The final round of the Virtual Motorsport Rivals Series took place on Maple Valley, running the reverse short circuit for race 1 and the reverse long circuit for race 2.
Going into the final round, I was still competing for a chance to be the top Audi driver in the series, despite the disaster at the penultimate Silverstone round when I got wiped out early on in both races. But I knew it would be tough – as other drivers had skipped more than one round, it was a fight between myself and Jaytwobad, who went into the final round with a slight points advantage. Plus I’m not a huge fan of Maple Valley in either normal or reverse layouts, particularly in a flighty Audi which doesn’t handle bumps well. Combine that with the fact one of us was likely to end up finishing the championship in the top 5, and the pressure was on.
Practice and qualifying went surprisingly well, despite a couple of kerb-based incidents trying to improve my practice times. Jay and I posted similar times, but as the first race got underway I somehow managed to not only get ahead, but avoid any major incidents. I was one of the fortunate ones, as inevitably the problems of lapping traffic on such a short and tight circuit caused a few minor issues.
Come the chequered flag I was happy to have finished 9th, top Audi, and 2 places ahead of Jay, making up some valuable points. I couldn’t seem to stay consistent which was a pain as I could have possibly challenged for 8th, and every position counted at this point.
Race 2 featured a reverse grid, which is always interesting. It put Jay in 2nd place, and me in 4th, so I knew I’d have to catch and pass him to have any chance.
I made an average start, avoiding some early carnage, when the race had to be restarted for a multiple-car pile-up. At the second attempt, the same thing happened – again, I’d managed to have a clear first lap only to have to restart again. Still, maybe third time lucky?
For everyone else, the third time seemed to be the charm, as the race got past the first few corners without any major incidents. I’d stayed in fourth this time, and was hoping to put the pressure on the two Audis in front. Then it all ended. Coming out of the tightest corner on the track I was tapped once, then twice by Th3 Lobst3r, spinning me around – and while out of control, I also ended up getting tagged by Lanrell21. So for the second meeting in succession, I ended up at the back of the grid following a Lobster-flavoured incident – I’ve pointed out that if it happens again I’m going to find a pot big enough to boil him in.
So 12th place, with my championship rival quite a distance up the road… Sadly as it’s not a circuit I’m particularly confident on, it took some time to catch and pass Freheliaz in 11th, but I finally managed it. And I began closing on Jaytwobad with a tiny bit of hope left – just as I was getting the distance down he suddenly vanished on lap 6, presumably lagging out.
Sad news, but this gave me a chance. All I needed to do now was to make up some places. But the gap was just too big, and in my attempts to close up on Lanrell21 in 9th, I clipped the kerb at the chicane, couldn’t hold it, and flipped the Audi. That let Freheliaz pass me and put me back in last.
With cosmetic damage on, at least the car was still drivable, and I crawled back up to 10th, but there was no time to catch anyone else – my best lap was just 0.4 seconds quicker than Lanrell, and he still had a 10 second advantage at the chequered flag.
It’s safe to say I wasn’t best pleased after the race. The previous round saw me demoted 1 place on the grid due to an error, and pushed off the circuit in both races. Then after getting myself back in contention, I’d been taken out again, by one of the same drivers!
All I could do now was wait and see if I’d done enough…
VM Rivals Series 1 Results:
- XPR Venom 2771
- Pluis NL 2680
- GLR mar B ond 2654
- GAZ POT 71 2627
- Jaytwobad 2492
- Badger Gravling 2490
- desertrainfrog 2474
- Freheliaz 2400
- VVV Flexy B 2334
- Schuey 75 2325
As you can see, I ended up finishing the season in 6th place, missing out on 5th, and top Audi driver, by just 2 points! Which is a little frustrating, considering some of the bad luck I’ve had, but also nice that it was so close. And I know that Jay dropped points due to lag issues during at least 2 races, so it’s probably a fair result at the end of the day.
The best thing is that I don’t have to drive that Audi ever again!