McLaren's No 2 Toggsie was absent on Sick-Leave and the Williams of Zdievo was caught-out with the public holiday and the race being moved to Monday, however all the news was from Ferrari, who held a late press-conference announcing that they were trying to get NightKid into the cockpit again for the remainder of the season and he would be supported with the signing of St8smn returning from retirement. Alas at the 11th hour as things looked good to go a technical glitch forced a retirement from Nightkid, causing a knock-on effect which resulted in restarting qualifying, a blessing to some and a curse to others.
|10||14||Fredzfrog||Red Bull||+1 lap||27||01:44.079||11||1|
With the new qualifying session underway and the promise of rain during the race Oz1098S qualified on pole for the third round running, ahead of the rest of the field by 2 seconds on a tyre-blistering 1:37.043 - a time that would have put him on the front-row in the F1 comp. Team-mate Nightfire took second with enough pace to outwit SoJ by half a second, the McLaren Missile was looking unsteady in 3rd on a wet setup, his worst result since round 2 but still good for 3 points. Millen and EffingSea rounded out the top 5 with great pace, the lotus driver happy with his performance "Finally managed to sneak under 1:41". Rogue Eclipse was just out of the points in 6th setting a good time also running a wet setup. Pessimist Prime and Ploddy couldn't find the pace they had in practice to fall into 7th and 8th respectively "Was about a second off my practice times" (Ploddy). St8smn, Sora and Fredzfrog rounded out the qualifying times just off the main field. Nobody was unable to set a qualifying time at all, technical issues keeping his RB8 in the garage.
Apart from the points gained by the front-runners all of this was made irrelevant as the scheduled start never happened. With concerns over the AstroTurf and its adherence to the ground around the course the FIA called for a re-assessment of the track, bumping the race start to after the rain cleared and causing immense confusion on the grid, the hold-up also giving Nobody the opportunity to get his car race ready.
On the restart time constraints led to the FIA opting for a random grid and in all the commotion Driver Association president and media magnate Lambo , out in practice testing a HRT, found himself on track and in pole position when he was not supposed to be racing at all. There was no time left to fix the grid, so he was instructed to drive straight for the nearest gravel trap. The rest of the grid was in all sorts of disarray. PessimistPrime was bumped up to 2nd, Nightfire faired well for 3rd, Nobody was nervous in 4th followed by Millen, Sora, Effsea, Fredzfrog and Ploddy making up the middle of the grid. At the back was pole-placed Oz and 3rd placed SOJ in 10th and 11th, while Rogue and St8smn completed the last row.
As the lights went out and the race got underway the confusion of the restart revealed that Rogue's car had accidentally been changed back to a base-setup. The result was calamities aplenty as his car went wayward at the first breaking point "the car didn't react anything like I expected and I ran straight on and collected half the field", putting many drivers into the gravel behind Lambo or facing the wrong way and leaving enough debris on track to build a new race-car. Effsea put it mildly "What a hectic 1st corner", while Ploddy was a bit more descriptive "Got donut-punched at Turn 1, ended up spinning right round baby right round, into the wall backwards" The FIA were in as much confusion as the drivers, handing out penalties to SoJ, Fredz and Oz for minor and unavoidable infringements, and Ploddy nearly taking one with an out-of-bounds overtake after righting his car. Rogue picked one up for instigating the whole disaster but seemed happy to take it on the chin. Up the front Nightfire was well away after avoiding the carnage of the first corner, with Pessimist clean away but not nearly on the same pace being chased down by an eager Millen. Turn four saw a minor altercation for St8smn with a broken wing and a drive-through for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a small tap from Fredz the likely cause.
The end of the first lap had Nightfire well ahead while Millen, Pessimist and Effsea lined up for a battle for 2nd 3rd and 4th. Nobody, Fredz, Sora and Ploddy made up 5th through 8th, Oz, SoJ and Rogue needing to clear things up with the FIA and St8smn in all kinds of trouble. The 2nd lap saw even more carnage as Sora, Nobody and Fredz came together, clearing the way for Effsea behind. Two turns later and a mistake from Sora ends in a broken wing and a need to pit, forcing the sauber out of contention. After taking his first Drive-Through, Oz was quick to pick up the pieces, finding composure in his Mercedes and setting about catching his team-mate in first "...now I get on the gas, a few messy laps but I get into a rhythm." He had gained a position a lap to end up behind Effsea by lap 5. At the back of the pack SoJ was still struggling with no front wing, instead of hitting pit lane he hit a wall instead, ending the McLaren Missiles hopes of resurrecting his race "...carried on but was hard with primes and no front wing lost it coming onto the start finish straight and totalled the car".
Elsewhere on track an unsettled St8smn picked up a second drive-through by crossing the unbroken pit line after exiting from the first drive-through. With broken concentration he missed a corner and launched his car in front of a startled Nightfire already catching the back-marker "...St8sman driving crazy and destroying his car within vicinity of me. Kept me on my toes." The Ferrari driver’s race was now over as well "At this point I was frustrated and drunk and completely missed a corner flat stick and got a DSQ ....". Two DNF’s and no points for Ferrari or McLaren from Korea.
Up the front Millen takes second from Prime in slow-motion at Turn 3 after passing on the inside under DRS, allowing a bumper-to-bumper session between Effsea and Prime for 3rd place. The two go around for the next 8 laps within 1 second of each other, Pessimist in the lead more because Effsea can't make a clean overtake, the first attempt not going to plan "Completely butchered my first pass attempt - DRS pass on the inside at about 200m from the corner, locked up the brakes, accelerated a bit too hard coming out of the corner and lost the back end".
The two head into the pits together on lap 12, allowing the charging Oz to pass without issues. The Lotus team seemed to know best and put on another set of options for Effsea, while Pessimist loads primes. It's enough of a difference that Effsea comfortably takes 4th from Pessimist the next lap. The Lotus team seem over- excited by this development so try the same strategy on Ploddy "...my douchebag pit crew decided to alter my strategy and put options on for my first stop, so forcing me to an O-O-P. This will significantly screw me for the final stint".
Oz, now in third place after pitting and pushing hard to catch first taps 2nd placed Millen on the overtake, spinning the STR and earning the Mercedes a second Drive-Through "I'm running rich fuel and new tires so there is a big speed difference that I'm not fully aware of...Something about keep it clean, I f#$% up there, turn Millen around and probably cost myself the race". The drive-through puts him back in 5th. Undeterred, the Mercedes driver passes Pessimist in a close-shave, then Effsea, then Millen to claw his way back on a brilliant and aggressive second charge, and is briefly seen in first as Nightfire puts on new boots for the final third of the race. The new rubber is enough to see Nightfire take an easy lead over his teammate "...his pace after his penalty was immense and he managed to get in front of me on worn primes when I came out for 6 laps on the Options. Luckily for me my tyres were just too much for his generally faster pace and I got past him pretty easily under DRS with a few laps to spare, taking the fastest lap with me."
In the midfield Ploddy and Nobody are engaged in a battle for 6th place, Rogue is in clean air in 8th, whilst behind him Fredz and Sora are having their own stand-off "...had a decent battle with fredz. He is quite aggressive..." The last few laps for Noboddy and ploddy intensifies, with the two drivers swapping places and racing hard as the race winds up. "I started making ground on Ploddy. Was quite fun and we were neck and neck, with rogue right behind us". With a few laps to go the adrenaline gets one-up on Nobody and he slips off-track, giving 6th to Ploddy " He went in waaaaaay to hot into turn 3 and overshot, I kept the lead, but he was heaps quicker. He caught me in no time and it was an epic wrestle. He was clearly quicker but I wouldn’t let him through. This backed us up against Rogue who was flying on fresh rubber."
Nightfire crosses in first after getting Nobody, Rogue and Ploddy in view on the home straight, Oz passes the line in second after two almighty come-back drives and another double podium for Mercedes. Millen grabs the bottom-step of the podium ahead of a great race from Effsea in 4th. Pessimist is on his own in 5th. It comes down to the last lap for the remainder, when the confusion of not being lapped by Nightfire causes Noboddy to miss the break-peddle on pit straight "I completely fucked up turn 1, and pushed Ploddy off, giving rogue 2 places". Ploddy recovers in time for 7th while a dejected Nobody claims 8th. Sora takes 2 points for 9th with Fredz finishing in 10th to close off the race.
With the Yeongam drama behind us and just four events remaining, the GP2 league says farewell to two fan favourites. GP2 Champion SoJ has taken an extended leave from McLaren for personal reasons, leaving Toggsie to keep the hopes of a constructors championship alive, and Red-Bull's Nobody is hanging up the wheel for study commitments. Farewell and best of luck to both drivers – do keep in touch. With SoJ and Nobody out of the points, the down-hill run to Brazil sees the competition for places and the constructor’s title hotter than ever. Join us in India for the next exciting chapter.