Following on from Konstantin Gugkaev’s victory the previous day, Round 4 of the 2018 Gulf Radical Cup offered drivers their second opportunity of the weekend to score valuable points in the championship.
The race kicked off from a rolling start with poleman Gugkaev taking the lead followed by D5’s James Edmeads, Sergey Shalunov and Seppo Mantyla in close pursuit. But by the end of lap 1, Shalunov had got past Edmeads.
As the drivers started to burn off their heavy fuel load and settle into a fast pace it was noticeable that on lap 4 the first four cars were lapping within .13 of a second - remarkably consistent and close racing!
But on lap 6, the hard charging Shalunov spun which cost him time and put him at the back of the pack with a lot of work to do to catch back up. Just a couple of fast laps later he was already past compatriot Amir Feyzulin.
After 15 minutes the pit lane was opened for the mandatory pit stop window of 10 minutes when drivers must stop their car for 45 seconds. The top 3 from the previous race have to also observe an additional pit stop penalty which can have quite a dramatic impact on the race order.
First to pit was Gugkaev, Mantyla and Ian Roberts followed the next lap by Ben Freer and Shalunov. James Edmeads brought the #4 car in just moments before the pit lane closed but was reported for speeding in the pit lane.
As the race resumed with all the pit stops completed, it was Jeff Curtis in the #4 who was in the lead, followed by Gugkaev some 8.5 seconds behind and Jani Hjerppe in the #17 just 1.2 seconds adrift.
Within 3 laps Hjerppe had got past Gugkaev and would go on to overtake Curtis to take the lead. But at the rear of the pack Shalunov, who had been driving rapidly, just posting a purple first sector to regain his position suffered a technical issue which stopped the car in a difficult spot and which brought out the safety car. The order did not change as the race finished under the safety car giving victory to the team of Jani Hjerppe and Seppo Mantyla, with James Edmeades and Jeff Curtis in second and Gugkaev in third.
Rounds 5 and 6 of the Gulf Radical Cup will be held on the 7th & 8th December at the Dubai Autodrome.
The Gulf Radical Cup is promoted by GulfSport Racing, the UAE’s exclusive sales and support centre for Radical customers.