Images via Justin Melillo
It took a perfect month of October for Maarten van Loozenoord to return to the top of the Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship standings after missing the points in one race earlier this season. But it took only one more race for him to give that advantage right back to Peter Berryman at the Red Bull Ring.
Contact between van Loozenoord and fellow championship hopeful Yohann Harth, who found themselves fighting for second place late in the race after utilizing different tire strategies, opened the door for Berryman to score his long-awaited second win of the season. More importantly, though, it swung the championship advantage back in Berryman’s favor with only visits to Suzuka and the Hungaroring between now and the crowning of this season’s champion.
Michele Costantini, Harth, and Berryman took the top spots in qualifying on soft tires before switching to the medium compound for the rest of the race; van Loozenoord utilized the opposite strategy, running medium tires before taking softs on his final pit stop. Both Harth and van Loozenoord spent significant portions of the 53-lap race up front, before Berryman took the top spot with a handful of laps remaining; disaster for the other duo came not long after, opening up the final two podium spots for David Toth and Florian Lebigre, with Costantini and Matteo Ugolotti completing the top five, and Harth and van Loozenoord needing to settle for 10th and 11th.
The incident may well prove to be the turning point of this year’s championship. With nine points now separating them, van Loozenoord can’t simply win out to guarantee the title. Berryman would still win by a single point with two second-place finishes, meaning the extra point on offer for fastest lap could prove crucial to whoever gets it. However, with the attrition rate higher than ever in Austria, as evidenced by just 13 lead lap finishers, it stands to reason that the path to the top won’t be that straightforward for either driver.
Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship results from the Red Bull Ring were as follows:
|6||6||11||Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek||53||-18.543||0||1:06.140||10|
|9||13||86||James J Pinsker||53||-26.992||0||1:05.911||7|
|11||4||69||Maarten van Loozenoord||53||-53.132||17||1:05.448||5|
|13||17||21||Alejandro del Campo||53||-1:02.759||0||1:06.472||3|
|14||20||09||Andreas J Henkel||52||-1 L||0||1:05.590||2|
|15||11||77||Cédric BYLL||52||-1 L||0||1:06.740||1|
|16||18||32||Jorge Marquinez||51||-2 L||0||1:06.610||0|
|17||14||16||Peter Zuba||50||-3 L||0||1:06.310||0|
|18||15||28||Sam Kuitert||28||-25 L||1||1:06.221||0|
|19||5||46||Valentin Mandernach||6||-47 L||0||1:06.264||0|
|20||19||94||Kane Halliburton||1||-52 L||0||0|
Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship points through eight rounds are as follows:
- Peter Berryman, 154
- Maarten van Loozenoord, 145
- Yohann Harth, 130
- Ben Fuller, 100
- Michele Costantini, 90
- David Toth, 71
- Tamas Simon, 69
- Matteo Ugolotti, 57
- Florian Lebigre, 49
- 2 drivers tied, 48
The Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship season continues next Thursday at the Suzuka International Racing Course. Coverage begins at 3PM ET/19:00 GMT on iRacing.com/live and across iRacing social media channels. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iRacing.com.