The Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland returned to action this weekend at the fast and flowing Sachsenring circuit, and rFactor 2 ambassador and World’s Fastest Gamer Rudy van Buren was once again in the thick of things with his rFactor 2 liveried #57 CareTech 911.
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If Le Mans offered a debut baptism of fire in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland series for Rudy van Buren, moving on to the incredibly fast and challenging Sachsenring Circuit would be no less of an eye-opening experience for the 28-year-old Dutchman. As the series moves back to a more traditional race format following the Le Mans 24 supporting role, three races at one of the quickest circuits in German motorsport against a field packed with talent and experience would certainly prove to be a tough test of character for our sim racer turned professional driver – a challenge that the 2017 World’s Fastest Gamer once again proved to be more than capable of meeting.
Firstly, the circuit. The Sachsenring is a venue perhaps better known for its motorcycle exploits over the years, having been a regular host of series such as the top level MotoGP for almost two decades.
An active venue in the German national racing scene, at just over 3.7 km in length and featuring frighteningly fast sections pretty much throughout the lap, commitment and a stable car underneath the driver are just two of the essential requirements for producing strong results here, something that all the drivers work hard at achieving prior to the commencement of qualification ahead of the three races during the weekend.
Qualification for the second round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland takes place on Saturday morning ahead of the opening race of the German round, and with a track where overtaking often proves difficult and following cars closely is always one step away from a major incident, eighth position on the grid would be a solid starting point from which to attack as the weekend progressed.
Race 1 – Saturday.
The opening race of the meeting is usually where teams and drivers look to find a suitable balance between attacking and conserving the car, ever mindful of the fact that another two races are scheduled for the following day, and major damage to the car or a bad finishing position could prove disastrous for the prospects of a strong weekend haul of points.
Unfortunately for van Buren, things would take a dramatic downturn in fortune right from the very moment the lights turned green, as a poor launch from the standing start would see the Dutchman lose valuable positions away from the line, relegating the #57 to a disappointed 10th position at the conclusion of the opening corners.
The disappointment for van Buren would lead to pleasure for the viewing audience however, as much of the on track action would be centred around a rousing fightback by the CareTech driver. Having quickly dispatched his rivals to return to eighth position in the early running, time would be lost during the middle portion of the race thanks to the need to avoid a troubled rival, bringing about the fight of the day as van Buren went toe-to-toe in a three-way battle for eighth position – one that the Dutchman would come out of on top to mark a very strong opening to the second round of the season.
Race 2 – Sunday
Having had the opportunity to absorb the data and experience from the opening 17-lap race the day before, Sunday would be the busiest day of the weekend so far for the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland drivers at Sachsenring. With two races scheduled during the day.
The opening event, race three of the season and the second encounter at this picturesque German venue, would again see van Buren make a slow start off the line, dropping further places away from the grid as he looked to build upon the solid momentum gained from yesterday’s experience.
Finding himself on the back foot in the early running, race 2 once again led to another intense and closely fought race of action and overtaking – as van Buren methodically began to work his way through the field in the quest to score that first top five finish of the season.
Progress from the #57 would be strong throughout the race, however the positive forward momentum would be temporarily checked following contact with the Porsche of fellow Dutchman Kay van Berlo, with the van Berlo car ending up in the gravel as a result of the collision and leading Race Control to issue a penalty to van Buren as a result. Fortunately, that decision would be overturned in the stewards room post-race, leaving van Buren with his best finish of the season so far in a fine sixth place at the flag.
Race 3 – Sunday
The final encounter of the weekend would see Rudy starting from the outside of the third row, ideally positioned to score a strong haul of points at the conclusion of the meeting. Making a much better start than earlier in the weekend, the opening laps would see van Buren maintaining his sixth position and conserving the car, a vital tactic at what is an exceptionally demanding racetrack.
Nearing race end van Buren found himself sliding wide onto the long straight, taking with him the front splitter as he looked to avoid curbing that was known to cause punctures for some of his rivals, the resulting damage would be enough to relegate the driver to a relieved seventh place at the end of the race, and with it another very solid collection of points in what is proving to be a highly promising first season of professional motorsport for the rFactor 2 racer.
With four races over three rounds complete, the next stop for Rudy van Buren and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland takes place at another picturesque venue – the Red Bull Ring in Austria on the weekend of October 16th.