A bumper grid of 25 car lined up for the inaugural Marshall GP iGP. After a week of frantic preparation, the cars were revealed to the world ahead of qualifying. The main talking point prior to any track action was the weather after several showers threatened to throw the teams set up into disarray after a dry practice session. Qualifying was dry and the Wacky Races car stormed to pole position, the top 10 was tight, with 3 tenths covering the top 6.
At 7pm GMT the race got under way with the pole sitter making the most of his advantage and started to scamper off into the distance setting a searing early pace. At the end of lap 1, the Horton Racing car entered the pits to change tyres after gambling on a wet race despite the cloudless sky at the start of the race, team owner, Peter Horton, took drastic action in the wake of this tactical error, replacing all high raking team members after the race “Due to starting a dry race on wet tyres I had no choice but to sack my entire staff. My driver will remain blameless.”
Another big loser in the opening exchange was the Marshall GP car, a strategic error saw them start with a higher fuel load than was necessary for the soft tyres, wearing them out by lap 8 and heavily compromising the second stint. Team Boss and league founder, Gary Marshall said “Coming into this race we had no real idea how far we would be able to g on the softer tyre, in hindsight we were far too optimistic with our strategy and paid the price. It’s a steep learning curve for all the teams on the grid and lessons will be learned going into next week’s race at Sepang.”
The early pace setting car of the wacky Racer team also fell foul of high tyre degradation in the first stint, eventually losing the lead to eventually finish 3rd. Team boss was philosophical about it after the race “That was fun tonight, quite tense. We pushed too hard on first stint and compromised tyres on 2/3 stints. Happy with a podium though.”
Finishing just off the podium was the Not Another Lotus car making good ground from 7th on the grid to run as high as 2nd before pitting. Team Owner, K Gallagher was happy with his team’s performance, “Today’s race was seriously challenging for drivers and teams alike. The strategy was very tricky to call correctly, but in the end I think we did a good job, going for an aggressive first stint that allowed Kristaps to climb as high as second before the first pit stop. From there, he drove a very mature, controlled race, and at one point, it looked like we may have finished on the podium.
Alex Watson’s AWF1 racing entry enjoyed a good opening round, converting 2nd on the grid into a 2nd place finish and also picking up the fastest lap of the race with 1.24.712. “Happy to take a front row qualifying and convert to a solid second place in the race, very pleased with the Robert and the team.”
The team of the day and the story of the day goes to the race winner, Team Vodathone Fake McLaren. Starting 8th, they quickly made head way through the field, eventually taking the lead mid way through the race and holding on for the win with a comfortable 6 second gap. Even more remarkable was the fact that they elected NOT to have anyone on the pit wall to call the strategy, instead relying on a pre-determined plan that paid off in spades. The mystical, boss of the team, doesn’t want to be identified and only left us with this short, rather bizarre statement after the race. “I am amazing. Though this is Vodathone McLaren Mercedes so it was to be expected. Mr Thomas will be banned from chinstrap beards.”
The championship moves on to Malaysia for round 2 on Christmas day, follow the race on twitter with the hashtag #igp.