WBC 2022 Report
Over three days at WBC, 30 drivers competed to qualify for the finals on day 4. Despite the lower attendance of the convention, our game saw strong attendance and we raced three tracks each day of qualifying. The final this year was a tactically tricky one, making its first appearance at WBC. There was a lot of dice rolling as good and bad luck was spent around the table, but in the end it was Tim Mossman who coasted to victory ahead of the pack and came home with his first WBC win.
We raced nine tracks over three days of qualifying. Day one saw us racing on Hockenheim (the finals track from last year), Greater Noida, and Austin. Day two was Silverstone (1997), Valencia, and Barcelona. The final qualifying heat included tracks from Sakhir, Singapore, and Mogyorod.
The Finals track this year was Indianapolis, making its debut at WBC. The track itself is four spaces wide for about a third of its length, but narrows to two lanes for some of the trickier corner combinations in the front and middle sections. The trickiest spot is probably corner 7, with separate lanes and slow corners, which makes for some very interesting decisions.
After car builds were unveiled it was discovered that no less than five people had built the same car, which meant there was going to be a lot of competition for the pole bid. Mossman came out ahead with a bid of 8.5 for pole, while Tatum, Fleckenstein, and Keller had to settle for further back. Long sneaked out a place in row three with a value bid, while DeWitt opted to sit in the last row and let his start speed push him past slower competitors.
The very first corner ended up being a strategically important one for the chase pack. Mossman went slower on the inside lane, which denied a slip to Tatum who was expecting one to carry him through the corner. Fleckenstein got the jump on the rest of the pack and finished out the corner first, leaving Tatum and Keller to hang back and stay in the corner. Long meanwhile got a slip from Fleckenstein and used it to follow the leader through the inside of the corner and jump from fifth to second place, at least temporarily.
In the very next turn, Long chose not to take a slip from Mossman, leaving Fleckenstein the option of doing it instead, which he did. That boost allowed Fleckenstein to catch up to Mossman and begin competing for the lead. Which left Long to lead the chase pack ahead of Tatum and Keller.
The real excitement in the first lap came at the corner 8/9/10 complex, however. Lined up ahead of corner 8, Mossman had the inside but not the line. Both he and Fleckenstein plotted 100 so Mossman went first, taking the outside and then heading into the next corner. Fleckensten could clear the corner, ahead of Mossman and take the lead, but he needed a forced pass roll to do it. Mossman blocked the pass and Fleckenstein missed the roll, so he was forced to slow down and lost quite a bit of tempo.
Meanwhile, in the chase pack, Keller and Tatum had the same scenario play out but it worked out better for Keller, who succeeded at his forced pass and made it through both corners, which Coyle was forced to play a little slower and take the outside line in corner 9 for free.
Back in the peloton, DeWitt, Schulz, Kennington and Polcen were sitting on larger stacks of wear, while eyeing the leaders and trying to figure out where they were going to make up the turns.
At the start of the second lap, Long and Fleckenstein were fighting for second place, or at least Long thought they were. He pushed his car hard by overplotting and then late-braking ahead of the first corner, but the dice were not with him. He broke his brakes (down to just 20 for the rest of the race) and lost some wear he needed, while Mossman looked on smiling. Fleckenstein meanwhile decided to play slow and fell back into the chase pack with Tatum and Keller, who broke his brakes a turn after Long when he found he had to slow down getting stuck behind other racers.
At the start of the third lap, it was Mossman, Long, Tatum, and Fleckenstein racing down the long straight, a few spaces apart from each other. It looked like Tatum had the resources left to overtake the lead, but then he broke his top speed (down to 120) at the end of the straight. This was okay through the slow corners but really hampered his ability in the middle and the end of the track, and would be his undoing.
Back at the front with Mossman, he had run out of resources, but who needs those when you've got dice? And the dice gods were certainly smiling on Tim today (something of a rarity). He had spent his resources very strategically and only needed one more roll at the start of corner 8 to have the race locked up. He made the roll and shouted a quick "yes!" and then watched the race unfold, knowing he had done all he could.
Long meanwhile had used his considerable wear pile to stretch his broken brakes into a plausible line around the track not once but for two full laps. And because of Tatum's top speed loss, he managed to hang onto second place. Tatum had caught up to Long, but had to let him go through corners 8/9/10 and then lost more momentum in the back end of the lap. In the last couple turns, he saw DeWitt speed by him for third. DeWitt had started in last on the track, and hung back in the peloton for most of the race, and just wasn't able to clear by enough cars to catch up to the leaders.
It was an excellent and exciting race by all participants, and quite a fun one to watch unfold. A very hearty congratulations to Tim Mossman for an excellent race and his first finals win at WBC. He held the lead from pole to finish and plotted very well to maintain it despite some serious competition.