With the McLaren lacking top speed, how did our drivers fare in Monza? Here is our race report.
"2018 World GT Series Round 5 Race Report" table of contents
At the midpoint of the season, STAX Racing was second in the Team’s Standings, just three points behind ACR Zakspeed and ten point ahead of Edonis Engineering. After the last race, both drivers moved up one position in the Drivers’ Championship: Nico Barclay was now third while Chris Shepherd was fifth in the standings.
Chris again had a very good qualifying. He started the race from fourth position. He set the second fastest lap in qualifying, but suspected that he may have cut a corner by the smallest of margins. Since his second fastest lap of the session was still very competitive, he decided to play it save and not risk a “Back of the grid” penalty in the next race. Remarkably, he was able to outqualify a lot of Corvette, Mercedes and Bentley drivers, despite the McLaren having inferior topspeed compared to the other cars. In the first couple of laps, Chris had a nice battle for position with Arne Schoonvliet. On Lap 4, Mateusz Bogusz gave Chris the slightest of taps in Curva Parabolica, forcing both drivers to go wide, loosing positions. Two laps later, Chris was in the slipstream of Jajovski down the front straight. The Edonis Engineering driver successfully attacked Chris’ teammate Nico going into T1 while Chris tried to follow the Macedonian driver. Unfortunately, both STAX Racing drivers competed for the same piece of tarmac and made contact. Chris lost some momentum, allowing Bogusz and Brugman to pass hime while Nico found himself in the graveltrap. Chris passed Brugman one lap later and gained another position when Kasdorp (P3) crashed into a backmarker. After passing Jajovski on lap 21, Chris headed for the pits on lap 27 rejoined the race in P9. In the following laps he had a gripping battle for position with Streetfighter Racing Systems’ Fidock. On lap 39, the leader Arne Schoonvliet lost control of his car coming out of Variante Ascari, had a big crash and retired from the race. One lap later, Chris was able to pass Fidock in Turn 1. Ahead of him, Bogusz and Jajovski were fighting for position, allowing Chris to close the gap and ultimatevly pass both of them. In the closing laps of the race, Chris was chased by Fidock, Bogusz and Jajovski, but he finished the race ahead of them in P2.
Nico started the race from 8th position. On lap 4, he gained a couple of spots after Chris and Bogusz went wide in the last corner and passed Jajovski in the following chicane. The Edonis Engineering driver passed Nico at the same spot one lap later, but Nico was able to regain P5 after overtaking the Macedonian driver on the outside going into Variante Ascari. After making contact with Chris on lap 6, Nico rejoined the race in P10, directly behind Rauno Muru. He pitted on Lap 26, exiting the pits in P14. However, after every driver did their pit stop, he was in P7 already. Nico gained another position when Schoonvliet crashed shortly after and finished the race in P6.
Leaving Monza, Chris now is third in the Drivers’ Championship, followed by Nico in P4. For the first time in our team’s history, STAX Racing is leading the Teams’ Championship, being two points ahead of ACR Zakspeed.
The next race will be held in Silverstone on May 31st, 2018. Unfortunately, there was no broadcast for the race in Monza. There might be an official highlights reel of the race. In the meantime, both of our drivers uploaded a highlights video from Monza. You can find them and some screenshots below. On the next page, there are the results table of last week’s round.