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Race Wrap - V8 Development Series R3

Round 3 of the OSR - VRS / CPR V8 Development Series saw Trent Thomas returning to the V8 after a successful hit out last week.  Sebring International Raceway is a favourite track for the Fusion SimRacing driver and he was looking forward to the 18 lap race in his Amazon Web Services Ford Falcon FG V8.

Thomas managed another front row start, but this time around missed out on pole by 2 tenths of a second.  Once again an absolutely appalling start off the line, although better than last week, saw Thomas quickly slip back to 4th briefly before turn 1.  Holding tough around the outside of turn 1 and then again through turns 2 and 3 would see Thomas in 3rd place. A mistake from the driver ahead into the turn 7 hairpin allowed Thomas to sneak up the inside as both drivers raced side by side to turn the right hander of turn 10.  Thomas had a huge moment at Tower corner (turn 13) but managed to correct the slide and continue with time loss only.

Thomas quickly caught the leader and was within 1 second at the end of the first lap.  The famous phrase, “Catching is one thing, but passing is another.” never rang more true for Thomas as he battled to pass the car ahead.  A huge moment on lap 3 into the turn 7 hairpin had Thomas touching cloth when his car flicked sideways late in the braking phase. A huge save and the racing room given from the driver he was attempting to pass meant little time was lost and the battle continued.  After 6 solid laps and a small mistake from the car ahead, Thomas managed to pull along side down Ullman straight at the back of the circuit and held side by side through the final turn of Sunset Bend and up the front straight. The pass finally done Thomas tried to concentrate on keeping a smooth and consistent pace.  

Thomas pitted at the end of lap 8 to cover off the undercut from the car behind who pitted the lap before, and a quality inlap and outlap saw Thomas gain a 3 second advantage during the pitstop phase.  By Lap 12 the pitstops had cycled Thomas back to the lead and the gap had now grown to almost 7 seconds to the car behind.

Thomas eased off a little in the last 2 laps not wanting to push to hard and make a mistake which would cost a result.  The win eventually came and Thomas crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of 2nd place. The next round will be held at Snetterton Circuit, a challenging and skinny circuit in the UK where qualifying may prove key as passing will be difficult.

A special mention must be given to FSR team mate Warren Pickering, who was unable to attend this round, as he was competing in the AllStar Shootout 5.  Pickering took on a field of 20 top drivers from the Aus/NZ region and came home with victory in the final.


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