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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Suzuka International Racing Course. 24 September 2019
September 22, 2015

 

Walk Racing give us a rundown on their 2015 Atlantic Series campaign where they placed second in the team championship, only eight points behind Team Proline.
With a strong start to the season, Walk Racing looked to have a strong attack at the drivers and teams championships. As we know; however, not all things go to plan and this was so this season.

The main driver, Ruud Heesterbeek, had been very strong at the beginning of the season taking the first win, but with a DNF at the INDY 500 and a disliking for the new Dallara DW12 introduced halfway through the season, meant that he began to struggle toward the end of the season. Heading into the last round at The Circuit of the Americas, Heesterbeek was too far back to take the title unless Lars Brugman recorded a DNF. Here is what Heesterbeek had to say of his season thus far:

"It was a mixed season for us. We were very strong at the start of the season, until a retirement for me in the Indy 500 event, where I got taken out by other drivers. Then we started using the updated version of the Dallara DW12 and I have been struggling for pace since the update."

Although starting the season 2nd, Danny Asbury's results began to fall as he had two DNFs and an 11th and 10th before he decided to abruptly leave just before the commencement of the 6th round. Obviously this upset some, but none more than the team manager, Caramidaru, who had this to say about the leaving of Danny:

" I had drivers leave the team before, I had drivers that I didn't get along also so I should not be fused but I am a sentimental sap, I like to make friends in this "simracing" world and at one point Danny was one of them, that's why I insisted all this years for him to join Walk, but that should be my biggest lesson , never insist to much then you are on the back foot with that person. Him leaving the team the way he did really disappointed me more than it should and also put a big blow to our hopes in the team title. But I can't be that upset, 2nd in the standings for both drivers and teams championship is not bad,not bad at all. So I have to say huge thanks to Ruud who put the effort in and Risto for jumping in to help, from 3 championships we have 2 wins and a 2nd, that's not bad is it now?

Thanks also to GPVWC for this league and everything that they put together and hopefully next year we will be as strong"

After the shock exit of Danny Asbury, Walk was left searching for a replacement and any hopes of taking the Teams Championship left with Danny. Luckily there was a perfect candidate in Risto Kappet, who had speed, but lack of experience had hurt him in his first event as a replacement.

"With limited practice I managed to get enough pace to beat my very skilled team mate in Qualifying, but in general the track had extremely poor frame rates for me, so I was under performing a lot. Had to drive without mirrors for any drive-ability, was managing a steady pace, but had a crash in the first quarter of the race, lost about 5 minutes limping back and repairing damage so I was pretty much the last running car across the line, even if the rest of my race was going well. Managed a single point I think, while Ruud climbed to 2nd."

The very last race of the season was held at The Circuit of the Americas and the Walk Racing drivers were looking to hold 2nd in the teams championship and Ruud was looking to finish the season strong.

Qualifying
Ruud - 2nd
Risto - 5th

Rudd - "It was difficult to drive a good qualifying lap, because on this track it is very easy to push too hard in some corners, which will make the car slide and cost you lap time. At the end of the session I did a reasonably good lap, which put me in second place."

Risto - "Had trouble with frame rates in qualifying, it was getting worse by the minute and although I got into the top 6, I couldn't complete a lap in the final minutes of the session because I had to look for a solution. It was either the Motec logging or team speak causing the troubles. I'm sure I could have gone 3rd with a decent lap as I was faster than Ruud most of the practice"


Race
Ruud - 1st
Risto - 5th


Ruud - "It was wet at the start of the race, which actually didn't bother me that much, because the car still felt very well balanced. I made a mistake early on running wide, which put me in third. Not much later I could take 2nd place from Lars and when I had caught up to Scott in the lead, he spun off and I inherited the lead. Since the pace at the start of the race was very slow (because of the wet track) we had saved fuel and tyres and I decided to stay out as long as possible, to have better tyres at the end of the race. When I came out of the pits, I was three seconds behind Lars. My pace was a lot better and I overtook him early in the second stint, after which I built a comfortable gap to win the final race of the season."

Risto - "It was an interesting race with a drying track like in qualifying, I was making good progress and staying with the top guys ahead very well. Before the pitstops I fell off a bit but in general found myself in a secure 3rd place after some fighting, Unfortunately as the fuel estimate had gone down with the rain driving in the first stages, I took too little fuel on my pitstop, about 1.5 L (I went from 55 to 45L so a small % mistake margin) but that meant I had to do the whole last lap very slowly to finish (barely drove up the first corner hill after the line) and I lost out my 3rd to finish 5th"

This year the Atlantic series hosted by GPVWC had its up and downs, but Walk Racing was able to hold on strong towards the end and secure 2nd, not only in the teams championship, but also the drivers championship with Ruud. Rudd finished the season only 33 points behind Lars Brugman who is this years champion. Walk Racing as a team finished 12 points behind Team Proline and look to take the challenge to them next season.

The drivers were asked to sum up their season and this is what they had to say:

Ruud - "It was good to end the season on a high, securing second place in the drivers championship. We were off the pace a bit in the middle of the season, but still got good results. It was an unfortunate DNF in the Indy 500 that really put us out of contention for the title. I look forward to going one place better next year. I also want to say thanks to Risto for pushing hard at the end of the season to try and get the teams championship. Unfortunately we were only twelve points short there."

Risto - "I enjoyed the driving, but a bit disappointed to have lost out on the teams championship. Most likely can be attributed to my crash in the last round, but will take 2nd and still happy that Mr.C let me substitute for the last two rounds, was a nice experience with this tricky to drive car. Better luck next time!"

Many thanks to GPVWC for hosting this series. Walk Racing looks forward to the next season and will be on the hunt for not only the team championship, but also the drivers.


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