Challenges of the Rising Sun
The V8 SuperTrucks returned to Twin Ring Motegi for the 2018 season late last month. Changes in the schedule moved the circuit earlier in the season, making it an eligible points drop round for the 2018 season. Motegi is known for being deceptively challenging circuit with unique S-curve (Turns 7 & 8) and downhill 90° corner (Turn 11) off-camber sections. Round 4 provided plenty of excitement for fans, with some drivers getting the boost they needed, while others would fall further behind.
Open practice was full of surprises with Marco Mogren and Sven Cammaerts were challenged by V8ST veteran Justin Kruithof for the top time. Mogren would be able to conquer Kruithof’s lap by a mere 2 tenths in the closing minutes of practice. However, eyes were on newcomer Gabriel Roos who took the 3rd fastest time in practice, three tenths behind Kruithof.
Bobby Zalenski dominated Warmup and Qualifying starting on pole position once again. When the green flag dropped the 19 truck field fanned out across the front straight running 4 wide as they headed into Turn 1. Unfortunately for Roos and Daniel Thompson, Tim Claessens would misjudge the braking point making contact with Roos which would collect Thompson and send both Roos and Thompson into the outside tire barrier. It was not the way Claessen hoped for the race to start, and would pick up championship penalty points for the incident.
The green flag run would be cut short when Logan Clampitt would lose the rear of the JDR Graphics Silverado impeding the flow of race traffic bringing out the first full course yellow of the race. After returning to green flag racing, Claessens’ day went from bad to worse, as he found the inside tire barrier on the exit of turn 4 on the first lap back under green.
As the race continued the top 3 (Zalenski, Cammaerts, and Mogren) would run away from the field, however, the battle for 4th was anything but quiet. Erik Blixt who started 11th worked his way up to 5th by lap 8 hunting down Kruithof. On lap 10, Blixt would take his mandatory pitstop, while Kruithof would follow suit on Lap 11. Blixt would beat Kruithof into Turn 1 on lap 12, taking 4th place, and holding off Kruithof to the finish.
The race was full of Twin Ring Motegi’s signature side-by-side battles, however James King and Diogo Melro took the display to new heights battling door-to-door for nearly all of Lap 14! However with intense battles come casualties and they seemed to follow Torque Freak Racing Blanchimont on the final lap while fending off Daniel Thompson, Bram Reniers lost control of this LINK ECU Tundra coming out of ‘V Corner’ hitting the outside wall severely damaging the engine, costing him a top 10 finish. The misfortuines would leave the Torque Freak Racing Blanchimont teammates to finish together in 14th and 15th with a tenth of a second separating them.
With Round 4 complete, the first of two drop rounds have been factored into the points. The drop made quite the impact to the Driver standings with Erik Blixt and Logan Clampitt breaking into the top 5. Martin Kapal would move into the Top 10 and Marco Mogren would close the points gap with Bobby Zalenski by 5 points.
With two-thirds of the season remaining and one drop round left, anything can happen as we head to Nurburgring Grand Prix Circuit later this month. Sven Cammaerts nearly upset Bobby Zalenski in 2017, so Round 5 should be quite the spectacle. Be sure to tune in for the RaceSpot broadcast on May 26th right here at socksoutracing.com/live See you then