The fervent pace of battle has not let up as the cars zip around the high speed layout of Portland. Being the second last race, the smell of the end wafts in occasionally but all the drivers keep their eyes locked on the road ahead. Portland is an intense sprint, with lots of straights and no pit stops, just one mad dash for the finish line. Will Smooth sail through, unabated or could WSD be a challenger? Perhaps one of the strong qualifiers from the previous races will finish well here? We shall see.
One by one the cars stretch their metaphorical legs, coming out from the lairs that are their pit boxes. Ambling around slowly for a few laps and building up heat in the tyres and brakes, the cars weave side to side. The long straights concluded by tight corners will be a real test of straight line speed, braking and dynamic response. One of the Borches rockets off and one by one each of the cars fly past the starting line, their drivers hammering on the cars. A few laps later and the cars roll into the pit lane to cool down while the times are revealed.
Once again, the prodigious Borches take first and second, followed by Smooth. Nohda establish themselves at 4th, with the Falco scraping into 5th place a mere 0.05 seconds in front of the Italian beaut, the Mansio. All the while, the Estoc gives chase, only a further 0.25 seconds behind. The next car finishes roughly half a second later, just in front of a train of cars that fall into the 86 second bracket. The Torana, pulling a 87.64 sits just before the Merna, unfortunately, not as strong of a performance in qualifying as last time.
Time is up. The Torana crosses the line, tearing past the checkered flag, closing the race. Another solid victory for Smooth.
Not just this, but Smooth has actually just pulled off a hat-trick after scoring three back-to-back victories at Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta and now here on the grounds of the Portland International Raceway. Of course, the Borch WSD sits right on it's tail, with the slowest of the pair finishing almost one and a quarter minute ahead of third place. Which this time, is actually the Catalan, taking home it's best result yet. The unwavering Montrouge crosses the line around 3 seconds later. Nohda's 500V brings home a 5th place finish, just under 30 seconds after the Estoc. Trailing the top 5 are the consistent midpack runners: the second Borch, GBF, Bogliq and the Stryker (in no particular order). Scarab has dropped down the order a fair bit compared to last time, unfortunately, while TheElt continues their decent performance, clinching 11th. The poor Erin, Torana, Sinistra and Birch continue to struggle.
Triumphing after 4263 seconds @AirJordan nabs yet another victory!
However, the other teams are not going to make it easy for Smooth to walk away the winner, as the loss in the first race is still a heavy disadvantage to them. With only one race left to go, the suspense is real. There are two distinct groups to keep an eye on for the finest action, firstly the positions between 3 and 5 to 6, and again between 8 to 12, roughly. Cavallera only sits 10 points above Smooth though, not a huge difference, and even if they continue to take a 3rd place in the next race, Smooth will likely outdo them and knock them out of the podium, so definitely something to watch for.
Congrats to @strop, @EnryGT5 and @ramthecowy for making the podium… for now!