With the Group Stage having been concluded yesterday, we still have two more semi-final spots to determine.
The teams which finished second and third in their respective groups now face-off in the wildcard playoffs for a trip to Abu Dhabi and a spot in the semi-finals on 22 July.
Both matchups were entertaining affairs throughout, here are all the highlights!
Final race controversy
We began at Silverstone, where Aston Martin’s Manual Biancolilla kept his Relay Race pole into Turn 1. However, Jiri Toman had other ideas and launched his R8G car down the inside into Village to take the lead. R8G’s pace during the final two stints was enough to win and open their account for the contest.
For the Team Race, R8G again started on pole, but three Astons lined up behind them. Alejandro Sanchez spun in the first corner thanks to contact with Erhan Jajovski. Marcell Csincsik was imperious throughout, leading from lights to flag despite continuous pressure from Biancolilla and helping to give R8G a 2-0 lead.
For part two, we went to the Yas Marina circuit and Aston Martin had to win both races to stand any chance of making the semi-finals. Perhaps that was in Biancolilla’s mind, as he wouldn’t give Toman and inch into Turn 1.
Contact was made and Toman went wide and into the wall, losing three seconds in the process. That proved to be crucial, with the stewards choosing not to punish Aston for the move. A 2-1 overall score meant it was all to play for in the Team Race.
Aston Martin occupied the front row but Csincsik got a lightning start and was up to second. Csincsik then hit leader Biancolilla going into the hairpin, spinning the Aston around. R8G led 1-2, but would the stewards get involved?
Biancolilla wasn’t waiting to find out though, as on the penultimate lap, he launched down the inside of Jajovski into the chicane. He wasn’t far enough alongside and got tagged, spinning down to last place. That was the “Hail Mary” move and it missed, R8G is through to the semi-finals.
Sensational Silverstone duel
We began again at Silverstone, with Williams’ Michael Romanidis starting on pole. The Greek racer got off to a good start, but Jarno Opmeer passed him into Village. Romanidis then re-passed him into Brooklands and regained his P1 place.
After the first stops, Cedric Thome got a great run on Daniele Haddad going up the Wellington straight, but couldn’t quite get the overtake done. For the final stints, Bono Huis immediately tried to pass Shanaka Clay into Village, but he eventually got the move done into Brooklands. Huis would hold this to the chequered flag, but a penalty gave Williams the opening point.
For the Team Race, Mercedes occupied the front row and made it a 1-2-3 after Opmeer got past Romanidis for third. Williams would fight back, but contact would cause Clay, Romanidis and Opmeer to all spin off through Copse. Mercedes kept their 1-2 to the finish to tie the contest 1-1.
Mugello hosted the second part of this tie and it was Mercedes starting on pole. Romanidis couldn’t overtake Opmeer into Turn 1. The race was close throughout, but neither Clay nor Haddad could challenge the Silver Arrow in the lead. Mercedes lead Williams 2-1.
Williams had to win the Team Race to stand any chance of making the semi-finals, but had it all to do with Mercedes on the front row. Thome ran wide and pushed Romanidis wide at the start as Huis led the pack. Huis stayed cool throughout, despite Clay never leaving his mirrors, he finished P1 to win the contest and send Mercedes to Abu Dhabi!
The semi-finals of this season's V10 R-League will take place on 22 July.
R8G's reward for their wildcard win is a match against the seemingly unstoppable Redline.
Mercedes meanwhile will go toe-to-toe with the in-form YAS Heat squad.
There won't be much time to recover from all that, as the final along with the 3rd place playoff will take place on 23 July LIVE from Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.
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