Shane Van Gisbergen has gone back-to-back in round six of the 2KCUP iRacing Sunday League, securing both race wins on the 2.045km Tsukuba Circuit in Japan.
A controversial race one win victory headlined the round as the kiwi Supercars ace made contact with rival Matthew Payne while battling for the lead. The KZ2 karting champion was sent into the wall four laps from the chequered flag, allowing Van Gisbergen to cruise home to an unrivalled victory.
Though it was a far cleaner affair in the night’s second affair. Van Gisbergen coming from tenth at the start, working himself quickly through the field to finish 2.1s ahead of Payne at the line.
An incredible start by Callum Hedge from third on the grid saw the aspiring Porsche driver jump ahead of James Watson and Billy Frazer before the field reached turn one.
A surprisingly clean lap ultimately foreshadowed a lap two collision.
And as the field began their second tour, 2019 TRS champion Liam Lawson become unstuck on the exit of turn 1, sending himself into the outside wall and taking a hapless Alister Hawkins along with him.
Lawson dropped a lapped down while rivals Matthew Payne and Shane Van Gisbergen capitalised on the ensuing carnage to jump ahead of Warren Crowther and Watson for second and third positions.
Van Gisbergen made his decisive move on lap seven, lunging up the inside of Payne at the turn one hairpin. As the pair duelled away, Hedge began to increase his lead.
But as the early shenanigans race began to settle down, Hedge struggled match the pace of the duo behind.
First Van Gisbergen made his move stick at turn one while Payne forced a resilient Hedge into an error at the turn four left hander.
But a hotly contested battle behind for fifth saw Crowther get tagged into a pirouette, clipping Hedge in the process. Hedge was demoted to ninth while Crowther was compelled to pit and dropped a lap to the leaders.
As the laps ticked over, Payne began to crawl himself back into race winning contention. SVG’s 1.7 second lead had diminished to less than two-tenths with five laps remaining.
But a valiant attempt to drive around the outside of Van Gisbergen saw Payne get forced wide and, not for the first time in the series, the pair touched and the KZ2 karting ace was pushed into the wall.
Van Gisbergen would then wrestle his wounded car home in a controversial race win, ahead of Ryan Wood.
Frazer withstood a hard-charging Mccutcheon to round off the podium. After his late-race incident Payne would finish the race down in ninth, awarding him a front row start for the night’s second race.
As expected, Payne got the better of the start, leading Hedge and Peter Vodanovich into turn one.
Compelled to start tenth due to the reverse top-10 grid order, Van Gisbergen had worked himself inside the top-five by the beginning of the second tour.
Getting past Wood on lap five, Van Gisbergen struggled to get away from the Toyota 86 racer. Though the duo were both closing in on Vodanovich who had let Hedge and Payne slip away up front.
A wily move around the outside at turn one a handful of laps later promoted the 2016 Supercars champion ahead of Vodanovich. Wood quickly followed suit, overtaking his 86 series counterpart at turn four on the same lap.
Further back, Chris Symon found the wall at turn seven, ending the Formula First pilot’s day prematurely.
Having cleared Vodanovich, Van Gisbergen immediately began to hunt down Hedge before ultimately stealing the position away two laps later.
What ensued was an incredible tussle between van Gisbergen and Payne for the race win. Lapping an average 0.5s-per-lap quicker than his rival, Van Gisbergen had reeled in Payne with ten laps remaining.
Searching in vain for a way past, Van Gisbergen made light contact with Payne at turn four, sending the race leader into a half-spin.
In gentlemanly fashion, Van Gisbergen redressed the incident and allowed Payne back by for the lead.
Though he wouldn’t have to wait too long before his next opportunity presented itself.
Two laps later and yet another move at turn one saw Van Gisbergen take control of the race. Going on to lead Payne home and claim the series’ first round clean sweep.
Aaron Ivers would round off the podium as Hedge and Wood collected each other at the final turn six laps from the chequered flag.
|1||Shane Van Gisbergen||31 Laps|
|1||Shane Van Gisbergen||31 Laps|
Catch the Full Race replay below: