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SFO - Friday 17th October, 2003

Provisional SFO Results Released

Miodrag Mihailovic has been declared winner of the SFO Japanese Grand Prix, edging out World Champion Paul Fawcett. Arela's Adam Fretter, and Simon Jeavons. The four drivers appear to be the only ones to contest the final SFO race of 2003, which has already been decided. Fawcett is the SFO Champion and Arela the Constructors Champions. Nevertheless, Japan was still an important race for 2nd in the standings, and now Mihailovic has clinched 2nd in the standings with his win, his 5th of the season. 

F1VWC - Thursday 16th October, 2003

Shiro Ryong Wins 2003 F1VWC Championship!

Australian Shiro Ryong, after a season exemplary of consistency, has clinched the 2003 F1VWC Championship after a fierce battle with EIRE's Daniel Wilkinson and Mapes-VO's Mikko Jakonen, the defending champion. Wilkinson won the Japanese Grand Prix, leading home Jakonen who in turn beat his teammate Petri Loukasmaki, adding to the Mapes-VO Constructors total. The team had already clinched that title in Indianapolis, and so all focus for this race was on the Drivers title. 

This meant that ultimately it came down to Shiro Ryong. Kieran Ryan, who only joined the EIRE team in August, tried his best but couldn't hold off the SCUM driver for 4th place. Ryong passed Ryan on lap 42 and thus set the stage for clinching an amazing Championship, one which truly went down to the wire. Ryong wins his first championship by just one point, over Daniel Wilkinson.

Matt Maple finished 6th, just edging out Ryan McConkey by about 3 seconds. McConkey nevertheless scored his team's first points in the VWC, indeed the first points for a new team since JTM back in August. Antonio Irisarri brought his PhoenixF1 home in 8th place, claiming another point for the team and ultimately winning the battle for 5th place with 47 points, over teammate Jan Kelder.

Andy Graydon, substituting for Jan Kelder, had an extremely solid performance to just finish 9th, despite qualifying just 16th. An exemplary performance saw him rapidly rise through the field, and challenge for points too. Peter Harding narrowly missed adding to his points total, finishing 10th. Toby Lock meanwhile missed out on 6th place due to a penalty of 2 minutes, a result of high plank wear. David George only completed 22 laps, but it was good to see the Simsoa car on the track. Mariano Malisani struggled through technical difficulties, resulting in only two laps completed, but Stealth was recognized for at least making the effort and starting the race.

The race was fairly blighted by numerous DNF's, although fortunately they didn't affect the Championship. Miki Mihailovic, Paul Heyhoe, Jim Moir, Miguel Oliveira, Adam Fretter and Simon Jeavons failed to contest the race. Fortunately, the majority of these drivers gave the Admin notice before hand. Nevertheless, it was disconcerting to see so many drivers fail to race. Stealth was hoping to get a result from Heyhoe, but he may just settle for a testing role now. MMRT showed great promise in the US, but both drivers were busy competing in the SFO, which Mihailovic won. While Fretter wasn't expected to race, Moir's absence casts doubt on Vedder F1's future in the VWC, although there is still much time to decide. 

And so Shiro Ryong is our 2003 F1VWC Champion. Three wins, and numerous podiums, was what it took to take the title, proof that consistency wins over all else. It was certainly close, but a deserving champion he is. As Dan Regan stated, "I set up the off season testing schedule totally around Rab and I driving..... we were never going to win races and the only way we were going to score points was by being at the end every race. When Shiro took over my car it was nice to see us getting podiums and finally wins but I never saw him being WC with the high BHP tracks at the end. Shiro really drove beyond what the car was capable of, rarely getting the fastest laps but being a few tenths off it lap after lap after lap. The lads a fecking machine."

Congratulations to Driver's Champion Shiro Ryong, Constructor's Champions Mapes-VO, Daniel Wilkinson who won 6 races this season, Mikko Jakonen, winner of 4, as well as Jason Endean, Petri Loukasmaki, and Joe Consiglio, each of whom won 1 race in 2003. A truly remarkable year!

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Wednesday 8th October, 2003

Jakonen in Pole Position for Championship Challenge

Mapes-VO's Mikko Jakonen has taken pole position for the F1VWC Japanese Grand Prix, giving him the best possible chance at the Driver's Championship. Jakonen beat fellow championship competitor Daniel Wilkinson by .321 seconds, with a lap time just a hair over the 1m 30s mark. Wilkinson's teammate Kieran Ryan followed up his pole in the US with a 2nd row start here and another solid lap time. The eyes of the paddock had to keep searching though for the championship leader and favourite, Shiro Ryong. The SCUM driver started the session well, being as high as third place, but ended up being displaced by no less than five drivers, resulting in 8th place on the grid for the second straight race. Ryong needs to move up four places to clinch the title; he finished third in Indianapolis.

Petri Loukasmaki will start 4th and will likely be helping his teammate by keeping Ryong held up. Meanwhile, Ryan McConkey stepped up as a formidable force with a solid 5th place - at one time as high as 3rd, and with a very deficient BHP. The American will be getting a new wheel soon, which should make him even more competitive over the coming weeks and months. The JTM duo of Toby Lock and Matt Maple start 6th and 7th, finishing their excellent 4 race qualifying battle tied at 2-2. Antonio Irissari lead the PhoenixF1 drivers, just behind Shiro Ryong, while Paul Sleight gives MMC two solid chances at scoring their first points of the season by starting 10th. MMC are also trying to become just the third new team this season, after Annunziata and JTM, to score a point.

SCUM's Peter Harding will start 11th, with MMRT's Miodrag Mihailovic in 12th, the 2nd fastest keyboard driver. Paul Heyhoe's debut in sim-racing saw him place 13th for Stealth-BMW, just edging out Jim Moir in VedderF1's first race. Mariano Malisani narrowly squeezed into the race starting 15th, just under two full seconds ahead of the celebrated return of Andy Graydon. The PhoenixF1 boss was forced into the cockpit when Jan Kelder unexpectedly pulled out. The team has not stated the reason for Kelder's absence, but it could mean the Dutchman is on thin ice with PhoenixF1. Graydon has not raced since Japan 2002, but will hopefully have a strong race.

David George rounded out the qualifiers for Simsoa, a slow time but it will get him in the race. His teammate Simon Jeavons failed to show up for the race, which leaves serious questions for the future of Simsoa. Lawrence Lewis will undoubtedly do his best to secure strong drivers though for the future. Adam Fretter of VedderF1 was an uncertainty right up to the end of qualifying, and ultimately was unable to join the series in Suzuka. The Scotsman is busy trying to secure 2nd place in the SFO Championship, but did inform the Administration of his DNS. Fretter will likley join the paddock for winter testing, in advance of the 2004 season.

MMRT's Miguel Oliveira set a qualifying time of 1:32:974, but was judged with illegal plank wear which occured on his in-lap. Oliveira indicated he may appeal the ruling, but at the very least will still start the race in 18th and has good chances to move past the slower drivers ahead.

The real focus of this race is on the Championship contenders. The many variables amongst the three drivers have already been outlined in both SimRacing and the F1VWC website. Now things are a bit clearer. The odds have increased that we could have a three-way tie for the Championship, which would give it to Mikko Jakonen, but Daniel Wilkinson is such a force in the race that he may in fact still be the favourite to at least win the race. With Kieran Ryan, Petri Loukasmaki, and Ryan McConkey in the mix as well, Shiro Ryong may be facing quite a tough battle to move up the grid. He only needs 4th place but needs to pass Maple, Lock and most of all McConkey. Most likely, the 2003 Championship will be decided by one or two points.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Sunday 5th October, 2003

Fretter Joins Vedder F1, Heyhoe to Drive For Stealth

Scotsman Adam Fretter, fresh off his first SFO win of 2003, has signed with Vedder F1, the new F1VWC team that replaces NWO. Fretter is expected to race at Japan but final confirmation has not been made just yet. He is busily concentrating on the SFO Japanese Grand Prix, where he is still in contention for 2nd overall, and so may sit out the final VWC event of 2003. Fretter will join Vedder F1 full time though for 2004, alongside team owner and manager Jim Moir. Moir will be racing in Japan.

Meanwhile, Englishman Paul Heyhoe has won the battle to drive for Vodafone Stealth-BMW at the F1VWC Japanese Grand Prix. Heyhoe edged out a number of drivers for the opportunity, and will be making his sim-racing debut at Suzuka. A friend to Paul Sleight and Ryan McConkey, Heyhoe has been involved with MMC Racing for a short period, but has not seen any on-track action yet. Nevertheless Stealth Team Principal Ted Cragg said he is "more than willing" to take a chance on the unproven driver, who "may have a thing or two up his sleeve." "We have heard good things about Paul, but more than anything signing him exactly fits with our plans. Here is an unproven driver who we have the opportunity to test out in a strong car, which could have big implications for next season, both for ourselves and him" said Cragg.

SimRacing News Service.

SFO - Friday 3rd October, 2003

Fretter Wins SFO United States Grand Prix

Arela-Peugeot's Adam Fretter has won the SFO United States Grand Prix, his first victory this season. After coming so close to winning all year long, the Scotsman has finally succeeded, edging out notable competitors Miodrag Mihailovic and Paul Fawcett, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Mihailovic had the pole for the race, but the Serbian lost out for the win by about eight and a half seconds, despite setting a faster lap than Fretter. It was Fawcett who ultimately set the fastest lap of the race, the only driver under 1minute 11seconds, but had to settle for third place, surprisingly a full minute behind Mihailovic.
The win is Arela-Peugeot's 11th of the season, and finally clinches them the Constructor's Championship which they have been closing in on for so long. The team is now 42 points clear of Stealth-Renault, with only 18 left to play. Going into the race they needed two points to clinch - they scored 16.
Indianapolis saw a reasonable turnout of five drivers, with Jim Moir in his first race for Wanderers giving them 5 points, their first points of the season. Simon Heywood scored his second consecutive fifth place for Fantom, who move up to eighth place in the Constructor's with 8 points, just one behind Woods Racing.
One race remains for the SFO this season, and all eyes will again be on Fretter and Mihailovic. The Stealth driver had hopes of clinching 2nd place in the standings at the US race, but instead found himself losing 2 points to the Scotsman. Mihailovic now holds an 8 point advantage over Fretter, but will certainly have to be at his best in Suzuka in order to beat him. Fretter has passed Miguel Oliveira for 3rd overall, and him and the Arela team would like nothing better than to make one final push as the SFO draws to a close, and finish 1-2.

SimRacing News Service.

SimRacing Magazine: September News Archive

SimRacing Magazine: August News Archive