It was another good-race-bad-race experience for the team during round two of the SMRC eSports iRacing Summer Championship. With two 30-minute races around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium to contest, the team's strong start was once again undone by the lottery of a reverse grid second outing.
With a maximum of four timed laps available to drivers in the 15-minute session (but a lap around Spa taking two-and-a-half minutes each) it would be important to put together a clean and incident-free lap to be sure of a good place on the starting grid. Jordan's initial effort saw him placed in 4th spot and initial improvements on his second lap were undone with a slow run through the Blanchimont corner. Struggling to extract any more pace from fading tyres after that, his first lap proved to be his only one. 4th turned into 5th in the dying moments of the session, but another top-5 start (and the bonus points associated with it) were the reward of all the testing miles completed prior to Thursday.
Jordan's rolling-start was compromised even before the lights went out for race one as the driver ahead almost lost the car through the final corner, causing following cars to back-off and lose all-important momentum over the line. Despite the hiccup, Jordan held onto 5th as the initial corners unfolded, with most of the field making it through La Source and Eau-Rouge. Contact and spinners lower down the order over the crest of Raidillon didn't affect the top of the of the pack. Jordan and Jack Eyre had an excellent door-to-door dice through Le Combes, with the latter coming out on top as the field settled into the rhythm of the race.
Fending-off the attentions of championship-leader, Sam Corson behind, Jordan gradually opened a comfortable margin whilst just about hanging onto Eyre and Peter Butcher ahead. Fraser Williamson and Lewis Ward steadily disappeared into the distance to battle over the lead, on a pace no-one else could match.
Jordan's race settled into a steady affair of not quite being close enough to attack the pair ahead, but comfortably clear of the cars behind, and the order stayed the same until the flag - the team bagging another strong finish in the series.
"...a top-5 finish with the calibre of competition we have out there is a very good result for us!"
"I really enjoyed that race once more." said Jordan. "I had a great few corners at the start with Jack - we just brushed door handles at one point, but not strongly enough to pick up any incident points - and after that it was just a case of being consistent. I didn't quite have the pace to challenge, but a top-5 finish with the calibre of competition we have out there is a very good result for us!"
The 'reverse-top-15' grid format for race two put Jordan 11th in the line-up as the field streamed towards La Source once more. An incident-free first corner meant everyone could breathe a sigh of relief after the carnage of round one two weeks ago, but it was to be short-lived. Mis-judging speed differentials through Eau-Rouge, 7th-placed Andrew Hopley dropped his BMW over Raidillon, spinning wide onto the run-off area before pivoting backwards onto the circuit - just as Jordan popped over the blind crest... Contact was very nearly avoided as Jordan moved as far left as he could given the lightness of the car over the rise, but unfortunately it wasn't enough and a hefty side-impact from the BMW caused significant damage to Jordan's smaller Porsche. Although he kept going, his straight-line speed was immediately depleted. A few corners later it also became apparent that the tracking of the car has been pushed out as Jordan drifted wildly through the fast sweepers of Spa.
The promise of race one turned into a very long and drawn-out race two for Jordan as he limped round 8-9 seconds off of his usual pace. Doggedly dragging the car to the finish, 21st place and the five championship points that go with it were the small, but important reward for a tough 30-minutes of driving slowly and sideways.
"...it really was just a case of being in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Thank goodness that is over!" lamented Jordan afterwards. "The start went pretty well and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into the race and see how much progress we could make, but obviously that all ended at Raidillon rather suddenly. I've watched the replay back and I don't think there's anything else I could have done - it really was just a case of being in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a big shame as I love Spa and was really up for the challenge in race two, but instead it turned out to be completely different type of challenge altogether, and not nearly so enjoyable!"
"The crash damage meant I was slow on the straights, so sectors 1 and 3 at Spa were just embarrassing as people would walk by me. But the alignment was also knocked-out so that the rear swung around on any long corners - meaning sector 2 was also a disaster. All-in-all I'm quite surprised and pleased at still picking-up points from the race, although those were the toughest 5 points I think I've ever worked for!"
Despite race two, Jordan strong showing in the opening two rounds of the championship see him places 7th in the standings, equal on points with the 6th and 8th placed-drivers.
Next time out there are double the points on offer as the series heads to Silverstone for the first one-hour endurance event on the 9th of July!