David Ronnefalk had plenty of momentum heading into Sunday, having delivered his first win of the season in Round 7.
Sunday at Thunder Alley saw the conclusion of the 2019 RCGP World Series, as Round 8 took place on the demanding Californian circuit.
The previous round on Saturday had produced a new winner, as David Ronnefalk became the first driver other than Davide Ongaro to take an overall victory, cruising his way to comfortable wins in both 24-lap encounters. However, with teammate Cole Ogden putting himself firmly into contention for a win, as well as the continued pressure from rivals Davide Ongaro and Juan Carlos Canas, Sunday was set up to be a closely fought affair.
Q1 saw David Ronnefalk continue his winning form, taking the round by just 0.606 over Davide Ongaro in a tight and tense opening race. A somewhat chaotic start would see Ongaro work his way to the lead, with Ronnefalk moving past Kyle McBride on the opening lap to take second place. A mistake from the Swede on lap eight would widen the gap to the front, but a determined drive in the following laps would allow him to capitalise on a late off-track excursion for Ongaro, moving to the lead and taking the win. BeachRC Wildcard Ryan Lutz would take third, ahead of Kyle McBride, Ryan Cavalieri and Juan Carlos Canas.
The second round of qualifying saw more first corner scuffles, with Juan Carlos Canas moving to the lead early on, followed by Ongaro – however, it wouldn’t be long before the Italian moved to the lead, with Canas dropping back after a slight error. Cole Ogden would take second at the line, exactly two seconds back, with McBride in third. Canas would end up fourth, ahead of Lutz in fifth and Ronnefalk in sixth. Q3 was a more dramatic affair, as David Ronnefalk took the early lead with Ongaro and Canas close behind, with a thrilling three-way race in prospect. However, this wasn’t to last, as Ronnefalk flamed out on lap two, dropping him back a number of laps and allowing Ongaro to inherit the lead. Cole Ogden made an early move on Canas for second, making a push for the lead in the process, before a roll on the penultimate lap reversed the positions. Ongaro would take the win, with Canas in second, ahead of Ogden, Lutz, Cavalieri and McBride.
Cool, calm and collected, Ongaro made the most of his opportunities in qualifying.
The fourth and final round of qualifying kicked off with Infinity’s Lee Martin taking the early lead, but a decisive move from Ronnefalk would quickly move him to the front of the field, with teammate Ogden following him through shortly after. The order at the front would remain unchanged to the finish, with Ronnefalk stretching out a 4.5 second gap over Ogden. SWORKz International driver Juan Carlos Canas would take third, ahead of the Infinity pairing of McBride and Martin, with Cavalieri in sixth. The overall qualifying results after four rounds saw Davide Ongaro sitting comfortably on top on 10 points, with Cole Ogden in second, tied on 15 points with Juan Carlos Canas, who sat third. Kyle McBride was fourth, ahead of David Ronnefalk in fifth; his Q3 mechanical woes taking him out of contention for the top spot. Ryan Lutz was sixth, ahead of Ryan Cavalieri, Lee Martin, Joseph Quagraine and Evan Vail.
The final 60-minute spectacular got underway with Ronnefalk launching himself into the lead, with McBride slotting in behind – top qualifier Ongaro would be less fortunate, as contact off the line and a scrappy opening lap would put him to the tail of the field. A mistake on lap four from Ronnefalk would move McBride to the front, as Canas resisted pressure from Ogden to hold onto third. As the race developed, Ongaro began to work his way back into contention, edging his way up into the podium spots – meanwhile, Ronnefalk was able to move himself to the lead once more.
As the race strategies started to play out, and the race settled into a rhythm, Ronnefalk’s lead continued to extend, gapping second placed Ongaro by a vast thirty seconds in the latter stages. As the final stops commenced, a win for Ronnefalk was virtually guaranteed – but yet again, drama struck, as a receiver failure cruelly robbed the Swede of a dominant victory. Ongaro would be in a prime position to take advantage, inheriting the lead and ultimately taking the win, adding yet another victory to his remarkable season tally. Eleven seconds behind would be McBride, taking second, with Canas rounding out the podium. Cole Ogden would take fourth, with Lutz in fifth, Cavalieri sixth, Vail seventh, Quagraine eighth, Hofer ninth and the unfortunate Ronnefalk in tenth.
Capitalising on Ronnefalk’s misfortune, Ongaro took his seventh win of the season, with Kyle McBride and Juan Carlos Canas completing the podium.
Ronnefalk’s misfortune had implications for the Drivers’ Championship, as Juan Carlos Canas secured second place in the standings, seven points ahead of Ronnefalk in third. Kyle McBride remained in fourth, with a strong weekend for Cole Ogden securing him fifth overall. Davide Ongaro’s win helped to cement a comfortable victory in the Teams’ Championship for Scuderia Scampi Rossi – CommSportMx, whilst a consistent weekend saw SWORKz International secure second, just nine points clear of HB Racing – Performa Racing in third.