- Tewkesbury-based team maintain BRDC F3 iRacing Championship title aspirations at Spa.
- Varrone on the podium again; bad luck denies similar results for Skelton and Vernon.
- Next event is at Silverstone (GP) at 18:00 BST on 31 May.
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Nico Varrone maintained his position at the sharp end of the British F3 iRacing Championship standings after a dramatic double header at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the Argentine adding another podium finish to his tally.
The Tewkesbury-based team qualified well around the virtual 4.3-mile Belgian circuit, with Varrone denied a second consecutive pole position by just 0.030 seconds, his best time of 2:11.561 good enough for second.
With his team-mates Josh Skelton and Kieran Vernon ninth and tenth respectively after a strong showing for the entire team, CDR looked good value to extend their advantage in both championships.
Varrone fought back well after an early setback to claim third in the opening race, emerging victorious from a race-long battle with Johnathan Hoggard to take the final spot on the podium by 0.003s.
Skelton and Vernon also made progress through the pack, but both got caught up in other drivers’ incidents and dropped back; Skelton spun at the exit of Pouhon, and Vernon was taken out by a car rejoining the circuit at Les Combes.
Nevertheless, the pair rejoined after pitting for repairs and added valuable points to CDR’s Teams Championship challenge in 17th and 19th.
The reverse grid draw put Varrone at the back with the prospect of fighting his way through the pack, with Skelton and Vernon further ahead in 7th and 9th.
They capitalized on chaos at the start to move up into the top six, before contact with another driver put Skelton to the back once again at the Bus Stop Chicane.
Vernon avoided the incident and continued to climb the order, eventually taking the lead at near half-distance.
It would all end in frustration, however, with contact at Les Combes – and then another hit at the final chicane forcing him into a second visit to the pits of the night.
Both drivers showed great resilience to fight back, and remarkably recovered to score a top ten finish apiece, with Skelton 7th and Vernon 9th at the flag.
Varrone, meanwhile, had cut his way through the pack in sublime fashion once again to finish third once more, but post-event all three cars were deemed to be over iRacing’s incident limit system, which apportions blame equally in incidents regardless of fault, and were excluded from the results.
Varrone now sits second in the Drivers’ standings, three points off top spot, with CDR just 11 points behind in the Team’s stakes.
The next round of the British F3 iRacing Championship takes place on Silverstone’s GP circuit this Sunday (31 May) at 18:00 BST.
Chris Dittmann, Team Principal:
“First and foremost, I think huge credit has to go to all three drivers for their performances on Monday night.
“Nico again proved why he’s top of the standings with two sublime drives to the podium – it’s easy to forget that in the reverse grid race, that meant passing over 20 cars!
“And both Josh and Kieron were extremely unlucky to not have more to show from their efforts, but that’s racing sometimes. They did well to bounce back and put more valuable points on the board; I’m sure those will prove crucial as the virtual season wears on.
“Now our focus turns to Silverstone this weekend – we’re still in major contention for both championships, so that’s another good evening’s work in the book!”
“It was a bittersweet event. Third in the opening race banked good points for the championship, but unfortunately most of the entire field, including me, got disqualified for track limits in Race 2, so no points for me but we will come back stronger at Silverstone.”
“I’m a little disappointed after Monday night’s British F3 iRacing Championship event at Spa. I had decent speed, but left with nothing to show for it.
“Getting caught up in incidents in both races on the opening lap set us on the back foot, but nonetheless I’m looking forward this weekend to Silverstone.”
“I’m disappointed not to be rewarded for such a strong showing, but enjoyed running up the front and on course for a top five in Race 1, and fighting for the win in Race 2.
“Bad luck this time around, but I’ll be pushing on for more podiums next time out!”