She’s back! It was August 2014 when Morgan Morand scored the last win for NetRex GP in Hockenheim, before Michele D’Alessandro brought her back home last week-end in Austria.
Looking at previous races it was all but unpredictable that D’Alessandro would soon score an important result.
And again it was almost exactly two years ago that NetRex scored a 1st/3rd in World Championship (2014 Canadian GP Morgan Morand and Carlos Martin), something which D’Alessandro and Greco were capable of in Austria.
D’Alessandro already showed his potential during qualifying, setting his first pole position (28th in WC for NetRex) of the season in a very close session: his 1.06.708 gave him pole with a margin of just 0.013 over second place.
David Greco ended the session in 8th place but just 0.216 behind his teammate.
At the start the first hot moment of the race: Bigazzi falls in an incredible false start and, in the process, that causes quite some confusion in the cars following him on the grid; D’Alessandro passes T1 without problems, closely followed by Kostadinov, while David Greco manages to keep his 8th place.
On lap 12 D’Alessandro is leading with only 1.3s over Kostadinov, Greco jumps up to 7th as Sadler goes in for his first stop. On the next lap (13th), Kostadinov leaves D’Alessandro’s tail and enters the pitlane for his stop, switching to medium tyres. Both D’Alessandro and Greco (who is now third thanks to pitstops) are still on track.
D’Alessandro waits two laps more than Kostadinov and comes in for his first stop after 15 laps and rejoins just ahead of Kostadinov, but, differently from Eventa drivers, he goes again for soft tyres, while Greco keeps going, now in 2nd place.
One lap later Greco finds himself in 1st place as he’s the only one of top drivers who didn’t pit yet. He will do on lap 20, running an incredible distance on soft tyres compared to others.
When Greco pits, D’Alessandro goes back in first place with Kostadinov in second, but the gap between the two is starting to increase and it’s around 2.5 sec’s, thanks to the different tyres compound. Greco rejoins track in 10th place but it’s now pretty clear he might try a different strategy with one less stop.
On lap 26 the gap between D’Alessandro and Kostadinov is now 4 seconds, while Greco gains two positions thanks to the stops of Manousakis (2nd stop) and Masciulli (1st stop after a long stint on medium tyres).
Lap 31 and D’Alessandro’s pit crew is out for his second stop, surprisingly the NetRex GP driver is followed in the pitlane by Dian Kostadinov despite he was on an harder compound.
Greco gains two positions over Hoyer and Brewer, who stopped for their 2nd time, and is now driving in 6th place.
This time D’Alessandro rejoins track with a clear margin of more than 4 seconds over Kostadinov and again they are on different compounds: soft for D’Alessandro, medium for Kostadinov.
Daniel Kiss jumps to first place in his long stint on medium tyres but he’s still to pit for his second stop.
On lap 39 the Hungarian Twister Racing driver enters the pitlane, leaving P1 and P2 to NetRex GP drivers, with Greco only 3.5 seconds behind D’Alessandro thanks to his different strategy.
NetRex one/two lasts till lap 45, when David Greco enters the pitlane for his 2nd and last stop, that leaving him 26 laps to be made on his second set of medium tyres.
D’Alessandro is now leading by 6.8 over Kostadinov and 7.3 over Kiss who has climbed to third place and, on lap 47, overtakes Kostadinov for 2nd place. All of them will have to pit one more time.
Two laps later, on lap 49, both D’Alessandro and Kostadinov are in the pitlane for their last stop: D’Alessandro is now on medium tyres, having used only soft tyres so far, while Kostadinov is again on mediums.
Kiss is now leading the race with his 10 laps old soft tyres, meaning he’ll clearly go on enough to do his last stint again on soft. Simoncic is now 2nd ahead of D’Alessandro, but will have to stop just as his teammate, Sadler, who is fourth ahead of Greco.
Greco is ahead of Kostadinov, with older tyres but no more stops to do.
On lap 54 Sadler stops and Greco gains fourth place and virtual podium, considering Simoncic will still need to pit.
Kiss is still on track with his old soft tyres and D’Alessandro is gaining time in the virtual duel with the hungarian on his fresher mediums. Now the gap is 13 seconds with Kiss still having to make his final stop.
After two laps, indeed, Kiss goes in for his last stop, leaving first position to Simoncic, who keeps going and starts to damage D’Alessandro’s rythm, who, in the meantime catched the GhostSpeed driver.
Kiss rejoins the track in third position, only about 6 seconds behind D’Alessandro, who is on older and harder tyres.
On lap 59 Simoncic finally enters the pitlnale for his last stop: so, when no one is supposed to stop again, for the 12 last laps the standings say: D’Alessandro first with 4 seconds margin over Kiss, who is on fresher softs and gaining time on the italian. Third position for Greco who is closely followed by Kostadinov in the fight for third place.
The double duel D’Alessandro/Kiss and Greco/Kostadinov is the main theme of last 10 laps, with Kiss getting closer and closer to D’Alessandro and Kostadinov trying to overtake Greco, who seems to use all his experience to keep his incredible third place.
On lap 69, Kiss is only 1.4 seconds behind D’Alessandro who, on the next lap, replies to the hungarian with a 1.08.9, which, considering tyre wear and compound, shines as a great laptime and allows NetRex GP driver to keep Kiss out of DRS range when last lap begins.
D’Alessandro goes to take his first win in Formula SimRacing, 19th win for NetRex in the top FSR division, while David Greco completes the triumph for the italian team with a third place, after an incredible race.
Michele D’Alessandro commented his first win:
It’s an unbelievable feeling, I didn’t expected this result here in Austria, my pace in race wasn’t amazing but i knew that overtaking was realy hard. I found a very good pace and feeling for Qualify saturday and I’ve been able to do it in real Qualify and with some luck I did my first pole position in WC.
The championship hasn’t started in the best way I had some bad luck but now i have had a very good race. From now I just have to think race by race and try to do some consecutive podiums and we’ll see for what position I can fight.