TPS Weekly: Issue 11

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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. Clio Euro Series delivers an amazing round 4, as TPS Racing goes against THR in a battle for supremacy in the teams’ and drivers’ championship.
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Section A
THR Trouble

Longtime friends and sim-racing colleagues Ryan Callan and Toby Davis had a bit of an off moment leading into round 4 of Clio Euro Series. Callan released a statement in the media claiming he wasn’t aware of William Levesque’s presence in the title hunt (Levesque, of course, having led the championship the majority of the way through the season.) Reporters laughed and joked at Callan’s comment, taking it as yet another display of the Brit’s usual tongue-in-cheek bravado.

But THR co-boss Toby Davis didn’t see it that way. Not at all. In fact, Davis didn’t see a lick of humor in what Callan had said. Instead, the THR executive took the comments as a slight against both his team and star pilot William Levesque. Davis proceeded to lash out at Ryan, shooting back some very unsavory comments of his own toward his longtime friend.

What ensued was a verbal war, as the two countrymen had at one another through the media.

For round 4 at Varano, fans and race commentators Keith Barrick and Danny Asbury could practically see the tension still brewing between the duo.

And WTM star Toby Davis seemed to take some extra motivation from his off-track encounter with Ryan, as Davis set pole time, his first of the season. In fact, THR locked out the top 3 spots through quali, making a very keen point to show they still had the single lap pace over championship leader Callan.

During the race, Ryan was absolutely hampered by THR drivers on all sides. They were slower than him, then quicker, then the same pace. It seemed THR never allowed Callan to get into a rhythm . Finally the frustrated championship-leader snapped, performing daring and even dangerous overtaking maneuvers left and right, sending THR after THR driver on an excursion off track until Ryan assumed the lead. When the Brit came to his senses, he realized he needed to surrender his 1st place, and like a gentlemen pulled to the side of the road and allowed both Levesque and Butcher through, but not Davis. THR wouldn’t look back, as Levesque took yet another race win.

Race 2 was a much calmer affair, but Levesque once again took victory, making it yet another double-winner in Touring Pro Series. And THR had done its job. Not only had they extended their gap in the team’s championship, but also helped their driver William Levesque cut Callan’s lead down to a mere 7 points, making sure that Ryan cannot “forget” about Levesque’s presence in the title hunt.

Clio Euro Series resumes in two weeks time at Calder Park for round 5 on the 11th of April. As always, Keith Barrick and Danny Asbury will be in the booth for what looks to be one of the deciding rounds of the championship!

For more on the event, check out Bradley Vanian’s race reports, due out before round 5.

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Section B
A Man Apart

There is always one. Every season of American Touring Car Championship there is always that one round, that legendary round. It’s the one round where moves are and have to be made; a round that words like “conservative” and “consistency” don’t apply; where phrases like “hanging in” and “be patient” account for nothing. This round is about impulse. Now or never. Do or be done. See and take. Find gap, go for it. Win or go home. It’s this very round that realizes championship hopes and the one that breaks them. We’re talking about the one and only, the fabled American Touring Car Championship round 7…

Heading into round 7 at Adelaide, the stage had its players: Taulborg, Villar, Barrick, Neto, and Vandoorne, the chosen sons that have made themselves the center of ATCC by their wit and skill, their ability to turn up and churn out mega performances time and time again. But who would break? At the tight and twisty streets of Adelaide, who would falter and lose everything?

Well, like dominoes, they all did… Barrick, then Villar, soon Taulborg, finally Neto. The mainstays of ATCC that have held up the series for nearly two years all failed when it mattered the most. And seizing the opportunity from them all was Stoffel Vandoorne, the Belgian who has swatted away all comers like they were infants, unworthy of challenging for the title he now stakes claim to.

Vandoorne has now finally climbed the championship mountain and is unbelievably leading after missing the first four races in server 1, something unheard of in Touring Pro Series. Going into the final round at Sebring, there is little doubt the Belgian will hoist the season 4 trophy, but Miguel Neto is still within a reasonable shout. The Portuguese driver has seemingly surpassed his teammate and team boss Francesco Villar, and now is 18 points off the title lead. Should Vandoorne finally show signs of being human, Neto is in prime position to pounce…

Sebring is slated for the 13th of April at 2:15 GMT and 9:15pm EST. Make sure to tune in for the final round of the most highly contested ATCC title in the league’s 4 year history!
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Section C
Degreef Interview
By Robert Wiesenmuller

Robert Wiesenmuller joins the TPS Weekly staff. And his first order of business is tracking down TPS legend Gregory Degreef for an interview. Tough assignment, but Robert delivers in this TPS exclusive!

Robert: First of all the most important question. Do you plan to return to the TPS leagues?

Gregory: Yes, sure, if the admins accept me as I have already left 2 leagues (V8Supercars and WTM) in the middle of the season which is not very fair.

Robert: You had a good season in the Nissan Skyline in the TPS, very close to winning a race. What was the reason why you left the championship?

Gregory: It’ll be hard to explain but I’m happy to answer them because I have heard and read a little of everything and anything.

I left the WTM and the V8 Supercars championship for the same reasons: I lacked motivation… I was not having fun working on the car and training annoyed me more than anything else while before I could train more than 500 laps on Bathurst, for example.

Another simple reason was that several times the day of the race I just did not want to find me behind my screen, whether for a birthday party or whatever.

My personal life was also playing in my choices. I lost my roof, I have some physical problems (knee, back, I also believe mental) and the most important thing: I have a girlfriend lol.

Robert: Now to the V8 Supercars: You are the champion of the first season, but in the meantime there have been quite a few changes to the series. You have driven the car on the pre-qualifying server, what do you think of it?

Gregory: I did not feel any big difference. It remains for me the best series in simulation and in real life.

Robert: 102 drivers are already signed up for the season, including Ivo Simons and Andreas Löffler, two of your teammates. How long can you resist?

Gregory: As long as is not “clear” in my head…

I really don’t know what to do, I had some fun to work on the car at Queensland to help my teammates, if I can, but I have not touched my wheel more than 1 hour on the last month. Still need to find a little spark somewhere.

Robert: In the last months, some new and young drivers have scored great results in the TPS leagues. William Levesque is one of them, but then there is of course Stoffel Vandoorne, also from Belgium. What is the secret of the Belgian simracers?

Gregory: In my case there is no secret. Sorry!

But a few “Jupiler”, some dutch tobacco (don’t do it kids) and the most important thing for me: lots, lots, lots of practice can help to have a good pace. If your words can reach the planet of Florian I would like to have his answer on this question.

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Section D
TPS Historical Moment

When it happened, everyone knew they were watching history. After the championship run of his lifetime, Toby Davis had it all in his hands. Three years the young U.K. man searched, and scrapped, and fought, and trained, and finally he saw the mountain he’d so desperately sought. He was going to be the season 3 World Touring Masters champion. But there was another… one that wouldn’t stop. One that wouldn’t quit. One that wouldn’t break under pressure. Jesper Taulborg had a date with destiny, and he wouldn’t stop until he became the greatest champion TPS has ever known… See the most watched, most anticipated, and most successful broadcast in WTM history.

TPS Historical Moment #10–The Esses

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Section E
The Voice

Toruing Pro Series needs your voice. Think you got what it takes to call races live alongside Ryan Callan? Well, Virtual V8 Supercars is looking for a co-comentator for all the 2012 season. If you’re interested, contact danny@touringproseries.com.

Callan, Davis, Barrick… maybe you’re the next great TPS race caller!

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Section F
Public Relations

Touring Pro Series is also in need for a new PR man. If you think you have the skills to update TPS’ Facebook and YouTube page, as well as spread the word of TPS events and sign-ups across the net, then please contact danny@touringproseries.com. The job will require around 2 hours per week to be fulfilled!