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Race Report: R1 Tsukuba Circuit

The VW Jetta Cup Season 2 Opener did not disappoint...

Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new track for them. We travel East to the island of Japan for our first race of the opening triple-header. Round 1 sees us visit Tsukuba for the first time, opting for the 2000 Full layout to create more opportunity for passes.

32 drivers arrive; 8 teams and 8 independent drivers take to the track for 45mins practice with 30 drivers being separated by 0.600s.

Qualifying would be tough to find space on the small circuit but not so much a problem for the series 9th new pole sitter Jack Lewin who took pole position with a stunning 1:02.970, out-qualifying the last man to sit on pole Morgan Burkhard (8th new pole sitter) by 0.043s. New driver Duncan Marais, who had early complaints of lack of pace, pulls a lap time out of no where to qualify P3 just ahead of Christopher Smith who shows his new pace in the pre season event was no fluke.

The sandbags were off and the first qualifying session of the season threw out some shocks, Notably King and Germany in 16th and 17th 0.3 off of pole, Bayliiffe in 24th 0.5 down, Oliver and Morse post the exact same time for 25th and 26th and Alfer-Henriksen 27th - a driver who finished last season 6th overall.

Tensions build as we start the first Sprint Race of the season. Morgan off to a flying start as he takes P1 off the line from Lewin and has a 1.7s lead by the time they get to Lap 2. Marais gets a bit tap from behind courtesy of Kyle Ridley which forces him out wide to lose a number of positions, whilst Van der Woude challenges Lewin for P2.

Iker Lekue has a spectacular crash into the wall being lucky not to collect many more drivers, Sebastian Hollmichel not so lucky though.

Andy Fox comes together with Joshua Germany into T3 taking Fox out of the race as he hits the wall hard. Signs of an early rivalry between Dan Thornton of ORD and Sam Vanolst kicks off with some amazing side by side battles as Thornton makes an attempt into the final corner for 24th place.

Gregory Ottley loses 2 places as Bayliffe sends it round his outside in T8 and Farr on the inside of T9 dropping Ottley to P16. Martin sends a move on Jesus into T8 with Ray Oliver and Jamison Huffman in the mix also but cant make the move stick as Jesus gets a good exit 5 cars fighting for the final point.

Burkhard takes the opening win of the season and his second ever.

with Lewin and Van Der Woude officially being the 15th and 16th new podium sitters in P2 and P3 respectively. Just missing out was Ryan Smith and Jake Cranstone in P4 and P5.

The Feature Race saw Pulsus eSports line up 1 2 and 3 on the grid and a clean get away looked to a dream start for the team. Jan Weißwange finds himself in last with an attempt round the outside of Lekue at T9 but lands in the gravel by going in too hot. Andy Fox's bad luck continues as gets tagged round by a spinning Sebastian Hollmichel who had just previously made contact with Marais at T1, Martin Wallace parks up getting stuck behind the stricken cars.

Caylor and Cranstone have an epic dice for P4 behind the Pulsus cars with Cranstone making the move stick. This allows Jake to close on Germany who puts up the best defence we have seen from the young northern driver. He holds up last years champion for a number of laps to the point Cranstone gives up and pits on lap 12 of 24.

Disaster on Lap 15 of 24 as Joshua Germany spins on pit entry and Stephen King has a long pitstop - throwing away a potentially historic 1,2 and 3.

Henry Morse keeps it together to take his sixth win and the first Feature Race win of the season with Cranstone directly behind in P2. 7s back in P3 was the Jared Caylor train with Van Der Woude, Lewin, King, Ryan Smith, Agard, Blake, Burkhard and Christopher Smith in tow.

Re-watch the action here

Official Results:


Sprint Race

Feature Race

Official Standings:

Drivers' Championship

Teams' Championship

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