Round 1 - Australia (Adelaide)
The Pro leaders lined up behind them on the third row, Ian Parkhouse taking a sightly surprising class pole ahead of Mark Butler's BCR. Elsewhere Mario Sarno sat the session out after tearing three wheels off his BCR in the morning warmup, Donald Millican was only able to complete one flying lap before his engine seized and Benjamin Surig became the first victim of the strict 12 lap qualifying laws.
Pos No. Driver Team Cl. Time Diff. Laps Pts 1. # 3 Thomas Bodlien Power Tech Ace 1:07.485 +00.000 3 20 2. # 1 Jan Svehlik Bolgani Ace 1:07.556 +00.071 8 16 3. # 2 Mike Hogg Bolgani Ace 1:08.054 +00.569 11 14 4. # 4 Steffen Diener Power Tech Ace 1:08.699 +01.214 11 12 5. #11 Ian Parkhouse Phoenix Pro 1:08.922 +01.437 12 10 6. # 5 Mark Butler BCR - Honda Pro 1:08.978 +01.493 12 8 7. # 9 Darren Crawford Corgi Ace 1:09.120 +01.635 5 6 8. # 7 Olivier Leroy CyberSpeed Pro 1:09.153 +01.668 10 5 9. #39 Robert Wilson Powerecoil-2000 Pro 1:10.560 +03.075 9 4 10. #23 Donald Millican Coll Oliver Mil. Pro 1:11.686 +04.201 10 3 11. #15 Benjamin Suerig Amiga Racing Ace -:--.--- DNQ 13
In the sweltering mid-day sunshine in Adelaide, 13 competitors lined up on the grid for the first race of the season. The excited chatter of the crowd disapeared as the cars purred round to the starting grid, the drivers lining up in perfect order. When the red lights flickered out, Jan Svehlik made the best start of all, powering into the lead while pole-man Bodlien bogged down badly, delaying the Bolgani of Mike Hogg behind him and letting by the lighting fast Mark Butler. Olivier Leroy also made a superb start, up to 5th from 8th on the grid while Stefan Diener in the second Power Tech also made a terrible start - a dodgy set of Power Tech hand-clutch electronics later being blamed for Bodlien and Diener's poor getaways.
On the long run down the back straight, Donald Millican and Robert Wilson clobbered wheels at speed, sending the Powerecoil-2000 spinning down the escape road and losing Wilson 17 seconds to the leaders. Millican recovered his half spin fairly quickly and without serious damage. Diener began his comeback on the second lap, passing Leroy while the Amiga Racing crew were ready for a pitting Benjamin Suerig - his car needing a new wing after it lost an argument with the gearbox of Jim Spratt's Lotus. Mario Sarno's nightmare weekend seemed to be continuing when his BCR pitted with gear selection problems on lap 4, while on track Hogg's Bolgani finally passed the extremely quick Pro car of Butler who he had been shadowing for 5 laps, only to be immediately repassed on lap 6. Millican's car finally decided the first lap crash required some repairs and he pitted for a new nose while Diener continued to climb, passing the Phoenix of Parkhouse. Sarno's bad weekend ended for good on lap 7, the gearbox locking itself in second and putting him out.
A touch of the grass and the resulting wrestle with the steering wheel meant that Butler lost two places to Hogg and Bodlien down the back straight while Parkhouse repassed Diener with a brave inside move at the tight first chicane. Butler and Bodlien were having a fierce tussle, passing and repassing one another and allowing Hogg to pull out a few seconds on them while Diener's charge through the field was put on hold when he spun in front of the pack, causing Darren Crawford to jump on the brakes in his Corgi, which in turn slowed down Parkhouse and allowed Jim Spratt to power his Lotus past all three of them and take 5th.
By lap 12 things had started to calm down a bit with Svehlik 7 seconds ahead of the second Bolgani of Hogg and the Scotsman a further 4 seconds up on Bodlien. Trying to keep the Power Tech from escaping, 4th placed Butler pushed just a little too hard at the tight chichane and clipped the kerb which propelled him sideways into the wall. He cruised round to the pits to get the suspension looked at but after some hasty repairs and two more laps, he pulled his damaged car into the pit garage, the BCR team members packing up early - something they certainly aren't used to. Parkhouse was briefly promoted to 4th but Diener took the place from him on lap 17 and on lap 21 he made the first scheduled pitstop, promoting Crawford to 4th. On lap 24 the hard charging Bodlien caught and passed Hogg on the run up to the final corner, going through with authority and roaring into the distance.
By lap 32 the first pitstops were complete, Svehlik emerging with a 37 second lead from Bodlien, Hogg, Diener and Parkhouse. Lap 38 saw Diener pass Hogg - the two having set nearly identical times for 5 laps. The Bolgani driver wasn't about to lose a podium finish lightly and he immediately tried to repass on the straight, missing his braking point and mounting the rear right wheel of the Power Tech. The brief flight came to a splintering end with Mike visiting the pits for a new nose and a look at the suspension while Diener carried on unscathed. After only one lap Hogg was back in again, the steering all over the place but the team couldn't do much to fix it and a full suspension failure on lap 59 ended his Bolgani debut. Except for a spirited battle between Crawford and Spratt which had been going on for around 15 laps, not much happened for the next few laps although Diener called in to the pits complaining of poor power output which eventually lead to his engine giving up entirely.
By lap 68 the second stops had all been completed and Svehlik held a huge margin of 1 minute 25 secs over Bodlien, Parkhouse, Crawford and Spratt. A huge accident at the first chicane left Robert Wilson trundling round to the pits with no nosecone, rear wing and two punctures but amazingly the Powerecoil-2000 team managed to patch the car up and send him out again. Except for a brief pit-stop for a new nosecone for Jim Spratt's Lotus, the positions remained the same to the end of the race, Svehlik a long way ahead of Bodlien with Parkhouse taking a flawless 3rd place and putting a Pro car on the podium ahead of the impressive Crawford and Spratt, the only other drivers on the lead lap.
So with Svehlik and Bodlien renewing their rivalry, Hogg and Diener proving fast (if erratic!) team-mates to the top two, Pro drivers easily mixing it with the Ace contingent and a crop of very promising newcomers proving themselves to be more than capable, the league moves to Brazil in two weeks time looking healthier than it has for the past couple of seasons.
Pos No. Driver Team Cl. Time Diff. Pts 1. # 1 Jan Svehlik Bolgani Ace 1h37:59.592 +0:00.000 180 +5+3 2. # 3 Thomas Bodlien Power Tech Ace 1h39:51.821 +1:52.229 170 3. #11 Ian Parkhouse Phoenix Pro 1h40:54.701 +2:55.109 165 4. # 9 Darren Crawford Corgi Ace 1h41:27.239 +3:27.647 160 5. #25 Jim Spratt Lotus Pro 1h42:15.722 +4:16.130 155 6. #15 Benjamin Suerig Amiga Racing Ace -1 laps 151 7. # 7 Olivier Leroy CyberSpeed Pro -1 laps 147 8. #23 Donald Millican Coll Oliver Mil. Pro -2 laps 143 9. #39 Robert Wilson Powerecoil-2000 Pro -2 laps 139 10. # 4 Steffen Diener Power Tech Ace 59 laps 72.84% 98 11. # 2 Mike Hogg Bolgani Ace 58 laps 72.75% 94 12. # 5 Mark Butler BCR - Honda Pro 16 laps 19.85% 25 13. # 6 Mario Sarno BCR - Honda Pro 6 laps 7.64% 9
"The new season has started! Hope that this year there will be more drivers competing. First race on well-known circuit - Australia. The Olympic Games are gone, now there is another significant event. I have won this GP last year, so i used the same car setup and tactic this year."
Ian Parkhouse (Phoenix), 3rd:
"The race went very smoothly, although I did have a couple of dodgy moments, particularly on lap 3 where a momentary loss of concetration caused a 720 degree spin (fortunately I didn't damage the car and was far enough ahead of the field to be able to keep going still in the lead).
I certainly got lucky with my pit stops - both times I came out of the pits still between the same two cars as before the stop! There were also a lot of CC retirements (only 10 left at the finish), which meant less mobile chicanes late in the race!
Overall I am delighted! I haven't done too many 100% distance races, so to complete my first IAF1GPC 100% race without any pit stops for repairs is brilliant!"
Darren Crawford (Corgi), 4th:
"Everything went smoothly at the start.
Then the back markers caused me some passing problems, some more than others.
I had a couple of near misses hear and there, but all-in-all I'm satisfied with my first race."
Jim Spratt (Lotus), 5th:
"From a qualifying postion of 9th I made a promising start, and took the lead of
the race on Lap 4, which I held until my first pit stop (Lap 31).
I should have maintained my first position, but the problem was, every time I
opened up a gap, I had to slow down due to accidents ahead of me, and with an 11
second lead I ended up in second.
I then set about trying to re-take the lead, but due to tyre problems never
Then on lap 69, I crashed into the wall as I tried to overtake Eddie Irvine,
resulting in a trip to the pits for a new nose. Dropping to forth, and feeling
the pressure of 110% effort, I finally managed to snatch 3rd from Ralph
Schumacher with 3 laps to go. I could have caught Coultard, but didn't have
All in all a reasonable performance, but now time to concentrate on Brazil."
Benjamin Suerig (Amiga Racing), 6th:
"On the whole a mediocre race. I had a very good start, but made a bad
mistake in lap 3. During the following laps I was fighting hard to not to
lose too much time when overtaking slower cars, still a good race was
impossible due to my early pitstop. I'm looking forward to Interlagos, as
it's my favourite track and I'm sure i can be much faster there."
Olivier Leroy (CyberSpeed), 7th:
"I started on the first place, and I did a good start, just ahead Mika Hakkinen. On the
3rd lap, I did a little fault, and Mika passed me, but a lap later, I re-took the first place.
But on the 8th lap, I wasn't concentrated, and I broke my front wing for the first time. After
this stop, I was 6th. So, I attacked in order to gain few places and 15 laps later, I was 3rd, and
unfortunately, I broked my front wing two times in two laps... At the 67th lap, I was 5th and, for
the 4th time, I broked my front wing, when I wanted to take a lap to Giancarlo Fisichella.
However, I finally arrived on the 5th place, and I think it's a good result for the first race, and
four broken wings :-)."
Donald Millican (Coll Oliver Mil.), 8th:
"This is the first race I have ever run at 100% distance!
I had numerous tyre problems at the start of the race but
after I got a good set of tyres the car ran well."
Robert Wilson (Powerecoil-2000), 9th:
"I had to start at the back of the grid due to an initial gear select problem,
being 20 seconds late off the start I had to form up behind the two Minardi's.
However, my start was good. I quickly passed several cars on the opening lap
pushing me to 18th, and continued to press hard narrowly missing a coming
together in front of me on the next lap. [...] Disaster on
lap 64 as I had a coming together with several cars and needed a new front
nose cone and a rear wing. My pit crew worked well and got me out in around
20 seconds. [...]
A nearly fatal disaster approaching the hairpin on lap 70 caused me to run
out on to the grass and miss the advertising barrier by the width of a wheel
nut. Struggling for grip on the grass I rejoined still lucky to be in 4th
A few laps from the end I had a Ferrari on the end of my gearbox and decided to slow
down and let it past, although straight line speed wasn't a problem I needed
the points for my first race of the season."
Steffen Diener (Power Tech), 10th:
"My first race for Power Tech ended a bit disapointing for me.
After not qualifying as good as I expected I had to start the
race from 3rd row. After a few laps I was leading my race, but
then I made to many mistakes and even broke a FW.
At the end I made an even bigger mistake. When I continued the
race from saved game on sunday I forgot to log the end of the
race and realized it far to late after about 10 laps.
But I hope to be more competetive at Brazil."
Mark Butler (BCR - Honda), 12th:
"I hate this track more than any other in the game. In fact, thats a lie.
It aint the whole track that I hate, its just the first corner chicane
thing that annoys me. I always seem to take it a tiny bit too fast. Just a
couple of miles an hour over the right speed sends you over the chicane into
the wall. It gets me every time. In the whole 6 years Ive had this game I
have never finished a race there :-("