Pixelating their rivals


Eddie Hall
Clubman Endurance Championship 2019, Rd.5,

A well deserved and long overdue win for Pixel Pirates

Qualifying

Pixel Pirates stole the show in qualifying by taking a superb pole position and third overall. M&M made a welcome return to the championship, setting the second fastest time in the process. Conman Racing and JRG Racing were third and fourth, Aston Racing fifth and Keen As Mustard sixth. The entire field was separated by a little over nine-tenths of a second, once again demonstrating the exceptionally good level playing field Club100 produces.


Race

A good start saw Pixel Pirates retain their lead. M&M also made a good start to maintain their second place. JRG and Aston racing both made good starts to pick off a few karts on the opening lap.

Although Pixel Pirates lost a number of places to the faster prem teams, they maintained their lead over M&M until lap 10 when they were displaced. Aston Racing, Keen As Mustard and CKS Throatpunchers were all now right on their tail and this became a very close and intense battle until the first round of pit stops. Most of the front runners opted for a long first stint and, when the fuel window closed, JRG had managed to snatch the lead. They had a much quicker stop and dealt with traffic better than their main rivals. Aston Racing and Conman had also jumped the leaders and settled into second and third. The first stops had been disastrous for Pixel Pirates who were now fourth, some four seconds behind. M&M also had a slower stop and were sixth behind CKS Throatpunchers.

Behind this leading group, Ballinger Law Do Or Die were having a solid run. There was a very close duel between Runtime Exception Racing and All Torque. Keen As Mustard had dropped out of contention after a black flag. A lacklustre qualifying saw Auditing Armageddon right at the back and they couldn’t seem to get themselves into the top 20. Of course this could have been because JJ Aiston was doing the race on his own.

The race settled down during the middle phase. Aston racing and JRG continued to battle closely for the lead and held four or five seconds over Pixel Pirates, CKS Throatpunchers and Conman racing. These three were in close contention, fighting over third place. Pixel Pirates again had a slow stop and gave away three seconds or more to their rivals. However, they were helped by even slower stops for Aston Racing and JRG who lost a tonne of time in their third stop.

This set things up nicely for the second half of the race. Pixel Pirates were now back in contention. M&M were also back ahead of JRG and Conman Racing. CKS Throatpunchers were trying to play catchup. Another slow visit to the pits saw Aston Racing drop further behind, effectively ending their chance of a victory.

The leaders slowly increased the gap to the rest of the field during the latter part of the race. JRG and Conman continued their tussle over second place and held a good gap over CKS Throatpunchers. Aston Racing were starting to claw their way back up the order but were really too far behind to pose a threat to the leaders. M&M’s charge at the front came to an end as they dropped behind Aston. All Torque and Ballinger were still running well and Auditing Armageddon were slowly making up places.

Over the last few laps, Pixel Pirates continued to gradually increase their lead over JRG. Aston Racing’s continued charge paid off and, after getting their pit stop right, they were right with CKS Throatpunchers and Conman in the fight for third place.

So after two hours of hard racing, it was a first win of 2019 for Pixel Pirates. JRG came home second CKS Throatpunchers took third place, and Conman and Aston completed the top five.

Their third place saw CKS Throatpunchers extend their championship lead over Aston Racing. Auditing Armageddon are still third on drop scores but having missed the last round and a poor result here they now find themselves under threat from Conman. They can’t afford many more low scores.