V8 Touring Car driver Harley Haber is the red hot title favourite for the inaugural carsales ARG eSport Cup after a win and a second at Imola last night.
Haber extended his series lead with two great drives with victory in the Audi touring car (Race 1) and second place in the Dallara F3 car (Race 2), and heads into the final, double points, two-driver race at the world-famous Mount Panorama next Thursday with a 37 point series lead.
Velocity Magazine caught up with Harley after last nights racing to give us his impression from the event, “Last night we went into the round with one goal in mind, to extend the championship lead. Having two races at full points and one in each car proved to be a hard task to win, and an easy task to lose.”
“Nabbing pole in the TCR came as bit of a surprise, the track was a little slower then it was in practice and when I completed my lap I wasn’t expecting it to be good enough, although thankful it was! I got a good start, however coming into the first complex of corners it was apparent Ash Sutton was keen to make a move and recover his championship campaign, I was forced wide and off the road, however still keeping an advantage I rounded him up quickly at the next corner and pressed on to build a healthy lead and the race win.”
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We asked Harley for the scoop on his co-driver for the final round, “Fawzan El-Nabi will be my co-driver” he confimed. El-Nabi is one of the top online racers at present and was most recently seen racing in the Supercars eSeries where he took a Pole at Phillip Island and a second place.
Haber was unstoppable in the TCR race, converting pole position into a comfortable race win.
There was some light pressure from the likes of S5000 star James Golding, wildcard racer Cody Burcher, BTCC driver Ash Sutton and Kiwi Jaden Ransley in the early stages, but once out of the tow, the points leader was able to gap the field. His winning margin a handy six seconds by the finish.
“The tow is quite powerful around here, there’s a few decent straights where you can get a bit of a gain,” said Haber.
“So even if you pull away in the corners, within two seconds you’ll get a tow and it bought the boys closer and closer. But it was good to break that gap at the end and after that I was just driving away.”
Lastly we asked him for his preference from the F3 or the TCR Audi, “Preference is hard between the F3 and TCR both very different cars to drive. The F3 is definitely easier to learn and be fast in, where as the TCR is harder to piece together a perfect lap. I feel like it rewards you more for nailing a lap “
The battle for second was much closer, despite Burcher running wide and dropping outside the Top 10 after a handful of laps.
That still left Golding, Sutton and Ransley locked in battle, second position only decided on the penultimate lap when Golding copped a slow-down and Sutton was able to charge on through.
Golding held on to third ahead of Ransley.
A move to Formula 3 hardware for the second race produced a thriller between Sutton and Burcher.
The pair were inseparable for the first half of the race, the lead changing hands a number of times.
However they got a little too close for comfort heading into Tamburello mid-way through the race, contact leaving Burcher with enough damage to take him out of the running.
Sutton, who won by eight second, conceded the connection was an issue, but that over the course of the campaign it had done him more harm than good.
FURTHER READING: ARG CONFIRMS REVISED CALENDAR FOR TCR S5000 & MORE
“Unfortunately [it was] a bit of netcode,” he said.
“Netcode seems to be the devil for me, it seems to have ruined this championship campaign and you just saw a prime example of it. It’s a real shame because it was a good battle to that point.
“But to break the F3 curse is nice. It’s just a little bit too late in the championship, the damage has already been done.”
Haber came home second, while TCR Australia driver Jordan Cox finished a distant third, consolidating his top five place in the series.
TOP 10 Series points after Round 9
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