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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Suzuka International Racing Course. 24 September 2019
May 03, 2012
Published on tags: Superleague
German ace Lukas Euler returned to the top of the GPVWC Superleague rankings courtesy of a spotless win at the Circuit de Catalunya - his first in three races.

Beautiful sunshine greeted the GPVWC paddock as they arrived for the fifth round of the GPVWC Superleague championship. Although many teams brought car upgrades with them to try and help them move up the grid, all eyes were once again on the seemingly unbeatable Midnight Motorsport. Both Lukas Euler and Nick Rowland have shown unbelievable pace in the opening four rounds, stunning their rivals with both superb Qualifying and Race pace. Two wins apiece for each driver sum up their early season dominance. Despite a couple of eventful races at Abu Dhabi, and more notably Hungary for Euler, his incredible pace in Qualifying has so far not been tested, taking four pole positions out of four before Barcelona.

There were no prizes for guessing that Euler would indeed get his fifth straight pole position, by an incredible margin of one whole second ahead of Rowland, who despite placing in 2nd, had a 5 place grid penalty, meaning he'd be forced to start the race in 7th. 2010 champion Janne Tanskanen also had the same penalty, meaning he would start the race down in 9th position, after finishing the session in 4th. All this meant reigning champion Joe Consiglio would start on the front row, surprisingly for the first time this season. An impressive showing from Woods Racing driver Tom Parker saw him start from 3rd, ahead of Dave Carr-Smith, Simon Cattell, Lee Morris, Rowland, Ruud Heesterbeek, Tanskanen, and Pavel Loknovski who rounded out the top 10.

Despite normally locking out the front row, Midnight have had some issues at the start of the race when getting away from the grid, and their rivals hoped these issues would rear their ugly head again. At the third time of asking after some incident packed attempts at starting the race, the field finally got away, with pole man Euler indeed not getting away particularly well, allowing Consiglio to take the lead, and a fast starting Carr-Smith up into 2nd. Euler quickly dispelled any glimmer of hope his rivals had at challenging for the win, passing Carr-Smith for 2nd place as quickly as Turn 5, and passing Consiglio for the lead just a couple of laps later. The boy can pass afterall! Once in clear air, the German flexed his muscles and quickly pulled out a gap between himself and Consiglio, who quickly found another Midnight car behind him. After starting down in 7th, Rowland took care of his rivals lap after lap, and once ahead of Consiglio, was never under pressure again, and maintained the gap between himself and teammate Euler.

Coming off the back of a couple of slightly difficult races for Euler, he breezed towards his third win of this young season, staying well out of trouble whilst still showing untouchable pace at times. He finished 21 seconds ahead of Rowland, who had an impressive drive after his grid penalty, forcing him to make a number of passes to secure 2nd place. Midnight underlined their dominance after unbelievably lapping every single other car out there, a feat rarely achieved in this competitive era of motorsport. The best of the rest was Janne Tanskanen, taking his first podium since his return to the Superleague after his brief hiatus, with himself and Red Archer showing improved pace compared to the first four races. An enthralling race long battle between Lee Morris and Dave Carr-Smith eventually came to a head with the former taking 4th place, a good result with a relatively undeveloped car. Carr-Smith will surely be happy with 5th place after being called up as a last minute stand-in once again for Christoph Lichtenstein. Simon Cattell took 6th place for Kernow Sport, although perhaps could have challenged for a podium place had he not been penalised for speeding in the pits and awarded a drive-through penalty. Pavel Loknovski took 7th for Nordsjoen Racing. David Jundt's 8th place finish brought some relief to the Swiss driver after a disappointing start to the season. Bart De Vos, who admitted struggling with his car in practice, did an excellent job pulling off a 2 stop strategy when the general consensus appeared to be running a 3 or 4 stopper would be the optimum strategy, and took his first points of the season in 9th. Bart's teammate Lewis Redshaw rounded out the top 10. Nordsjoen Racing's Joe Consiglio was the headline retirement, with his car stopping due to technical issues on Lap 17, making his aim of defending his championship even more of a difficult task, even at this relatively early stage of the season.

With his third win of the season, Euler retakes the championship lead from Rowland, with 62 and 60 points respectively. The Midnight boys nearest rival is Lee Morris, hanging on with 48 points. Consiglio's retirement sees him slip 28 points behind Euler, and stays 4th in the championship. Tanskanen's podium sees his 5th position in the championship strengthened. Cattell remains in 6th, ahead of Loknovski, Carr-Smith, Parker and Heesterbeek filling out the rest of the top 10 in the standings. In the Constructors standings, it makes very pretty reading for Midnight Motorsport, with an incredible 122 points already, with a staggering 70 point lead over second placed Nordsjoen Racing, who are just 1 point ahead of Draig Racing in third. Red Archer remain in 4th, while Kernow Sport remain best of the rookie teams in 5th, although fellow rookies Green Stripes Racing lie just 2 points behind them thanks to Carr-Smith. Red 5 Racing remain the only team without a point to their name at this stage of the season.



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