The race report of the ninth Challenge: Laguna Seca
Siro Zambra has won the Racer League race in California. Sanchez gets a little closer to leader Smidl in the race for the championship.
Nerve-wracking racing action in Laguna Seca! The pilots in the Racer League and Challenger League were involved in thrilling wheel-to-wheel duels from start to finish. Siro Zambra came out on top in the Racer League, the class that is run entirely without driving aids. The Zurich native only moved up to the top category this year after securing the Challenger championship title last season.
Following his second place in Spa, he is now celebrating his second podium in a row. "I don't know how I did it on this difficult circuit at Laguna Seca," said a delighted Zambra as he was celebrated by his lounge mates. "I've taken part in seven races this season and finished on the podium three times, it's sheer madness."
However, Zambra no longer has a say in the championship. Once again, it is Michal Smidl and Alejandro Sanchez who are battling it out for the title. Sanchez finished third at Laguna Seca, reducing the gap to ten points ahead of the final race. Three-time Racing Unleashed champion Smidl finishes fifth.
Second place went to Dominik Dedic, who had to fend off attacks from Sanchez for half the race. "Without a remaining Push2Pass activation, I couldn't mount an attack, even if he made a small mistake. It was too close and I had no chance with the dirty air," said an annoyed Sanchez, who is only partially happy about third place due to the championship situation.
"I'm not happy about the gap to Smidl. But we'll see what happens in the final," said the 2021 champion, who wanted to nibble off more than five points of the 15-point lead.
Everything is still wide open in the Challenger League too. Janik Pletscher's lead over Marcos Valverde has shrunk from 18 to eleven points after finishing eighth. His rival from the Madrid lounge finished third on the traditional US circuit.
At the front, his Spanish compatriot Unai Maroto had a thrilling battle with Mohamed Ramzy. After an incident with a lapped car, Ramzy was able to overtake and clinch victory for the Munich lounge. Nico Fahland, on the other hand, is now 26 points behind in eighth place and has no chance of catching up.
The grand finale of the Racing Unleashed Championship will take place on 13 January. The last championship points will be awarded at the Battle for Glory. The Racer and Challenger League drivers will not have much time to prepare. The track is secret and will only be announced shortly before the race. In the past two seasons, the Battle for Glory was held on the self-designed track at the virtual Zurich Airport and on the Circuito Ascari.
Top 3 Racer League
1st Michael Smidl - 129 points
2nd Alejandro Sanchez - 119 points
3rd Angelo Michel - 84 points
Top 3 Challenger League
1st Janik Pletscher - 127 points
2nd Marcos Valverde - 116 points
3rd Nico Fahland - 101 points