It’s been a bit of an odd season for Keithley, who won the first race back in August at Lausitzring. After leading his Williams team-mate Nikodem Wisniewski home in a team 1-2 in that event, Keithley has been playing second fiddle since. Wisniewski won at the Nürburgring to establish the championship lead and, despite two different winners in the intervening races at Hockenheim and Sachsenring, had retained the form, and the points lead up until the last race.
Keithley came into this weekend’s race at Zandvoort level on 74 points with Wisniewski after victory at Red Bull Ring last time out, combined with a six-point penalty for Wisniewski following an incident with Florian Hasse and Erhan Jajovski. Meanwhile last year’s champion, Moritz Lohner, was just a single point further back on 73.
The Briton showed no signs of letting up from the race in Austria two weeks ago, claiming pole position at the Dutch circuit by 0.037s from Red Bull’s Nestor Garcia, with Kevin Siggy Rebernak in third and Lohner fourth. Wiesnieski, as part of the punishment for that clash at the Red Bull Ring started from last.
Aside from a half-hearted challenge from Garcia into the first turn, Keithley was able to maintain his lead for the first portion of the race but, somewhat surprisingly, was the first car into the pits on lap seven. The drivers behind followed suit on subsequent laps – Garcia and Lohner on lap eight, and Siggy on lap ten – to reestablish their previous running order.
Garcia waited until the closing laps to try to make his move, consistently running Keithley close through the first turn. However Keithley was able to hold firm each time, and the battle brought Siggy back into contention and filling Garcia’s mirrors – with Lohner close at hand to make it a Mercedes 1-2-3-4.
That allowed the Williams driver to take the victory – his second in a row and third of the season – and he managed to set the fastest race lap too for good measure. The result sees him 11 points clear of both Lohner and Garcia, with a single round remaining: next weekend’s double-header at Oschersleben
One event starting up this last week was the official Australia Supercars esports series, the Repco Supercars Pro ESeries. The series is now in its second year, but it started off in familiar style as defending champion Josh Rogers won the first race at Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit in the Holden Commodore by a huge 11-second margin. Madison Down also picked up his 2019 form, to win the reverse grid second race at the same venue, again in the Commodore.
This year’s series has an unusual format, with a pair of sprint races at a single track, followed by a feature race at a different circuit – with the exception of the Bathurst endurance race on November 10. For the first round, this saw the drivers head to a very unusual location for Supercars: Silverstone.
On the night, Rogers thought he’d scored a second win – just ahead of team-mate Dayne Warren – but the race was decided away from the track. Rogers admitted to a confusion over the regulations which meant he hadn’t used the pit lane speed limiter correctly all evening.
The stewards opted to penalise him five seconds for each of the three races, dropping him to third behind Warren and Jordan Caruso in the Silverstone race, demoting him to 13th in the reverse-grid race, but leaving his race one victory untouched. Warren leads the early championship table as a result, by 30 points from Rogers.
Images courtesy of ADAC Motorsport and Supercars.com.
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