After struggling in the first three races, the second half of GPVWC’s 2016 International Touring Cup saw a huge improvement for STAX Racing. Here is the second part of our season report.
"2016 International Touring Cup Report Pt. 2" table of contents
Reminder: You can read the first part of our season report here.
As mentioned before, Carlos Andres Ladines asked the team to find a replacement driver for him after Round Three because he couldn’t guarantee that he would be able to start any races in the second half of the season. With Rob Mason, the team was able to acquire the service of a driver with a history of regularly scoring points in the 2016 Formula Challenge season for Epic Racing. Diego Carranza was working abroad, so Nico Barclay once again started for the team. Both drivers qualified in the midfield for Race One (Nico Barclay in P11, Rob Mason in P13). After a good start, Nico made contact with Niranjan Kumar, who flipped spectacularly. Nico fell back to P16 behind Rob, but finished the race in P11 because of some nice passes and some off-track moments of other drivers. Rob had some nice fights for position with Philip Morby, but crashed with James Wilson and had a major off. Nonetheless, he fought back and finished the race just outside the points in P16. In Race Two, Nico was in ninth place for most of the time, but a overtake in the last lap meant he would finish eight. Rob had a more action packed race, as he crashed heavily into the track barrier after making contact going into a corner three-wide with Adam Taylor and Mark Wicks. After that he found himself in 21st position, but fought hard to finish P17 in the end. The third and final race was action-packed for both drivers: In Lap two, Philip Morby closed the door on Nico, which, after a chain reaction, sent Tobias Olson into a spectacular half-spin. Nico was able to overtake James Wilson in Lap 10, gaining P6 momentarily. However, after a sub-optimal corner-exit, Nico got a tap on his car’s back, which sent him into the barriers hard. Nonetheless, Nico was able to finish in P10, which meant he finished all three races of the 2016 French Touring Cup in the points. Rob Mason lost control while trying to avoid a crash in the first corner, finding himself in P20 after the first corner. After some thrilling battles with Ben Willis and Tuomas Koriala, he was in P14 momentarily. Koriala was able to pass Rob in Lap 7, and while Rob was able to follow him closely and put him under pressure, but was unable to make a move before the end of the race. Nevertheless, with Rob finishing in P15, both STAX Racing drivers scored points in a race for the first time this season. After penalties were applied, Rob was classified in P13 for both Race 1 and 2,
which meant he scored even more championship points on his début for STAX Racing.
The penultimate round took place in Dubai at the Dubai Autodrome. Once again, the STAX Racing lineup consisted of Rob Mason and Nico Barclay, with both drivers starting from the the back of the grid because of penalties from the French Touring Cup. Nico Barclay started from P17 but gained a lot of places in the first lap. In Lap 5, he was in P10 already. After gaining another spot, he was able to close the gap to the cars in front of him, but the race ended before he could make any further moves. Rob Mason started from 19th position, but lost a lot of places in the first lap. After falling back to P22, he clawed himself back to P18 and was able to overtake Jacky Lotterman in the last corners, finishing in P17. In Race Two, Nico started from P9 and again gained some spots in the first few laps. He climbed as high as P5 until both Epic Racing cars were able to overtake him in Lap 9 and 11 respectively. In the end, he finished the race in P7. Rob started from P17 and also gained a few places in the first laps. He closed the gap to the driver in P15, but was unable to get into the points in this race. The third and last race saw Nico start in P5. He was able to gain two spots when he overtook Lewis McGlade in the first lap and James Wilson nearly flipped his car in the third lap. In the same lap, Nico overtook David Francic and was able to gain some space to the cars behind him. In the end, he finished the race in P2, the best result for STAX Racing in the 2016 International Touring Cup so far. Rob Mason however, starting in P16, had a race to forget. Lottermann, who was in front of him in the first lap, got carried out of a corner and rejoined the track without lifting, hitting Rob in the process. Rob crashed heavily into the barrier and found himself in last place. After flipping the car further into the lap, he drove into the pits to get his car repaired. Unfortunately, he found the car nearly impossible to drive and, after flipping the car once more in the second lap, decided to retire the car.
The last round of the season was held at Interlagos. Nico Barclay had a five-slots grid penalty and started 10th. In an exciting race, he was able to overtake drivers such as Sven de Vries and Niki Đaković to finish eighth. Rob Mason started in P8. He lost some places at the start, but was then able to follow Nico Barclay closely for much of the race. In the last laps of the race, David Jundt was able to close the gap to Rob and put him under pressure, however he suffered a half-spin at the last corner, which meant that Rob finished Race One in P12. Race Two saw a close fight between Nico and the two Vod:Bul drivers. Nico was able to overtake Adam Taylor on the start-finish straight, almost scraping the pit wall. Then followed a thrilling three-way battle between him, Niki Đaković and Lewis McGlade. In the last lap, Nico was able to overtake Lewis, finishing P6. Rob Mason had a déjà vu, as Jundt was again on his tail for the last couple of laps. After many defensive manoeuvres, this time the Swiss driver was able to overtake him in the last lap. Rob finished this race in 12th position. Nico Barclay started the last race of the season from 5th position on the grid. However, David Francic suffered from a technical problem which meant he lost all steering input. As his car drifted onto the racing line, Nico Barclay made contact, sending him crashing into the wall. After another spin in the opening lap, Nico was forced to retire the car in the pits on Lap Two. Rob once again was close to Jundt in Race Three, and after some close fight with Adam Hodgkinson Rob finished the last race of the season in P8.
All in all, it was a season of two halves for STAX Racing. After struggling in the first three races, where the team only finished in the points twice from 15 starts, the second half was a huge improvement. In 18 starts, the driver pairing Barclay / Mason only finished three times outside the points. In the end, STAX Racing was 10th in the Constructors’ championship table, just one point behind Origin Front Row Racing.
Below, you will find all videos of this exciting season. On the next page will be the results table for all STAX Racing drivers.