Alander dominates, goes back-to-back to start ISOWC season
For the second round in a row, Valtteri Alander has won in ISOWC, this time at iRacing’s virtual Sebring International Raceway.
The KOVA driver led 29 of 40 laps in the Sunshine State.
Alander took the checkered flag after a thrilling late-race battle between himself and CoRe SimRacing’s Carl Jansson.
João Vaz, Josh Lad and Oscar Mangan rounded out the top five.
“Today overall went pretty well,” said Alander, who also set the fastest lap of the race. “Our setup was really, really good. We managed to find something compared to Watkins Glen, so this was really enjoyable.”
The two drivers had gone with different tire strategies for their pit stops by being on different compounds than one another.
Alander took the lead on his reds in a fierce side-by-side battle with Jansson on the blacks with nine laps to go after the two had ran side-by-side for half a lap. Jansson then went wide in Collier, losing several seconds in the process.
Alander went on to win by almost four seconds.
Jansson said there was nothing he thought he could really do to hold off the charge of Alander.
“I hadn’t had much time to practice for this week, so Valtteri kind of had the upper hand there,” said Jansson. “The racing itself was great with Valtteri there. I tried to do my best to keep him behind on the blacks there, but they’re just so much slower at the beginning and the gap I had when I was on the reds and he was on the blacks was just too big, so that’s all I think I could do today.”
It was a clean race most of the way at Sebring with just five drivers not finishing on the lead lap.
Alander started from the pole and quickly pulled away by seven car lengths on the first lap.
Behind him, Joao Valverde got into trouble after clipping the curbs in Le Mans.
The Team Talent driver hit the curbing with his right rear tire, which bounced him off the ground for a split second.
The bump caused Valverde to spin, with Alexander Walton slamming into his left rear tire in the process. Walton received no damage in the incident.
Valverde then backed into the tire barrier, destroying his rear wing in the process. He then spun a second time in Sunset Bend, this time causing significant suspension damage and shearing off his right front wing.
Valverde went on to finish in 32nd place.
A lap later, in the battle for 14th, Gusta Grinbergas spun across the track in Collier, causing a check-up effect. Brandon Traino was hit from behind by Riley Thompson, who immediately broke his right front tire. Thompson also bounced off José Soria, causing the left rear tire to buckle. The damage sent Thompson sliding into the grass and into the retaining wall. Thompson then rode the wall for several feet before crashing into a tire barrier, demolishing his front wing.
One of the hard chargers early on had been Yohann Harth. Harth, who qualified in 13th place, had moved up to 11th place and had closed a 30-car length gap over the course of three laps when he caught up to Joshua Chin.
The Apex Racing Team w/ Team I5G driver ran side-by-side with Chin through Fangio on Lap 7, trying to build up a run when he tried to out-brake the PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype driver.
Harth then came down the track into Chin into Turn 10, causing contact to his sidepod. The contact then sent Harth spinning off into the grass. Harth was able to avoid the tire barrier, but elected to tow the car, resulting in a 30th place finish.
Multiple incidents were sent under investigation throughout the race, including contact between Walton and Peter Zuba. Zuba’s Race Clutch car appeared to get close to the edge of Walton’s left rear tire heading into Turn 5. It sent Walton flying into the tire barriers before immediately getting back on the track.
Walton, despite the issues had during the race, finished in 18th place.
Overall, five drivers did not finish the event.
Next time, ISOWC will be going oval racing at iRacing’s virtual Auto Club Speedway on June 17. The green flag is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV.