Written by Rebecca Bland
Starting on 31st January, the VRCC began their inaugural DTM Group A championship at the Red Bull Ring with the drivers being able to choose between the Alfa Romeo 155 Ti V6, the BMW E30 M3, or the Mercedes 190E Evo II to race in for the duration of the championship. Abbitt Motorsport’s Ben Abbitt won both races in Round 1 giving him a comfortable lead in the Driver Standings over a tie for second place between Alex Jamieson and Ben’s brother Dan.
Wintry conditions fell at Brands Hatch for the second race of the season, with the snow-scape looking closer to a Finnish rally course than a British GP. That being said, Mr Consistent, Alex Jamieson qualified on pole, with the Abbitt brothers Dan in second and Ben in third.
It was a less than desirable start to the race for the pole sitter, as he lost two places before the first corner thanks to a tad too much wheel spin getting off the line. A fantastic battle for third place ensued with Alexander Rhodes of AJR Motorsport and by the end of the second lap they’d changed places. Charlie Heath had a fantastic start and managed to move up the field to bridge the gap to the front group and sit tightly behind Jamiesons’s Mercedes, while fifth place starter Andrew Gillone had a tricky beginning and ended up dropping back to ninth place early on. Fighting his way back up the grid he ended up finishing in third place after a number of early pit stops saw a complete change of the running order. AJR Motorsport’s Charlie Heath and Alexander Rhodes pitted just inside the second half of the race due to ‘low fuel and dead tyres’, a decision which left them both fighting to catch up lost places to eventually finish seventh and eighth respectively. After a jostling for first place with Alex Jamieson further up the field Ben Abbitt appeared to abandon the race leaving Dan Abbitt and Andrew Gillone to fight for second. Gillone appeared to have the upper hand until a decisive move on the final lap by Dan saw him beat the Scot to take second. Jamieson’s win sees the first for him of the season as well as the first Mercedes win in what was an Alpha Romeo dominated round one.
Race 2: In the second race the combination of tricky conditions and hard tyres seemed to catch a few drivers out, with Andrew Gillone spinning at Stirlings dropping him from third place to tenth, and Alexander Rhodes on Graham Hill Bend dropping from fifth to eventual eighth. Inside the top ten there was a fantastic battle for fifth which saw Roy Grassie leading the pack of Birch, Abbitt and de Groot until an untimely incident saw Grassie fall down the field.
Up front there was a fantastic battle for first between Dan Abbitt and Alex Jamieson, with the former fending off the latter for the better part of twenty minutes before a decisive win. This makes it three out of four races for Abbitt Motorsport who are proving to be a determined brotherly force in the DTM series. In third place Three Wheels Racing’s Stu Neale stepped onto the podium for the first time this season, after an incident in the first race saw him have to fight his way back up to fourth. He has demonstrated his consistency as a driver this week and is definitely one to watch in the coming rounds.
Round 2 leaves Dan Abbitt and Alex Jamieson tied on 60 points a piece with Ben Abbitt nipping at their heels 10 points behind. In the Team’s standings Abbitt Motorsport continue to stamp their dominance on the field with a 13 point lead over Ambrex Racing. The battle for third place will be interesting to watch in the coming rounds with only a 2 point gap between Two-Tone Motorsport, AJR Motorsport, and Three Wheels Racing. Join us next week as we head to Imola where everything is still to play for in Round 3.
About the VRCC:
The VRCC is a community of drivers organising leagues across multiple sim racing platforms including Project Cars 2, Assetto Corsa, and Assetto Corsa Competizione. Races are run throughout the week and are often accompanied with live commentary and broadcasts on various platforms. The community is best known for its Virtual Touring Car Cup, but have also provided race series with Ginettas, MX-5s and Vintage F1 to name a few, alongside occasional stand-alone events. Follow their page on Facebook to find out more, or alternatively join in the conversation on Discord.