Aliens exist: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race report
On the man-made island ‘Notre Dame’ in the St. Lawrence River of Montreal, lies `the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which was the arena for round eight for iRacing’s World Championship Grand Prix Series. Coanda’s Mitchell deJong qualified in pole position, ahead of Redline’s Greger Huttu. Championship leader, Coanda’s Martin Krönke, qualified in 3rd, with other Coanda drivers Rocco Barone in 16th, Martti Pietilä in 18th and André Böttcher in 24th.
32 cars lined up on the starting grid and steamed down towards Virage Senna upon lights out. By then, polesitter deJong had dropped to 3rd due to a bad start, as Huttu and Krönke inherited the lead. Further back in the field, Pietilä’s difficult afternoon started at the first corner, as he was hit from behind by an overly aggressive Davy Decorps, racing for Orion.
DeJong ran in 3rd place as his race went from bad to worse. On the second lap of the race, his car inexplicably pulled right. He rammed the wall and retired. He would later comment on the moment: “The sim froze, followed by black screen and wheel stuck turning right. The computer came back seconds later, but at that point it was all over.”
Huttu led but Krönke had the pace. On lap 5, Krönke opened his DRS on the backstraight and sailed passed the Finn. From there it was a matter of ‘auf wiedersehen’, as the German charged away into the distance, with over 6 tenths a lap in hand.
Behind them, trains started to form, most notably from the Apex cars of Alex Simpson and Peter Berryman. Barrone eventually got passed both of them, en route towards the front of the field. Pietilä was also on a charge, but a moment with Michael Dinkel from Vortex made him overshoot the final chicane and lose valuable positions.
The window for pitstops opened at lap 26, with Redline’s Olli Pahkala coming in first. Raceleaders Krönke and Huttu both pitted on lap 35, their order unchanged as they left.
Pietilä’s difficult afternoon included a spin on lap 47 and a fierce battle with ineX’s Robin Friskopps. His race eventually ended on lap 60 after contact with the wall.
Well ahead of the field, Krönke rounded off a Vettel-esque performance by finishing 20.9 seconds ahead of Huttu. Apex’s Graham Carroll came home in 3rd, clinching his debut podium. The race gave the Krönke his fourth win of the season and his tenth of his career. Barrone finished neatly in 7th, with Böttcher in 15th place on the line. Krönke now leads Huttu by 9 points. Pahkala rises to 3rd, with deJong dropping to 4th, after yet another disappointing result, albeit through no fault of his own.
iRacing’s WCGPS continues Saturday June 18th, at 14:00 GMT (9AM ET), at the brand new Imola circuit. Via this link you can view the live broadcast on iRacing Live, with coverage by RaceSpot TV.
For a full season’s calendar, click here.