Roberts Vitols started his RX2e race weekend of World RX of UK in style by a brave manoeuvre and race win in Heat 1. Although the result of Heat 2 felt unfair which took away 3rd place overall in Heat 2 and also overnight after 2 qualifying sessions, Roberts showed speed and race craft and is ready to start his fight back on Sunday.
Heat 1 – Great start and clean track ahead gives the race win.
From qualifying practice Roberts earned the first starting position for the second fastest race of Heat 1 where he didn’t miss his chance to lead the whole race and take the race win in Heat 1. Roberts started on pole and the Latvian rallycross driver managed to escape from being squeezed before turn one to take the lead with a beautiful and brave move that set him up well for the remaining of 5 laps. In Heat 1 overall standings Roberts settled for 3rd fastest race time closely following the two fastest times. As Roberts mentioned in post race interview that he is still learning the car and understanding the way of handling. “I did couple of mistakes and it wasn’t the cleanest run from me driving wise, but we have a decent start for the weekend and we will continue to work to improve our times and get faster.”
Heat 2 – 3rd place taken away
Heat 2 saw strong rain coming over Lydden Hill race track and Roberts welcomed this weather as a great opportunity to showcase his skills. Remembering the wet race experience from the British Rallycross Championship fastest Supercar category race earlier this season, where Roberts managed to set the fastest lap time in free practice and even overtake the World RX supercar in a very wet Heat 1, Roberts had all the confidence prior to racing in full wet circuit with RX2e electric machinery this time.
Starting from 3rd position, Roberts got squeezed before even turn one, which saw him backing out and loosing places, but by clever manoeuvre on the inside Roberts managed to get back to his 3rd place after turn one and start his chase after two cars in front. After 2 laps of following in 3rd Roberts was clearly faster than two cars in front but couldn’t still joker because of traffic behind. When 2nd place went for joker, Roberts used the clear track ahead to chase down 1st place which he catched within same lap before heading into joker himself. Although speed was good, time lost behind cars in front was too much to secure higher position and Roberts lost out on a cars that jokered before but in next lap managed to overtake car, which was in front of him when Roberts went for his own joker lap. This saw Roberts in stable 3rd place which he also secured all the way to the finish of Heat 2 race 1.
At the end of lap 4 driving on the last loose gravel section before the end of a lap, Roberts experienced his car suddenly loosing its rear end on slippery gravel at high speed which unsettled the car. Roberts only option to save the car from crashing was to drive over inside kerb of the last chicane where the finish line is located and the timing of race cars is taken. Roberts car went over the inside kerb into the grass loosing time to the front runners. By this, Roberts car missed the timing control line by a few centimetres which meant Roberts lap did not count and the whole race was classified as DNF. Although Roberts finished the race in 3rd place which would also be 3rd fastest overall, it was DNF result and last place overall in Heat 2.
6th after Day 1 of World RX of UK for RX2e
6th position overall after Day 1 of World RX of UK for RX2e is not something Roberts would be happy about and what would reflect the speed and race craft he had today. It will be lot of work with data and analysing this evening for young Latvian racing driver to find the missing tenses and be back in the battle for the final day of World RX of UK.
The RX2e action at Lydden Hill continues tomorrow (Sunday, 23 July) with the remaining two heats, semi-finals and points-paying final. All of the racing will be broadcast live on RX+.