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March 1, 2022

ASC S11 R8 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

28 Feb 2022
Autobahn Sportscar Challenge | Season 11 | Round 8
LMP2/GT3 Multiclass Event | Suzuka Circuit

Billy Smith II took his second win of the season tonight with the Autobahn Sportscar Challenge at Suzuka Circuit ahead of Robert Tinsey and Cameron Bidwell in the Prototype class. Ross Booth was able to take his fourth win of the season in the GT Pro class beating Bradlee Haley and Christopher Paiz to the line. Bradley Salmon claimed his first win this season sputtering across the line as he ran out of fuel ahead of Kevin Santana and Franco Margarella.

After a two week break for the drivers as they moved away from the North American circuits, Jeffrey Ooms came back strong taking the pole ahead of Robert Tinsey with a fast lap of 1:44.372. Ooms was the driver to watch going into the night after winning the last three rounds going into the race in 7th overall in the point standings which was surprising considering that he joined the league several rounds into the season and quickly began closing the gap between himself and Carter Kundinger in the lead.

Bradley Haley took the pole in the very competitive GT Pro class with his fast lap of 1:57.839. Haylee has two wins behind him so far this season with his last win coming from Road America. The GT AM class was led out by Ryan Robertson, who has shown a strong performance through the season with three wins, with a lap time of 1:58.338. The last win Robertson claimed was in the previous round at Watkins Glen.

After a very clean start, Ooms wasted no time putting distance between himself and Tinsey by over 1.5 seconds in the first lap. David Williams took the worst end of a battle defending against Carter Kundinger for 4th place in the second lap going off track. Within the first 10 minutes, Ooms had built up a lead of over 3.5 seconds over Tinsey showing his intention for a repeat performance from previous rounds where he would take a wide lead early on before settling into a groove for the second half.

Washeleski took the lead away from Haley in the GT Pro class in the early stages of the race, but Haley stayed close behind in 2nd place getting back into the line of drivers moving single file through the curves without incident. Robertson had some tough luck when contact sent him spinning off track during the first ten minutes of the event dropping back to the rear of the field and gave the GT AM class lead over to Ian Lake.

Kundinger made contact sending himself off track in the 8th lap recovering back in 10th place behind Patrick McDaniel. That allowed Cameron Bidwell to move up into 4th who was still 3 seconds off Billy Smith II in 3rd place. Unfortunate for the current points leader as Kundinger struggled to regain lost ground as the drivers passed the halfway mark in the event.

Haley was able to retake the GT Pro class lead when Washeleski made a costly mistake sending him back to 12th in class. Robertson made a hard charge back toward the front after recovering from his earlier incident getting back into 3rd on the 10th lap and Ian Lake, who was in the lead, ran wide sending himself off into the grass and handed the lead over to Franco Margarella. This put Lake on the defensive with Robertson close behind.

Going into the second half of the race drivers began making their mandatory fuel stop. Haley and Ross Booth were battling hard over the GT Pro class lead for several laps choosing to stay out longer while other drivers were rejoining the track. Ooms took much longer coming back out of the pits compared to other drivers and rejoined the field in 9th place and started his hard charge back to the front with over 20 seconds to make up to catch Smith in the lead.

Kundinger and Ooms battled back and forth over 5th place in the Prototype class with 20 minutes remaining in the race as each driver tried to use lap traffic to their advantage for several laps, but Ooms was able to overtake in the end. Further back on the track, Booth took the GT Pro class lead away from Haley after an intense battle that ended when contact was made by a Prototype driver trying to overtake both GT drivers sending Haley off the track. Haley was able to recover quickly and held onto 2nd place.

Bidwell started putting pressure on Tinsey for 2nd place in the Prototype class as the drivers entered the final 10 minutes of the race with Smith still holding the lead. Ooms managed to hold 5th but was still over 20 seconds behind the lead battle without enough time remaining to make up the time and contest for the lead himself. Tinsey was able to use traffic to get around and held Bidwell at bay as they crossed the line on the final lap.

Smith took the points lead in the Prototype class away from Kundinger with his win tonight with 150 points. Ooms had a rough night, but still moved up to 5th in the overall points standings now 51 points behind the lead. Booth holds onto the GT Pro class points lead with 275 points with Paul Gibson trailing by 24 points. Robertson held onto the points lead after struggling early on tonight with 143 points ahead of Kevin O’Keefe by only 1 point. In the team standings Satellite Racing, consisting of Robert Tinsley, Ryan Washeleski, and Ryan Robertson, holds the lead with a total of 164 points. The drivers now prepare to move on to the next round at Twin Ring Motegi in two weeks broadcast at 9PM EST only on the Virtual Grip Network.

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