Donegal man, Jordan Kelly took home the Pro class GTE honours at Le Mans yesterday in a victory by over eleven seconds, a winning margin that wasn’t seen for some time in Digital-Motorsports.com
This was one that had to be watched. Sponsored by Mondello park, there is the ongoing opportunity to win a driver experience in the M4 and M8 competition driving experiences around our national track, something we would all love a run at! Not only that but it was the beginning of something special last night, the first National Irish Digital Championship we know of across the world where the national motorsport authority, Motorsport Ireland in this case, had taken the leap to acknowledge this as an associated Motorpsort Discipline in its own right, something that has now created a buzz within the grid.
Each driver will hold their own Digital competition licence but will also be subject to the sanctions and other responsibilities that come with this. Digital-motorsports.com never fail to move the yardstick every season!
Jordan stole pole by half a second at the end of qualifying with the rest of the field much more bunched up. Some regulars were caught out by the pace of the field and were in the midpack or further down. The top 10 drivers were separated by just over a second, an amount of time easily lost across what is essentially a four minute lap.
With this all mentioned, we were running to the final corner for the first time under the pace car, as a driver myself, the palms are sweaty and you are surrounded by the best grid of drivers that can be put on the one track at any time from across Ireland and the rest of Europe, nobody really knows what is going to happen but it’s all forgotten as Kelly is given the role to start the race.
The race itself played out with Kelly extending his lead over Josh Malin when Josh met traffic in unfortunate spots. Next on the road was the turn 3 duo of Keith Dempsey and Niki Meredith. Keith is a multi series winner and is always there or there abouts expect him to be right on the pace across the season.
Further down James Holman, Adrian Campfield and Jason Cooper had a massive race long battle to sort out the race for 7th, while Airijus Jomantas and Sergej Grabun battled hard in the closing stages, always two drivers ready to race hard and fair.Evan Walsh had a disastrous qualification and was the biggest mover, piloting his M8 GTE from 26th up to 13th finish. It’s a case of what could have been if qualification had gone his way. Watch him in Atlanta!
The rest of the Pro grid will be back with vengeance at road Atlanta, a tight track that is only just over the minute in length in the BMW M8’s meaning it will be a much closer race up front. There are 29 drivers all ready and capable to topple Jordan from his Round 1 throne.
In the post-race interviews, Digital-Motorsports.com’s front man Niall Maher praised the quality of the racing and was delighted on how the first round of the IDMC (Irish Digital Motorsports Championship) had gone. He thanked Motorpsort Ireland and Mondello Park for coming onboard and having the foresight of just how great this discipline of motorsport can be.
“while the cars and the tracks are virtual, the racing is very much real”
We will leave it there, it’s been an exciting opening round, possibly the best bit of racing we’ve seen in the history of Digital Motorsports and the best bright beginning imaginable to the National series.
We were sure the pros would bring the heat and provide the close battles we were expecting, but the close-knit group of gt4’s on track was a sight to behold. Denning would triumph from this but MaGuinness, a newcomer to the league, kept him brutally honest for the entirety of the race.
Denning, originally qualified 5th but drove to the front and just proved a little too fast for the rest. A Mondello regular, continues his success with a win in the fiesta series with this GT4 win at Le Mans. Further down the grid and trying to chase these two down was the ever consistent Kevin Shine, a consistent and fast driver that has come along and proved himself as a force to be reckoned with, he’ll be happy with 3rd but will no doubt be looking to race higher when we arrive in Atlanta in two weeks.
The fight for fourth was fierce, a three way battle coming down to the last lap that would see contact live on tv bringing the stewards into play between vra racing’s latest driver, Chris McCann and Harry McGovern, this is yet to be resolved as this goes public but the contact ultimately handed the man not involved at all, Evan Griffin, 4th in a well deserved drive from the newcomer. One to watch for sure.
Well known streamer, Laurence Dusoswa took the car home in 7th after some contact and a spin cost him time on track, perhaps not exactly where he’d like to be it’s still a strong showing on this grid and a nice haul of points.
Rob O’Neill, first of the grids well known DMS racing crew drove a good race to bring it home in the top ten.
Al Reid, newcomer to the digital-motorsports grid and a privateer with it all to do himself takes ninth in a good show of pace for his first race. Talking to al after the race he said he had made a number of mistakes but that the pace is there and he’s looking forward positively to the future rounds.Damien McMullen, another dms racing driver, closes out the top ten in what will probably be the better series for close racing!
Next round is Road Atlanta, a much tighter and technical track, especially in the first sector which will only bring this group of great drivers closer than ever.
We’ll report more once the times start flooding in from practice and the rumours abound about who is setting the pace!
Author: Peter McCann 23-9-2020