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Touring Pro Series Weekly takes a closer look at the TPS action from across the site with driver interviews, race reports, admin announcements, and even trivia. Round 3 Clio Euro Series and round 6 of American Touring Car Championship were races for the record books. Read what happened in these two special events!
Rain. That was the order of business for American Touring Car Championship in round 6 at Vitus Park. The problem was, no one knew for how long, or when. Such is the case in real life and in an ATCC dynamic weather event!
Qualifying offered a tasty set of circumstances. Drivers had to decide whether or not to head out onto a damp track or wait until the circuit dried up, running the risk of more rain potentially falling. But only a year removed from the nightmares of Rattlesnake Point, many drivers made the move to go out early–infamously at Rattlesnake some drivers waited and were later caught out by a major storm that broke, leaving many drivers bounding around on washed out tarmac. This year, unfortunately for the drivers that did go out early, the skies stayed clear and the conditions only improved the further it went into the session.
Stoffel Vandoorne timed his run perfectly and came away on the right of it, taking an unchallenged pole-position. The Belgian wouldn’t look back, as Stoffel cruised to yet another victory in race 1. In race 2, however, the championship forever was turned on its head… With only 6 laps remaining in the race, a sprinkle of rain started to come down. Drivers didn’t think much of it, and they continued to jog around the circuit. But then that sprinkle turned in a steady drizzle, and that drizzle into a shower. And that shower quickly turned into hell unleashed. Before the drivers could even complete lap 16, cameras caught pilot after pilot falling off the track, their championship hopes being dashed against the proverbial rocks of slick tires not mixing on a wet surface.
Francisco Villar, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jesper Taulborg, Miguel Neto, and Keith Barrick were all caught making some form of mistake, all the while fans were on their feet yelping for their favorite sons to come up with the wisdom to simply take a drive down pit lane. Finally Neto was the first and only to do so after the Portuguese star had an excursion off track. The move would later see him take —, and keep his 2nd place in the championship standings.
But through hell and back Stoffel Vandoorne didn’t blink and took the double win, in the process completing a perfect round—a feat thought to have been done at Nurburbring (also in the wet) but has since been reneged due to cutting violations. This puts the Belgian — in the championship hunt, but Stoffel’s manger and ATCC nuisance Martin Christianson released a statement saying that “Stoffel won’t win the title…” claiming the young driver’s priorities will soon be placed elsewhere. Only time will tell if his words hold true.
But many have already voiced their opinions about Keith Barrick and Francesco Villar’s blown chance to come away with a bag of points. Both drivers seemed to have garnered quite the following, and none too many of them are happy with ATCC’s beloved speedsters. But with 2 rounds remaining both are well and truly in position to win the championship. In fact, the top 5 are only separated by an absurd 15 points, a gap which has never before been seen in TPS history so late into the season.
For more on the event, look out for Rhys Gardiners’ race report coming before round 7!
A New Leader
Clio Euro Series may still be in its infancy, but the season 2 championship is quickly becoming something both fierce and mesmerizing. With at least eight drivers having race-winning capability on the grid for each round, the championship forecast is anyone’s guess.
But after round 3 at Thruxton, the major story surrounds the battle for the title lead. Having completed an impressive double-win—only barely missing out on the all-elusive perfect round—Ryan Callan has now surpassed William Levesque in the standings after the French-Canadian suffered his first DNF of the season. What was a 19 point advantage for Levesque has now been turned into a 19 point deficient to Callan.
Reigning WSS champion Jack Keithley looks all but dead in the water after the Brit yet again failed through a qualifying. But this time Keithley could manage no miracle runs through the field and instead finished in 21st and with a DNF in race 2.
Chris Butcher still has a strong pulse, but there is unrest in the THR camp after Butcher accidentally knocked teammate William Levesque out of the race. The fallout from the incident was so severe that THR boss casino Toby Davis was heard giving Butcher a verbal lashing after the round.
Levesque wasn’t in good spirits either, as the French-Canadian could only be described as gloomy following the event. With Callan’s new found form, many are wondering if Levesque will be able to once again retake control of the championship.
The drivers now enjoy a two week break before picking the action up again for round 4.
For a complete breakdown on the Thruxton Park action, see Bradley Vanain’s race reports!
Over the past week TPS saw two very special broadcasts come to fruition. Both the Clio Euro Series round 3 and American Touring Car Championship round 6 were sponsored by Viper Technologies! The Viper executives were even kind enough to join in on the action and chat it up with the viewers while giving away the equivalent of nearly $1000 dollars. And one lucky member, TPS’ very own Camaridaru Andrei Bogdan, won a staggering $450 worth in prizes and cash.
Touring Pro Series would like to thank Viper Tech for their gracious efforts as well as the fans for turning out for these awesome events!
If You Can’t Beat ‘em… Join ‘em
The highly popular and much chronicled battle between Toby Davis and Jesper Taulborg in World Touring Masters has now bled into Virtual V8 Supercars. Except… the two that were once bitter rivals have now unthinkably drawn up a deal to join forces. Jesper Taulborg, the Iceman that has frozen out THR competition with every chance he’s received, has now signed on with the U.K. bunch…
The move strikes many as an oddity, but THR continues their recent tread of tremendous signings, as the outfit has only recently acquired William Levesque and is reportedly very interested in TPS newcomer Tom Eley.
With THR’s now powerhouse line-up of Levesque/Butcher and Davis/Taulborg, few can doubt the team’s strength for the upcoming season of VV8. But will it be enough to defeat the defending champions of 360 Racing?
How do you say that? Levesk? Lisque? Levick? Le… whatever. Sadly, only a few short months ago, that was pretty much the only talk surrounding the French-Canadian William Levesque. But since a string of success only rivaled by the likes of Taulborg and Degreef, William Levesque (and it’s Le“vik” like “viking”) has become a household name in Touring Pro Series. Since jumping on the scene here at TPS, William has been thrust into the bright lights of simracing’s elite, even receiving offers for race seats in the renowned Formula Sim Racing. It’s almost as if Levesque’s rise through the ranks happened over night. But it didn’t. There was point in which William transformed, a point where he turned from just another driver, into a race winner. So without further ado…
TPS Historical Moment #9—Transformation
TPS Fun Facts
“Book it!”, the now infamous saying of TPS commentator Keith Barrick, didn’t in fact become famous on any Touring Pro Series broadcast. No, Barrick first used the slang while calling highlights of a Presto GP event at Bahrain. The nervous Canadian cried “Book it!” it seemed for each overtake at every corner, but the fans loved it. The saying has since stuck, and fans continue to enjoy the “booking” moments each time Barrick is on the mic!
TPS Weekly 10
It’s almost here, the extra special issue of Touring Pro Series is only a week away! Don’t miss TPS Weekly 10, which breaks down the Virtual V8 Supercars championship like never before. The issue has been weeks in the making and has seven contributing TPS staff members involved. So if VV8 is your thing, mark down your calendars for TPS Weekly 10!