If having the Aqirys Racing pair close to victory isn't a novelty by any means, Maria Turai joining the championship as a first female sim racer surely is.
We reached the mid-season point after a two hour contest in South Africa, where the RLR adventure in Assetto Corsa Competizione had started at the end of last year. Still aiming to recover ground after that Bathurst misfortune, Alex Cascatău and Victor Nicolae were in a position to decide the championship leader. Cascatău placed the Aqirys car on the front row of the grid and made his move for the lead on lap 2. 20 minutes later the landscape changed as early season favorites Motul eSports suffered their share of bad luck and retired, leaving the #12 pair to fight with just one other rival - a battle they would eventually lose after forceful resistance by Willi Motorsport. Still, second on the road at Kyalami meant the gap at the front is shrinking and title expectations are kept alive.
On the other side of the garage, after a string of P4s and P5s, the Textar eSports duo of Mihai Rusu and Cezar Toader had a massive fight on their hands with Nurburgring winners Walk Racing and prevailed for a maiden RLR BMW GT Challenge podium. Toader was even punted into the wall by the opponents, but recovered and kept his cool until the end of the race.
Maria Turai brought her real-life racing experience in the series with an encouraging debut at Kyalami. Coached by Alex Cascatău and Victor Nicolae, she started training at Bathurst and Laguna Seca, then felt confident enough to step onto the streamed scene for Round 5, as part of the revived WCR Junior Team, a structure that formerly hosted the debut of the current RLR Radical Sprint Cup series leader. Sebastian Apostol raced together with Maria on the #15 car, showing much promise both in qualifying trim and long runs.
The following rendez-vous will occur at the end of this week in Southern France, at the Paul Ricard Grand Prix track, for a one-hour contest.