Round 4 of the 2019 Group C races brought out 8 racers where temperatures hovered in the 50’s. This relatively low track temperature once again caused some questions about which tire compound to run and there were variations between the 30’s and 22’s on the fastest cars – however, lap times didn’t seem to vary much between the differently-shod vehicles.
Heat 1 showed some consistent driving for Russell, Alejandro, and Randy. Russell set the initial lap count to-beat as he posted 70 laps to win the heat. He continued stretching his lead in Heat 2, posting an even better 73 laps.
Heat 3 saw the first appearance of series points leader Marty. His dominance of the series with his Porsche has had everyone else playing catch-up, so the question was whether he could continue his streak. When the heat ended with 75 laps posted, it looked like he may have opened the door since the best lap count for a heat in the previous race was 77.
Heat 4 began, and David began his attempt to take advantage of the open door left by Marty’s 75 laps in the previous heat. When the session was over, David had done exactly that by counting off 77 laps. Marty, however, equaled that lap count as the two cars raced closely for the whole session.
Heat 5 closed out Marty’s assault on the top of the leader board as he clicked-off a 2019 series high 78 laps for a final count of 230.31. David was only able to manage 75, which would force him to equal Marty’s 78 lap heat to challenge for the win. Meanwhile the race for Group B began as the series dominant leader John began his first heat. His 73 laps looked good since his closest rival Erik was only able to post a best of 72 laps out of his 3 heats.
But Marty wasn’t in the clear yet since heat 6 was the first appearance of Ary, whose consistently fast, smooth driving would bring the challenge to the leaders in the final three sessions. The heat began and saw David pacing Ari through the corners. Both were posting times that would put them in the 77-78 lap range when they tangled in turn 1, causing a yellow. It would be the deciding factor as both racers completed 76 laps, with David winning the heat, but both losing the overall race…unless a superhuman effort could be mounted by Ari in the final heat.
In Group B, John completed 70 laps, which put him about even with his rival Erik. John needed a good final session to take his 4th win in 4 races.
Heat 7 all but crowned Marty the victor as Ary could only complete 76 laps. His final heat would determine whether he could oust David from second place, though. John completed 73 laps, which was good enough to take the Group B win by 2 laps and continue his dominance of the class.
Heat 8 had all eyes on Ari’s assault, but his attack came up short at 75.85 laps, a lap shy of what he needed to pass David.
The next Group C race is not until March 16, so drivers have a chance to work on their cars to try to catch up with Marty and John, who have won every race of the season in their respective groups of A and B. While both drivers dominate in wins, their rivals have always provided close racing, so even the slightest change can have a large result in swinging the pendulum of dominance another direction.