 18th.

Temporary race leader Brljak had built up a 12 second race lead before finally making his first and only trip into the pits.

With 19 laps to go, the race order had finally settled and drivers had to make all of their positional gains on track.

Jeroen Kweekel was one of the earliest of the one stoppers and used his undercut to take the race lead. Simoncic, Jordan and Hoyer made up the top four group that were all running together.

Hoyer moved up from fourth to third with a overtake around the outside of the entry to the Tamburello chicane.

Petar Brljak, in fifth and on the newer and softer compound tyres than the top four, caught up to them quickly but found overtaking to be much trickier.

He did pass Jordan but with four laps to go he spun up the rears on the kerb at the exit of the Villeneuve chicane to drop back to fifth.

The Burst Esports drivers had no such trouble as Simoncic used DRS to pass Kweekel for the race lead, and one lap later Hoyer made exactly the same move as Kweekel’s tyres seemed to go off the cliff in terms of grip.

The next race of the FSR World Championship will be held around the virtual recreation of the Indianapolis Road Course on April 12.

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