Ryan Parkins crossed the finish line on Sunday to be crowned the first ever PCGB Sim Racing champion. Although Paul Riga and Gavin Halls were the winners of the double-header event at Spa, it was Parkins who secured the championship after clinching third and second place.
Coming into the race weekend Parkins only had to finish in front of his nearest rival, Carl Sharkey, to ensure he claimed the championship in race one. Gavin Halls, in the PorscheSport #38 911, took the pole position in qualifying, ahead of Parkins by only 0.07 seconds, while Sharkey’s defence was made even harder by having to start from 7th.
With lights out, Parkins struggled to get off the line and dropped down to 8th position before turn one. While Sharkey looked to have the better of Parkins, contact between him and Mark Baxter-Jones into turn one allowed Parkins to close onto the back of Sharkey. Meanwhile at the front, Gavin Halls and Dan Baithe held onto first and second, followed by Mark Phillips and Austin Greatorex. Sharkey did manage to hold Parkins off for lap one, but as they reached La Source on lap two, Parkins had comfortably taken fifth position.
The race was far from over, more drama occurred between the top runners and a spinning Mark Phillips was collected by Carl Sharkey, resulting in heavy damage for the #77 PorscheSport car. With Sharkey now recovering from eighth and sustaining damage, Parkins now looked strong in third position. In the remaining seconds of the race, there were incidents further down the order as Paul Stout and Amreek Sachdev battled for thirteenth position.
An on-looking Danny Jones looked set to capitalise on any mistakes but Stout and Sachdev went side-by-side in Blachimont, contact was made, unfortunately collecting Jones on the way. Meanwhile, an untouchable Gavin Halls at the front the pack took the chequered flag, well clear of Dan Baithe taking second, with Ryan Parkins claiming the final podium spot and ultimately the championship.
The reverse grid for race two saw an early retiring Paul Riga claim pole position and enjoyed a great start and lead off the line.nIn a frantic dash to Blachimont, it was Mark Searle who had the unfortunate part to play, making contact with Paul Stout as they accelerated up the famous hill.
Our newly crowned champion also did well to avoid any disasters, but came close as Mark Bow, Chris Bowie and Stuart Clark all made heavy contact in the opening lap. At the back of the grid, the familiar faces of Carl Sharkey, Gavin Halls, Austin Greatorex and James Cummings all battled to gain track position.
Our race one winner Halls, led the chasing pack and had already gained an impressive 15 positions by the second lap. He did however, have a huge scare as Mark Baxter-Jones turned into Halls under heavy braking, thankfully Halls was able to keep the car straight. Great battles continued throughout the field; Austin Greatorex and Dan Baithe had an impressive battle for sixth position and avoided much of the dramas around them.
By lap five, Halls and Parkins were battling for third position and impressed fans with a climb up the field from last on the grid. Parkins finally got the better of Halls, whilst also taking the opportunity to take second position off Oliver Cawardine, who then lost out to Halls on the same lap. Paul Riga, with a clean and effortless drive took the chequered flag with Ryan Parkins in second and Dan Baithe in third.
“Yes boys! Very, very happy!” was the initial from championship winner Ryan Parkins. “The race start, yes it was nerves. I had barely any practice on this track, every time I’ve gone out on this track I’ve made a mistake and felt really nervous. It reminded me of Sebastian Vettel in 2012 who only had to get fourth. Brands Hatch, I will go do some practice, I still want to go and win the next round.“
“The first race win, it’s a massive monkey off my back” added Gavin Halls. “I've done a lot of racing and I can tell you I’ve never worked so hard for a race win. I honestly thought it was never going to happen. There’s been a lot of issues all season, with collisions, jumps starts, internet problems and silly mistakes. It’s been non-stop, but I learnt from my mistakes and finally came good today".
“It was good, it was nerve wracking with Ryan Parkins coming up the road behind me” commented Paul Riga. “It’s a little difficult when you’re racing on your own and I kept making tiny mistakes. Each lap I looked at my times and they were fairly consistent, but I did think I would get caught. A big congratulations to Ryan on the championship."
With still one race weekend left in the championship, Ryan Parkins once again demonstrated how he has dominated throughout the season by taking the championship at Spa, with two races still remaining. Parkins fought off stiff competition from rivals Matthew Dorrington, Carl Sharkey, Gavin Halls and Austin Greatorex this season, providing fans with some fantastic battles. While Parkins has claimed the overall championship, the following pack are still fighting for positions going into the final round at Brands Hatch this Sunday.
Photos and race report by PorscheSport.com
Watch the replay from Spa here.
Next Round: Sunday 26 July at Brands Hatch
Watch the racing here.