For the penultimate round of the Delta Online Racing Supermini Championship, the drivers headed to Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires, home to the formidable, Circuit de Prague street course. Featuring narrow cobblestone streets, bridges across the Vltava River, and of historic views of the Czech capital. The most treacherous section of the short layout is the tight chicane near the end of the lap. Dubbed the “Medusa’s Gaze Chicane” by RBM Yachts for its curse-like ability to create chaos and destroy cars, it featured prominently in both races testing the driver’s nerves and skill every lap.
In the points standings for the Driver’s Championship, we had a handful of developing stories to keep an eye on. TX3 Mitch555 had developed a 48 point cushion over JSR Commando at the top but Prague has the capability to turn everything on its head in the blink of an eye, so Commando was hoping for a strong performance and a bit of luck. Looking further down the table, the battle for 5th between GTR Warwick and TX3 Switch was only being decided by 1 point and just below that AMS Murks and Mesasphere were tied for 7th with TX3 Tactical lurking just 4 points behind them. As the penultimate round, Prague was sure to shake up the standing and pressure the drivers to push their cars to the limit.
A difficult track for qualifying with the seemingly inconsistent track limits through the chicane section, the drivers had to find a perfect balance to avoid dirtying their laps. JSR Commando once again proved his quality taking the pole position with the only lap under 1:04 but his championship rival TX3 Mitch555 would start just beside him in second. TX3 followed up Mitch555 with the rest of their drivers seizing the next 4 positions on the grid. LazyDandy also had a great qualifying session coming in at 11th as the lone privateer to make Lobby A. Glaringly missing from qualifying was TX3 Tactical who sat 9th in points and internet issues would keep him out of the racing for this round.
The start saw the entire pack have a great launch without any major incidents. The first minor bump came around the final turn “Old Town Square” when in a mid pack battle, THR Chirpchirp and TX3 Bilysoo had a coming together resulting in Chirpchirp spinning and collecting VSR GGRacing. None seemed to gather any significant damage though a few drivers dove into the pit lane for a early quickstop.
After lap 1, JSR Commando held the lead followed closely by TX3 Mellish and TX3 RiiDGE. TX3 Bilysoo had fallen backward to 5th after his 3rd place start, racing behind RBM Yachts. TX3 Mellish relinquished 2nd place the following lap to make his mandatory quick stop and try to cover off his teammates Mitch555 and Switch who had also made early stops. Commando then developed a comfortable lead of a few hundred feet over RiiDGE while Yachts and Bilysoo battled for third. In the undercut group, TX3 Switch led the chasing cars of Mellish and Mitch555. AMS Murks in his debut for Alien Motorsports since switching teams was up to a strong 5th.
With Prague comes an expectation of early crashes and safety cars so there is the potential for dramatic undercuts. These undercut attempt come at risk of picking up damage and having to make a costly second quick stop later in race. VSR GGRacing was the first victim of this, when only a few laps after his early quick stop he clipped the wall after the Charles Bridge, picking up significant damage and causing him to retire from the race. The next victims were, TX3 Mitch555 and TX3 Mellish who had an incident that caused both cars to go into the wall, forcing both to have to take a second quick stop. TX3 Switch was then on his own to perform the undercut on JSR Commando
The best battle on track as the race progressed to about the halfway point was TX3 Bilysoo and RBM Yachts fighting it out for 3rd. Approached the Medusa’s Gaze Chicane they found 2 cars in the tire barriers. Yachts lifted off the throttle to be safe and TX3 Bilysoo pounced on the opportunity. Diving to the inside on the final turn into Old Town Square and winning the drag race down to Rudolfinum. The leader, JSR Commando, appeared to have been one of the cars involved in the chicane incident, unfortunately getting tied up with a back marker and eventually causing him to retire from the race. TX3 RiiDGE inherited the lead from Commando while TX3 Switch continued to lead the undercut group.
At lap 13, RBM Yachts took his quick stop and we got our first glimpse of the work Switch had put in with Yachts emerging over 1,300 ft behind the TX3 driver. Yet to pit were the leaders, TX3 RiiDGE, TX3 Bilysoo and AMS Murks. RiiDGE was the next to make his stop and emerged between Switch and Yachts, in what seemed to be 2nd place once quick stops were finished. Bilysoo and Murks would pit the following lap but Yachts would slot in between the them as they sorted out to 3rd and 5th respectively.
The Prague chaos would soon strike and an incident on the penultimate lap would see AMS Murks fall down the order having to make a second quick stop with damage with just before the final lap and relative newcomer to the series, LazyDandy, would assume 5th position in the running order. Then on the last lap, TX3 Bilysoo would get caught up in an incident with a backmarker while going through Medusa’s for the final time handing RBM Yachts the final podium position as Bilysoo limped home for 4th. This shake up in the final laps would see a few of the unlucky but rapid drivers earn results that would place them up toward the front of the grid for Race 2 due to the top 10 inverted start.
For the Reverse Grid Race, we saw TX3 Mellish on pole and DOR spartanfit after both had difficult showings in Race 1. At the start TX3 Mellish and TX3 Mitch555 lead the group around Malá Strana for the first time and through cleanly through Medusa’s. At the end of lap 1, TX3 RiiDGE was the man on the move working he way up to 4th from his 8th place starting position.
TX3 Switch was the first to make the jump to the pit lane, a difficult decision at Prague because while the clean track is great for pace the threat of a small mistake causing damage and forcing a second quickstop is always looming. Unfortunately for Switch he was the unfortunate victim of what seemed to be a disconnect on the following lap. Meanwhile, AMS Murks, TX3 RiiDGe, and THR Chirpchirp also gambled on the earlier quickstops while, the TX3 trio of Mellish, Mitch555, and Bilysoo held the leading positions.
The lone privateer, LazyDandy, was the first victim of the Medusa’s Gaze chicane, while in 5th place he carried a little too much speed into the bend and lost the rear end while bouncing over the curbs. As he limped around to the pitlane, Medusa claimed her next victim in leader TX3 Mellish, as a bit of understeer pushed him wide on the exit just clipping the last section of tire wall. A quick recovery saw him minimize the amount of time lost on track as he made his way around Old Town Square to the pits. TX3 Mitch555 then found himself in the lead of the race followed by TX3 Bilysoo, the undercut pack was lead by TX3 RiiDGE with AMS Murks giving chase. TX3 Mellish emerged from the pits just in front of RiiDGE and put on a hard block after the Mane Bridge past the Resistance Flag Monument. A slight touch caused a slide for RiiDGE giving Mellish the opportunity to reclaim the position as just behind Murks waited for an opportunity.
Back at the front of the race, Mitch555 and Bilysoo were comfortably leading but were closing in on backmarkers. LazyDandy’s run on poor luck continued, while he pushed for pace to remain ahead of the leader another mistake through the chicane saw him into the tire wall and bouncing back onto the racing line in front of leader Mitch555. In an effort to avoid the spinning car, Mitch555 dove to the right but was claimed by the tire wall as Bilysoo dove to the left and took over the lead. The very same lap saw, undercut group leader TX3 Mellish claimed again by Medusa’s as his Prague struggles continued dropping him to 9th in the order. Mitch555 emerged from the pits behind the hard charging TX3 RiiDGE and AMS Murks.
With only 4 cars left to make their mandatory quickstop, the best battle on the track was between AMS Murks and TX3 Mitch555. Mitch555 eventually got the better of Murks while coming through the chicane Mitch555 carried a bit more momentum and made a brilliant over under move on Murk through Old Town Square finishing the pass on the run down the Rudolinum Main Straight but a slide exiting the chicane saw Mitch555 yield the position back to Murks. Lucky for Mitch555 he appeared to have escaped the incident damage free and able to continue on.
With the race drawing to a close, TX3 Bilysoo appeared to be in the comfortable lead but TX3 RiiDGE was putting in a great drive for the undercut and it won’t be decided until Bilysoo took his quickstop. A clean consistent drive from RBM Yachts found him second in the running order but likely behind the group of RiiDGE, Mitch555, and AMS Murks who had all made their stops. A quality run from GTR Widowed after promotion had developed into a potential top 5 finish but a minor error after the Charles Bridge, clipping the inside wall and spinning just before the Medusa’s Gaze Chicane caused him to lose significant track position just before his quickstop.
RBM Yachts then dove in for his quickstop as TX3 Bilysoo held out until the last possible moment. Yachts emerged in comfortable 5th position behind the battling duo of AMS Murks and TX3 Mitch555 and in front 3 way battle for 6th of THR Chirpchirp, DOR spartanfit, and TX3 Mellish.
It was finally time for leader, TX3 Bilysoo, to make the last quickstop of the race and see if TX3 RiiDGE had done the work on the undercut. Exitting the pit Bilysoo retained the lead but RiiDGE was closing fast with momentum. As they rounded past Malá Strana, Bilysoo held a few car length lead over RiiDGE but that gap slowly closed over the following laps. RiiDGE ultimately managed to get past Bilysoo and steal the the win. Their teammate TX3 Mitch555 won his seemingly race long battle with AMS Murks to claim 3rd for a TX3 sweep of the podium.
Further back in the pack, DOR spartanfit and THR Chirpchirp had an incident near the end of the lap and Mesasphere made a great move in his Mini to pass both around the outside through final turn of Old Town Square, claiming 6th place.
It was a tough weekend for a handful of the top contender's and shook up the points standings in the top 10 of the Driver's Championship. Looking forward to the finale this coming Sunday at the Sonoma Short Circuit, we have a 3 driver showdown for the podium positions between TX3 Mitch555, JSR, Commando, and TX3 RiiDGE. Mitch555 holds the lead with 2245 but JSR Commando is just 51 points behind closely followed by Riidge who only trails the leader by 76. In a series were a win counts for 200 points, it should prove to be an exciting final weekend with the championship not being decided until the checkereds fly.
Special thanks to THR Chirpchirp for sharing his replay. These replays are vital for the creation of this content, so remember to save and share.
Recap by AJ "Ajax" Allen