The BP Supercars All Stars eSeries has now reached the half-way point, and last night’s round at the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit was the best in terms of driving standards across the field, incidents early in the reverse-grid second race notwithstanding.
Lachlan Mansell analyses the winners and losers of the Belgian event.
IMAGES: Supercars, Daniel Kalitz, Mark Horsburgh, Getty Images
Thumbs Up – Shane Van Gisbergen
SVG – along with Anton De Pasquale – has clearly been one of the standout drivers in the eSeries in terms of outright pace, but incidents at critical times have robbed him of valuable points, especially in the reverse grid races.
The Giz’s Spa campaign got off to a shaky start due to an incident with Anton De Pasquale on the final lap of Race 1, which saw him relegated to fifth position after crossing the finish line first. However, a methodical drive to fourth in the reverse-grid race ensured he started on pole for the final, from which he drove to a decisive victory to secure the overall round honours and claw back some valuable points on Scott McLaughlin.
Thumbs Down – Drivers pushing the boundaries
First it was drivers not activating their pit speed limiters to try and gain an advantage during their pit stops, and then last night we had drivers deliberately crashing after the finish line to try and accumulate incident points to score a higher starting position for the reverse-grid race.
OK, we know they’re competitive individuals but applying the real-world methodology of pushing the rulebook to the nth degree is probably taking things a bit too far.
Thumbs Up – Broc Feeney
17-year-old reigning Kumho V8 Touring Car Champion and current Super2 driver Broc Feeney became the first wildcard driver to win a race in the eSeries. His night began in dismal fashion when internet connectivity issues prevented him starting Race 1, but he showed genuinely impressive speed and race-craft to win Race 2, and also ran strongly in Race 3.
Turns out Feeney’s rising star status is not just restricted to real-life motorsport.
Thumbs Down – Anton De Pasquale’s luck
When will fortune finally turn in Anton’s favour? Every time he looks to be in a position to score a decent haul of points, fate intervenes and he gets knocked down the order. Last night, it was a Race 1 collision with Van Gisbergen that compromised his night, although at least this time he managed to stay out of trouble in the reverse-grid race and finished second in Race 3 despite a late spin.
Thumbs Up – Cameron Waters
He’s been the quiet achiever of the eSeries so far, and once again the Tickford racer accumulated a solid bundle of points last night. He may not quite have the outright speed of the likes of Van Gisbergen or De Pasquale, but his knack of staying out of trouble has paid dividends and Waters is establishing himself as one of McLaughlin’s primary championship rivals.
Thumbs Down – Lando Norris’ Race 2 pit entry
Lando Norris did a lot of good things during his wild-card debut last night. But driving the wrong way up the racetrack, trying to do a U-turn into pit lane and subsequently causing a pile-up which blocked pit entry was not among those good things.
Double Thumbs-Up – Scott Pye’s Twitch feed
Following the conclusion of last night’s race, I decided to tune into Scott Pye’s Twitch feed for a while. It started off as casual banter between Pye, Van Gisbergen and a couple of other guests including Steven Johnson and Mitch Evans, and it became progressively looser as the night went on.
I can’t tell you how the stream ended, because by 11:30pm I had fallen asleep to hilarious analysis from Scott and SVG where they were watching Race 3 of the night from just about every driver’s point of view, humorously dissecting each incident and winding each other up about missed apexes.
Watch for some quality entertainment here – https://www.twitch.tv/videos/612678570 (the best bits are well after the Supercars races have finished).
Neil Crompton quote of the night – “THE TRACK IS JAMMED!!!! THE TRACK IS JAMMED!!!!”