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Written by Jon Rosario

Round Two of the official OTL XBOX ACC GT3 Championship provided another instant classic. With crashes, incredible battles, and car strategy all playing a factor, Laguna Seca, and it’s world-renown corkscrew, brought one hell of a spectacle to the states. 

Time after time, hours and hours of practice are put on the line for glory, and with it, the weighty undertone of investment filled the paddock. As the session began for qualifiying, it was bets off as for who would get pole. The first timed session of the weekend, expectations were high for our new championship leader, Mr JSA, and his unfamiliar #35 Porsche. At the forefront, the track rubbered up, and JSA assumed his lead, the Porsche at the top of the standings. Holding the provisional pole for a couple of minutes, the tables quickly turned as track temperatures increased and the session continued, his competitors taking full advantage to try and unseat the potential champion-to-be. The two Ferraris – Khaos and Beige, took full advantage as time wound down. Both, after putting down a bank lap, pushed to the umpteenth, setting hot laps one after another as the duo battled for the front row. In the end, with time expiring, Khaos came out on top with a 1:22.260, beating Beige by just 0.096 of a second!

The pace of the Ferraris simply couldn’t be touched in the scorching heat. Their well-roundedness coming to the fore, the next recent competitor, Callum, in his Nissan GT-R, lied along with Weed in his Bentley, over 6 tenths behind the duo, in an absolutely smashing performance by the Italian marquee’s drivers. Behind him, Gobble beat JSA to fifth after the Porsche driver’s promising opening run. Shaquil, Tornado, RednOrange, and Snitch finished out the top-10, as the grid prepared for another frantic event. 

With race tunes equipped, tyre pressures adjusted for the final time, and the cars fully fueled for their run at victory lane, it was time to go racing in the weekend’s main event. Off the line, the group got to a blistering pace lap pace. The rate of speed carried by the leading Ferraris, a few drivers further back were caught out as they tried to prepare their brakes and tyres adequately for the coming race start. It was this that would set up what came next.

As the lights went green, all the cars took off down the hill into turn 1. Clean in itself, some bold moves were made in the midfield, including a divebomb from Syme, seeking P6. On the corner exit, the bottlenecking circuit caught out the drivers, setting up a huge crash involving many of the leading field. After a frantic opening lap, many cars had damaged areas, but couldn’t pit due to the time loss. Being so, little groups around the circuit developed, offering the cars that had gotten through unscathed a huge advantage, and quickly making the race for the win between a few entries. As the race continued to develop, mistakes by the now midfield gatekeeper RednOrange (after a spin from Syme in the corkscrew took him out of the hunt) JSA began coming back through the field, his blistering pace bringing him back into contention. As time ran out, so did the heat in the battle for the lead. Stretching his legs, Khaos pulled clear of Beige to claim his first victory – a Ferrari 1,2 – in what was undoubtedly a statement performance by the Italian marquee’s drivers. Callum would go on to beat Weed to a podium place, the two offering a huge battle for the crowd from lights to flag.

Race 2 proved more of the same; these boys can really race. Starting with Gobble, Shaquil, Tornado, and RednOrange as your top four, and the previous race’s podium starting from the back, Race 2 provided these guys the opportunity to win their first OTL event of the season, and take a really firm grip on their championship bid. Knowing what was on the line then, competition was fierce. Moves being attempted left and right, there was no shortage of action on track, after what was truthfully a clean start. WIth pace a premium, the race quickly became a mental battle, mistakes, and half-moves becoming the primary avenue for advancement.

No better was this seen than in the battle between RednOrange and Syme for what was 4th in the opening stages of the race. Messing up his exit on the corkscrew, the Aston of Red flopped down the drop, losing all his momentum, whereas Syme behind him, in his white Mclaren, tried to take advantage and slide right by. Blocking him off, Red and Syme nearly collided, Syme stopping mere inches from his diffuser. Being pushed from Syme, Red’s pace heated up, and after a couple of personal-best laps, saw himself on the attack, closing up to the back of the duo of Tornado and Shaquil – the battle for 2nd. These three would play it cool for a lap before, ahead of Red, Tornado’s pressing – which had been going on since the race’s inception, boiled over. Going for a move on the inside of turn 1, Tornado stuck the nose of his Mclaren to the inside of Shaquil’s Ferrari, the two making contact. After a fantastic run-up to this point, the ailing Ferrari would find itself spinning, rolling backwards to the corner exit, ultimately into the path of Red, breaking his car’s aero components for the second straight run. Another broken car, the Aston immediately struggled, JSA sweeping through in the subsequent corner, followed by Syme, Bakster, and Beige a lap later.

With the Aston out of the running, the scything JSA was our only hope for a race, as seemingly no one was close enough to challenge Gobble’s supremacy out front. Making inroads nicely, the race was on for the lead until JSA made a huge mistake going up the hill. Clipping the inside curb, he went off and coming back on managed to save the car from the barriers, but not others. Crashing into him, the unlucky Syme, who was running fourth at the time, suffered terminal damage, and unable to continue, retired from the race after absolutely destroying the front end of his 720s. Able to continue running, JSA’s stricken 911 was taken around a couple of times for viability and deemed safe enough, JSA kept running, eventually bringing it home to a tenth place finish.

Just before the end, came the race’s final twist. With time expiring, the bulletproof run of Gobble out front ended with a huge mistake! Losing the lead to his chasing pack, with one lap to go, it was anyone’s to win. Under immense pressure from Beige for the entire race, as the duo rounded the final corner onto the start/finish straight, Ferrari’s supremacy was halted for the day, with GBarkster coming effectively out of nowhere, driving a perfect race to take a well deserved victory. Finishing off the podium was Weed, picking up the weekend’s best total points haul, with Callum doing well to bring that GT-R to a fourth place finish. Khaos, in his Ferrari, finished fifth, whereas Gobble recovered to finish sixth  one place ahead of the battered Aston of Red. After a great start, misfortune would see Shaquil relegated to ninth, with Tornado beating him to the flag to grab eighth place. Finishing, Lucazz, Zzorb, and Snitch would round out the top fifteen, taking eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, respectively.

With new races every week, and each one so far better than the last, stay tuned for the next round of the championship from the Hungaroring, where undoubtedly, another instant classic is on the cards. Want more from the official OTL XBOX ACC GT3 Championship? Visit otlracing.com today for more from OTL, and to stay up to date with all of your favourite OTL drivers! Watch the races live on Hydranockz’s twitch, at https://www.twitch.tv/hydranockz!