VRCC DTM Group A Round 5

After a tumultuous round 4 in Donington last week, the teams' standings hotted up as AJR Motorsport overtook Ambrex Racing to gain second place with just three points separating them. After the Abbitt brother’s authoritative victories last week they extended their leads in the driver’s championship on third place Alex Jamieson, who’s technical woes saw him gain zero points after DNFing in both races.


Race 1


A move across the channel to Belgium for Round 5 saw the drivers take on Zolder, a tight and technical 2.5-mile long track that plays to the advantages of the agile and lighter BMWs. Qualifying showed Alex Jamieson was back in fine form and ready to put last week’s technical difficulties behind him with Ben Abbitt next to him on the front row. Brother Dan sat behind and Charlie Heath of AJR Motorsport managed fourth place.


Normal service resumed as Jamieson’s Mercedes was no match for the power of the Alfa Romeos off the start line and both Abbitt brothers and Charlie Heath overtook Alex by the first corner. Disaster struck further down the order as Charlie’s teammate Alexander Rhodes left the track after some contact and tumbled down to sixteenth place.

An early mistake from Dan Abbitt saw him go wide allowing Charlie Heath through. Jamieson, a man on a mission managed to perform a double overtake on the straight, clinching second place on the Kleine Chicane. At this point, we saw Jirka Štěrba in his BMW leave the race due to internet issues. Jirka, a RallyCross driver in the non-virtual world has been steadily progressing this series and will be an exciting driver to watch as he continues to transfer his skills to sim racing.


As the race drew on Koen de Groot of Big Logo Racing was first to pit on lap 8, emerging from the pit lane in 15th with places to make up. After a tremendous battle with Nick Isherwood, the only BMW left in the race, Stu Neale of Three Wheels Racing left the track and allowed the AJR Motorsport boys (Alexander Rhodes and Roy Grassie) to move up to eighth and ninth. Alexander Rhodes eventually finished in sixth after a fantastic battle with Stu Neale and Nathan Birch.

Up ahead Charlie Heath made a mistake allowing Jamieson to take second which closed their advantage over Dan Abbitt and Andrew Gillone. Charlie’s soft tyre choice began to work against him as the four-way battle for second place intensified. It was a last-lap hurrah for Charlie Heath and Alex Jamieson as Dan Abbitt left the track after some light contact and dropped down to fourth place, allowing them to take second and third respectively.


Ben Abbitt had a seemingly quiet race up ahead and made this his sixth win of the series. Charlie Heath made it three consecutive podiums, bolstering the AJR Motorsport team’s second position in the championship.


Race 2


The second race of the night was no less action-packed, as by the first corner Charlie Heath tried his luck by overtaking Ben Abbitt only to be brought back by the force of the Abbitt brothers who resumed their usual one-two positioning. AJR Motorsport's Roy Grassie DNF'd early on after extensive damage, leaving Charlie Heath and Alexander Rhodes to fight for the team points.

As Ben Abbitt drove off into the distance, a large pack of chasing drivers ensued, although unorganised and squabbling between themselves, with Dan Abbitt policing the group and allowing the gap to his brother to grow. After a period of reorganisation between the chasing pack Ambrex Racing teammates, Alex Jamieson and Andrew Gillone moved up to third and fourth to try and bring back leader Ben Abbitt in the distance.


Nick Isherwood had a fantastic start to the second race, jumping from tenth to seventh before pitting in lap nine, and joining the fight for tenth place between Stu Neale and Jari van Binsbergen of Big Logo Racing.


Up ahead the battle for fourth intensified as Charlie Heath’s tyre wear began to show, leading to Dan Abbitt successfully overtaking him with four and a half minutes to go. Alex Jamieson began to show his nerve as the clock ticked down, making a few mistakes and going too deep into the chicanes.


With one and a half minutes to go, leader Ben Abbitt made an enormous mistake that saw him crash into the very real and very solid bollards, allowing the gap that had grown to second place to come crashing down. With one lap to go, Andrew Gillone and Alex Jamieson preyed on Abbitt’s damaged Alfa Romeo but couldn’t find the pace to make the move, allowing Ben to take his second victory of the weekend. Shortly behind the top three, his brother Dan made a mistake and allowed Charlie Heath to pip him on the final corner for fourth place.

Speaking after the race, Alex Jamieson agreed it was a scrappy affair, and rued over the damage done to his championship fight after last week. His teammate Andrew Gillone agreed


“You’re not seeing many mistakes out of these guys at the front of the field. I’m happy for top five’s to be honest, these Abbitt boys are just a bit too quick”.


Although disappointed with their races, they suggested the next track (Silverstone) may suit the Mercedes a little better. Join us next week for the penultimate round where the drivers will be taking on Silverstone International.


Results


Race 1

1st – Ben Abbitt (Abbitt Motorsport)

2nd – Charlie Heath (AJR Motorsport)

3rd – Alex Jamieson (Ambrex Racing)

4th – Andrew Gillone (Ambrex Racing)

5th – Dan Abbitt (Abbitt Motorsport)

6th – Alexander Rhodes (AJR Motorsport)

7th – Stu Neale (Three Wheels Racing)

8th – Nathan Birch (Two-Tone Racing)

9th – Roy Grassie (AJR Motorsport)

10th – Nick Isherwood (Independent)


Race 2

1st – Ben Abbitt (Abbitt Motorsport)

2nd – Alex Jamieson (Ambrex Racing)

3rd – Andrew Gillone (Ambrex Racing)

4th – Charlie Heath (AJR Motorsport)

5th – Dan Abbitt (Abbitt Motorsport)

6th – Alexander Rhodes (AJR Motorsport)

7th – Nathan Birch (Two-Tone Racing)

8th – Koen de Groot (Big Logo Racing)

9th – Stu Neale (Three Wheels Racing)

10th – Jari van Binsbergen (Big Logo Racing)


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 by 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 join in the conversation on Discord.


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