A quick reminder that P1 is structured as a pyramid league (the bottom drivers from the top tier are demoted to the next tier down which is composed of more races and drivers than the tier above it... shaped like a pyramid). P1 is the top tier. Divoll and Reilly are the two 2nd tier races. Ascari, Clark, Fangio, and Moss are the four 3rd tier races. The winner of P1 in any given season is the league champion, so lets start there.
P1 Race 1 at Montreal [Full Race Report]
Don, Bruce R, and Tim B qualify 1-2-3 in a bit of a preview of the rest of the series. Dennis qualified 4th and ran in 3rd for most of the first lap but he started the race with less wear then rest of the first 2 rows and started to feel it when Tim B passed him through the last corner of lap 1. Tim B did a great job staying out of the traffic and ahead of the mid-pack.
Bruce spent 10 of his 22 starting wear in lap 1 to hold the race lead but Don crossed the line to start lap 2 only 2 spaces behind Bruce. Bruce spent another 10 wear in lap 2 which built him a full turn lead on Don and Tim B but also left him with only 2 wear to nurse through his last lap. Meanwhile, Tim B caught up to Don through lap 2. Don and Bruce were both running cars with 20 accel and 20 decel (a set-up that does seem to work well at Montreal). Tim ran a 40-40 car and that was where he was able to claw 3-4 spaces back from Don on lap 2.
A Championship Deciding 2 Corners
|Turn 20, Don is Dark Blue, Tim B is Teal|
Don decided to go 120 and spend 2 wear in the corner. Tim went 100 and spent 1 wear -- falling a space behind Don but saving a wear.
The next turn, Tim pushed his acceleration to go 160 into the first 120 space of the first corner of the last lap -- spending 2 wear. Don went his top speed of 140 to spend 1 wear.
|Turn 23 -- Tim B into 2nd|
P1 Race 2 at Melbourne [Full Race Report]
The second race of the season took us to Melbourne -- another rather tight track that played to in front runners' favor. Tim B, Don, and defending 2-time P1 champ Doug G all built the same 40-40-160-8w car and all bid 7 or 7.5 for pole. Doug took pole with Don rolling better dice than Tim to end up 2nd on the grid. Bruce started the race 10th with a different strategy and ended the race 10th to seriously damage his title chances. Doug maintained the lead after lap 1, but had 4 less wear than Don who sat only 2 spaces back. Tim was a turn back and in 5th at this time. Tim B got a big break mid lap 2 when Chris L spins from 3rd. With Tim M running low on wear, Tim B moves up 2 spots on track in the first half of the lap. Don also spends his extra wear to over take Doug for the race lead at roughly the same time. Tim B's wear advantage pushes him past Doug G in the beginning of lap 3. But with the same 4 wear at Don and the same car set-ups, Don is never really challenged for the race win.
Second is enough though for Tim B to enter the final race of the season 5 points ahead of Don. Bruce R was the only other driver with any chance to claim the title and only if Tim B finished 10th or worse.
P1 Race 3 at Sepang [Full Race Report]
Sepang is a very different track than the first two this season but Tim B still bid and took pole. Don started 5th and Bruce started 8th. However, Tim got swallowed up at the start when Dennis and Chris A both went 120 to his 80. By the time they left corner 1, Tim B was 4th and Don was up in 2nd. Mid-way through lap 1 Bruce ended up in the race lead, Don was 4th, and Tim B 5th -- all within spitting distance of a title.
Don was the first to see his race go south as he damaged his brakes heading into the Hairpin for the first time. Tim B would then damage his brakes into the first corner of lap 2. Mid way through lap 2 Bruce still led but he had been burning wear doing it and Chris A was right behind with 7 wear more. Don was starting to fall back as he was low on wear in addition to his now 20 brakes. Tim B still had some wear but also was hampered by 20 deceleration.
As the final lap began, Bruce was still leading but Chris A had 5 more wear and was close behind AND Tim B was showing no signs of finishing 10th, especially with Don now bringing up the rear in a seriously damaged car. The end of the race would end up being very dramatic as Bruce crashed half-way through the lap which eventually set-up a drag race between Chris A, Rando, and Tim M -- which Tim M won.
The lead Tim B had built up in the first two races held up despite his 8th in the final race. Congrats to Tim B for winning the 2018 P1 Season. Don would end up 2nd on the season despite his 9th in the last race. Tim M's dramatic race win at Sepang would catapult him to 3rd on the season only 2 points behind Don.
P1 Overall Champ: Tim B (1st, 2nd, 8th)
Rest of P1 Podium: Don T (3rd, 1st, 9th), Tim M (6th, 5th, 1st)
Demoted: Mario A, Chris L, Dennis N (Chris A retired after this so only 3 needed to be demoted)
Now lets give some love to the lower tiers.
Divoll, Tier 2
Jeff H won the first race at Montreal by managing his wear before overtaking Chris on lap 3. John would also pass Chris to take 2nd and force Chris into 3rd. [Full Race Report]
At Melbourne Jeff H and Kevin H led most of the way with Kevin taking the checkered flag and Jeff finishing 2nd to enter the final race of the season 11 points ahead of Kevin. Franklin moved up from the back of the pack at Melbourne to finish 3rd. [Full Race Report]
Jeff's dominance over the first two races meant that he only had to finish 5th to guarantee being one of the top two in the series and get promoted to P1. The second spot would be contested by other podium finishers Kevin, John, Chris and Franklin as well as Mike (who had a 4th and 5th) and Fabio (who had only a slim chance to get promoted after two 7th places).
A lap in, Jeff was doing just enough to make sure he got promoted sitting 5th. Meanwhile John was leading the race and looking like the contender who would also get promoted. But in a couple turns, Franklin emerged from the pack in 3rd with 11 wear to John's 4. Franklin would pass Fabio and John down the back straight on lap 2 and then drive off into the distance never to be challenged for the race win. That put Franklin in the driver's seat to be promoted next to Jeff (who had now worked his way up to 2nd for a strangle-hold on the season title). Kevin was the only driver who could over take Frankin on points without winning the race but he was mired down in 6th, eventually being overtaken by everyone on track before blowing up his engine within sight of the finish line. [Full Race Report]
Season Champ: Jeff H (1st, 2nd, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Franklin H (5th, 3rd, 1st)
Demoted: Scott H, Tony L, Mike H (only 3 demotions because only 9 drivers were in Divoll and a P1 driver retired).
Reilly, Tier 2
Consistency was hard to come by over the first two races in this series. Michael P followed up his race win in Montreal with a 5th in Melbourne. Bruno blew up his engine at Montreal only to win Melbourne. Luca finished 2nd at Montreal only to end up 10th at Melbourne. Doug S followed up an 8th place at Montreal with a 2nd at Melbourne. Scott M was the only car with two podiums in the first two races with consecutive 3rd places. Consequently those 5 drivers all had decent chance to get promoted -- in fact a race win for any would guarantee promotion. [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]
At the important entry into Sunway Lagoon, 5 cars were hoping to clear the corner before the back straight. Interestingly that pack included only 1 driver who entered the race in the top 5 -- Doug S. Kalvin, Doug S, and Jim O were the only three to clear Lagoon. Then Doug S used the outside lane to take the Hairpin faster to overtake Kalvin for the race lead to start lap 2. Doug S kept the lead the rest of the race despite some challenges -- mostly due to having a wear advantage over those challengers.
Meanwhile Michael P kept slowly moving through the pack having qualified in 10th. He was 6th half-way through the race and ahead of the other top contenders for promotion. Near the end of the race Michael over took several more cars to end up finishing 3rd and comfortably in promotion bu 2 points behind Doug for the series championship. [Full Race Report]
Season Champ: Doug S (8th, 2nd, 1st)
Also Promoted: Michael P (1st, 5th, 3rd)
Demoted: Pepe S, Kalvin M, Jim O (only 3 demotions because only 9 drivers were in Divoll and a P1 driver retired).
Ascarii, Tier 3
After the first three races, three drivers sat atop the season standings -- Ciccio I, Palmiro M, and Turyko) separated by only 4 points. So it looked like they would fight over the two available promotion slots although Stephen P had a shot -- especially if he won at Sepang. [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]
Stephen started out on row 1 and quickly grabbed the lead. Meanwhile Turyko, Ciccio, and Palmiro were all down in the bottom half of the grid. If the race stayed like this Stephen would get promoted. By the end of lap 1, Turyko had moved up and taken the race lead but Stephen was still lurking in 2nd with a lot of wear. As the season's final lap began, Stephen was back out front with a lot of wear, Turyko was sitting in second with a bigger car, Palmiro was back in 7th and Ciccio was languishing in 10th. Palmiro and Ciccio would have to get up to 3rd to dislodge Stephen from the 2nd promotion slot. By half-way through the last lap Ciccio had thrown in the towl but Palmiro had worked his way up to 4th and looked to have the wear to get past Christina and/or Turyko. A couple corners later Palmiro was 3rd and Stephen was left to hope either Palmiro or Turyko lost a place. They did not and Stephen missed promotion by a single point. [Full Race Report]
This ended up being a very competative group as two race winners (Stephen and Ciccio failed to advance).
Season Champ: Turyko S (1st, 4th, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Palmiro M (2nd, 2nd, 3rd)
Clark, Tier 3
The first two races of the season had the exact same podiums: Justin S, Dave L, Dave B. [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]
This meant that Justin was guaranteed a promotion regardless of what happened at Sepang and Dave L had a leg up on Dave B for that 2nd promotion. Dave B had to finish top 2 and hope Dave L finished 6th or worse. At the end of lap 2, Dave L was languishing down in 6th but Dave B was running low on wear and took a chance through the hairpin resulting in a crash and Dave L's promotion to tier 2. [Full Race Report]
Season Champ: ?S (1st, 1st, 6th)
Also Promoted: ?L (2nd, 2nd, 3rd)
Fangio, Tier 3
Stephen E won the first two races of the season to clinch a promotion with a race yet to go. Bruce L had a leg up on everyone else for the 2nd promotion slot after finishing 3rd in Montreal and 2nd in Melbourne. But if he faltered at Sepang literally everyone had at least some chance for promotion. [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]
John G was the first to take the reins in this race and spent some wear to take the race lead and 2nd place in the season standings up through the last corner of lap 1. Will K out accelerated John across the start/finish line to being lap 2 in the race lead and now Will was 2nd in season points. All this time, Tom F had been lurking behind John and then Will and conserving his wear before over-taking both of them through Berjaya at the half-way point of the race. That put Tom just barely in 2nd on the season.
As the cars exited corner 1 for the last time, Tom was a turn ahead of everyone and would not be caught. But his promotion would depend on where others' finished. Stephen and worked his way up to 2nd and had enough wear to hold off John and Will (who could have gotten promoted with a 2nd). Bruce was in 5th and needed to get to 3rd place to beat Tom on season points. Bruce managed to work his way up through the field during the 1st half of the last lap before finally passing John for 3rd through Berjaya. Bruce was then able to set himself up to clear Sunway Lagoon a turn ahead of the pack and would coast to 3rd and promotion -- only 3 points clear of Tom. [Full Race Report]
Not to be lost in his early clinching of 1st on the season, Stephen also had the most successful run this year in any series with two 1sts and a 2nd.
Season Champ: Stephen E (1st, 1st, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Bruce L (3rd, 2nd, 3rd)
Moss, Tier 3
Keith R, Dave I, and Mikael M entered the final race of the season within 4 points of each other with two other drivers behind them also having a chance for promotion (Federico S and Robert R). [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]
Most of the smaller field would stay in a pretty tight pack until the start of of the final lap with previous race winners Keith R and Dave I 1-2 in this race and the season and in line for promotion. By the time they reached the back straight both were a full turn ahead of the field and seemingly locked into promotions -- until Keith broke his damaged engine. That knocked him from what looked like a guaranteed 2nd and guaranteed promotion (Dave was going to pass him down the back straight but I'm pretty sure no one else could).
That added some drama to the end of the race. Mikael inherited 2nd on the season when Keith DNFed but Mikael got passed by two cars down the back straight and Robert had worked his way up to 2nd -- putting Robert tenuously in 2nd on the season... until Mikael out accelerated Federico across the line to regain a position, a point, 2nd on the season, and a promotion. [Full Race Report]
Season Champ: Dave I (4th, 1st, 1st)
Also Promoted: Mikael M (3rd, 2nd, 5th)