rFactor 2 General Overseer
- Aug 11, 2016
A season worst result of fourth for Banz in the German rally was enough to see him maintain a lead in the championship over a race win, meaning that he will enter the final round of the championship in Wales with the knowledge that he has already done enough to secure his first AOR Rally League title.
Despite being unusually 'low' down in the order, @Banz was only 6 seconds off the eventual rally winner @JasonMcrae, in what was undoubtedly the closest rally in the history of AOR. Banz had previously not left the top two all season, but by managing the gaps sufficiently to his nearest challengers in respective matters, he was able to impressively claim the title even before we reached the last round of just a six event championship. Here's what the newest champion in AOR had to say about his remarkable season, which saw him compete as a Team AOR driver in the World Championship:
"It's awesome to be the champion after such hard work! Monte-Carlo season opener, Expections were not too high as I wasn't too sure about the car and tarmac is not my strong point. But it turned out great, Car started feeling more promising and I managed to finish 2nd, far away from Race Fanatic though. In Sweden I had a huge spin during high speed bumpy section almost hitting spectator in the process but thankfully I managed to keep on the road. After that I started flying through the stages and everything went pretty much perfectly. In the end I got the win by a margin like Race Fanatic had in Monte-Carlo. Greece I got lucky with my incidents. In the first stage I hit backend of my car to the cliff and spun the car in a very narrow spot. Then in the fourth stage I hit the inside corner and that made me go off the road but luckily there was a tree stopping me from sliding off the rally and possibly the whole season. Otherwise Greece was pretty good as I managed to get 2nd place with all that but Nico wasn't too far away! Also I started to get some lead in the championship after this as Race Fanatic had few major incidents in the rally. In Finland I tried to be bit careful as one crash could put me off the championship picture but still I managed to be pretty fast. My careful approach paid off as Starving had a spin in the rally and he lost the lead due to that but it was impressive drive from Starving nonetheless! Germany was pretty good for me I wasn't too far away from 2nd and 3rd place even managed to get fastest 3rd stage. 4th place was just enough to secure me the championship by 1 point which is nice but that does not mean that I don't drive Wales. That just means I try my best to get points for my team! The race for the 2nd and 3rd spots is still open it'll be interesting to see who will be in the 2nd and 3rd place after Wales."
Separating the championship's front two was @EpilepticToast with another consistently quick performance, and a spectacular effort from VBR E-Sport wildcard driver @VBR Hayasa rounding off the podium, both of whom slotting in ahead of Banz by less than two seconds! The closeness of this event resounded the further down the order, with the next four drivers were merely separated by less than four seconds, these were the three Ford Motorsport drivers (@Race Fanatic @AddictivePenguin and @Jarod) as well as VBR E-Sport team manager @VBR Swift. McRae Rally wildcard driver @Th3HolyMoose also impressed on his World Championship debut, whilst @RC Waltcynt was able to seize a top ten spot narrowly ahead of @Lamoracke79. Amazingly, all of these drivers were ahead of last season's victor @Nico, as twelfth place was all he could muster, albeit still within a minute of the rally winner @JasonMcrae.
In the Constructor's Championship, Ford Motorsport's solid all-round display was enough to lift them to a 30 point lead in the championship over Team AOR, which holds them as firm favourites for the title with only one more rally remaining. Team AOR look to have close company for second place, as VBR E-Sport move to just 13 points behind. All other positions seem unlikely to change, with a smallest gap of 35 points between VBR E-Sport, Team Lamp Post, McRae Rally and Japp Motorsport respectively.
The closeness of the World Championship was also replicated in the Pro Championship, where @Sisuvoima10 was able to claim back to back wins, and create a sizeable 64 points to @RCFloOm after a disappointing 8th position. This means that a top five in Wales will be enough to secure Sisuvioma the honour of being the first Pro Championship driver's champion. The tarmac surface brought new competition to the forefront of the championship, with first podiums for @mallucm and @FleX close behind Sisuvioma, whilst @jamie-995 was able to edge out wildcard driver @VBR Hayasa for a personal best finish of fourth also.
There was better news for @RCFloOm in Germany, as him and @RC Benkiwi85 reached an unbeatable score in the Constructor's Championship, to make PSRC1 the new champions. The pair are separated by just 15 points heading into the final round. They've been locked in a fierce inter team battle all season, and will both want the bragging rights of the number one driver should they be unable to close the gap to Sisuvioma in Germany.
Moving on to the final event of this magnificent rally season, the drivers will be taking on one of the toughest rallies of them all in Wales. The River Severn course twists through the Welsh countryside, surrounded by countless trees and the occasional stack of logs. The drivers will need to maintain full concentration to survive this rally, which is arguably on a similar level of difficulty to the epic Rally Finland. Competing as the final wildcards of the season will once again be @Th3HolyMoose for McRae Rally, whilst @Mr AlcoN will get his chance to shine for Team AOR.
The highlights from the World Championship are available on @FisiFan91's channel, at this playlist. Between highlight videos you can learn more about the World Championship and the Pro Championship in the forum threads linked. Remember that sign-ups will be open throughout the season to the Pro Championship here.
Good luck to all drivers for the challenging Welsh Rally, and a big thank you to @Banz for help with his interview, and congratulations for his first title in the AOR Rally League!
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