Dubai was Round 8 of 10, leaving us with only 2 races to go after this week, and the final round has double points, so everything is still to play for this season. That will provide some consolation to a few drivers who were unable to attend the race this week. SpideR and Dan were unavailable to race in Challenger class, whilst Raskemenn4444 and Yoohan didn't take part in Pro class.
The rest of the field made some interesting car choices this week, with most of the guys going with some similar thinking. In Pro class everyone chose the Oreca LMP2 machine, except for DriverR1 who selected the Alpine car. Was this a genius move or big risk? Pole position in qualifying seemed to suggest that Driver might have made the right choice. In the GT3 Challenger class, all drivers chose the BMW Z4 GT3 this week.
It was a pretty clean start to the race, but Tidgney dropped backwards in Pro class in the early stages. He actually fell back in amongst the Challenger class drivers after a difficult opening lap. DriverR1, Magic Michael and Mangator were the top 3 in the early stages in LMP2. In Challenger class the drivers ran in a close train in the opening laps, with Joker_1 maintaining an early lead.
Matty and Isaac started a nice battle for P4 in Pro class after just a few minutes of the half hour race. Isaac looked much stronger on the brakes as he tried to overtake, lap-after-lap and corner-after-corner, but Matty defended the inside well, and kept getting great exits with good traction to maintain his position.
Back in the GT3 class, Boxer4everr was sitting comfortably on Joker’s rear bumper, but struggling to to find a way through, with the slipstream seemingly not particularly effective in the desert heat of Dubai. Meanwhile, Isaac finally snuck past Matty to steal 4th place in the LMP2 field. The intense pressure finally told, and he was able to take advantage of a small mistake by Matty to make his move.
Suddenly the battle was on at the front as Magic Michael began to exert some pressure on DriverR1 in the lead. Michael made his move and squeezed through into the front of the race, albeit with a little contact onto DriverR1’s right rear bodywork. Mangator also made the most of the battle for the lead, and quickly caught his squabbling rivals to make it a three-way battle at the front.
Then we get another lead change, this time in Challenger class as Boxer4everr moved past Joker after a long time sat in his wake. We saw some great action in the first half of the race.
It was all getting very tight at the front with half of the race still to go, as the top 3 LMP2 drivers all ran closely together after that battle for the lead. Magic Michael was still in front, with DriverR1 just behind, but then disaster struck for Mangator as a slowdown penalty for cutting the track dropped him off the tail of the leading pair. Suddenly things were looking much more comfortable for the top 2, and Magic Michael upped the pace as we entered the last 10 minutes, to pull out a nice gap over DriverR1 in the space of just one or two laps.
Sadly, Mangator's bad luck in race 8 wasn't over, as he suffered an unfortunate technical issue which forced him to retire from the action. However, with two rounds still to go, and double points in the last round, there is still time for him to recover some ground in the championship fight with DriverR1 and Magic Michael. Mangator's misfortune remarkably promoted Tidgney into a podium position in Pro class. A tremendous result for him after he had a very disappointing start to Sunday's race.
It was a solid performance from Magic Michael to take the win, albeit with a little bit of contact between himself and DriverR1 in the first part of the race. It was also a good win for Boxer4everr in Challenger class. He did a great job to take the lead from Joker, and then held his nerve for the rest of the race.
Our results page will be updated for Race 6 after ESL has updated the latest points standings on the ESL Play website.
Next: Race 9 at Hockenheim
We have another one week break in the championship coming up, so tune in for next race on Saturday, April 22 at 16:00 BST. Race 9 of the ESL Project CARS European Championship will be at Germany's Hockenheimring.
Join The Action
Register at the ESL Play website to race in the Project CARS Go4 Cups every Sunday, and you could be in with a chance of securing a place in the Challenger Class for a future round of the European Championship. Find out more at the link below.