It's a cold, crisp morning in mid-January - It's time for the 2022 ROAR Before The 24!

Usually a session would go live half an hour before the race session - but given the mass popularity of special events, iRacing puts the session live 1 hour before the race-start.

After a last little bit of practice, the session opened and Open Practice for the ROAR Before the 24 began.

As per always, I wasn't troubling the top 10 - even in the Official Practice session before qualifying (30 minutes) I was down in 19th.

And then qualifying came.

On my first flying lap, I did a 1:55.613, which immediately put me on the first row in 2nd position. After the first lap, the top 5 looked as follows:

1st - Kyle S. Merkle - 01:54.992

2nd - Robin Truswell - 01:55.613

3rd - Michael Bridges - 01:55.799

4th - Henry Miller - 01:55.869

5th - Christopher Courtney 01:55.806

Kyle would retain his pole position, however I'd be shuffled down to 5th place.

Michael Bridges would then steal pole from Kyle with a 1:54.951 Kyle's fastest remained a 1:54.992

From 5th place, Christopher Courtney powered in a 1:55:099

Rob Hamp would appear out of nowhere with a 1:55.139

And I'd still get a VERY decent P5 in qualifying.

In fact, the P5 sits in my Top 10 best (Official) Qualifying results, and as I've only done

So far the list looks like 1st - Pole - F3 @ Monza

1st - Pole - F3 @ Interlagos

2nd - 2nd - Skippies @ Spa

3rd - 3rd - GT3 Chall' @ Red Bull Ring (Finished 3rd)

3rd - 3rd - Skippies Circuit Gilles Villnerve

4th - 4th - Ferrari GT3 Challenge @ Bathurst

5th - 5th - ROAR Before The 24 2022

(Currently I've started 5th 6 times in my career!)

(Left out endurance races because I didn't qualify)

Anyway, onto the race!

Off the line, I was on the 3rd row, on the inside, which is the ideal place to be - as you get a bit of tow on the two guys ahead, and you have no-one on your inside that you have to worry about getting shafted by.

With the to of the two BMW's ahead, I quite easily slot into 4th place, before getting third as the McLaren on the outside has to wait for a gap in the traffic before slotting in behind me.

Truswell hopped into the Top 3 pretty quickly

Devastatingly, the Pole-man then briefly forgets that his tyres are cold and runs deep before spinning out - this puts me into P2.

All the while, the McLaren in 3rd is sucking up all my slipstream - and before long, after the chicane, powers past me to take back 2nd place. (where he qualified).

4th place joins in on this battle - and so, a legendary 3-way battle commences.

On lap 8, I'd run a little deep into turn one - the previous time I did this (on lap 6) I lost 2nd place and couldn't regain it. Lap 8 saw exactly the same happen with 3rd.

Only two laps later, on Lap 11 - I make another mistake, running deep at yet another corner in the infield section - P5 passes me and I stay here for the next 12 Laps, lapping my first car on Lap 17.

On Lap 21, the leader would pit - with over an hour still to go in the race, it was likely he'd have to splash and dash to the end. (The time being 1:30pm - the race starting at 12:48 and ending at 3:12pm)

Whilst the leader pitted, I kept on going and kept it clean - my only incident point up to the my pit-stop being an off-track on Lap 2.

Emerging from the pits - I kept doing as I did - keeping it clean, consistent and the gap to P5 consistent. P2 boxed on the same lap as I did.

With the pit-stop cycle complete, I emerged in 5th place - The top 5 were:

1st - Christopher Courtney (Boxed Lap 22)

2nd - Kyle Merkle (1/3 I was fighting very early on) - Boxed on same lap as me

3rd - Rob Hamp (2/3 I was fighting very early on)

4th - Pole man, making recovery after spin.

5th - Myself

After my pitstop on Lap 32, I continued for a further 7 laps without incident or drama...that was until I ran wide at the chicane...

At the time, I thought that all I gained from it was an off-track...but listening closely, I could hear a scraping noise - Tom being on voice-chat, I didn't know if this was his microphone quality or something happening in the back-ground or another interference...It was indeed an "other" interference.

Usually I'd manage to get into Gear 6 by the time the banking slowly begins to straighten out - but on Lap 40, just after my off-track excursion - I was only shifting up pretty much as the circuit levelled on onto the straight - on top of this, the two McLaren's behind me - a lapped car and P6 made very easy work of passing me.

Lap 43 and P7 and P8 also came past me - I knew something was seriously up - all Tom could guess was a broken splitter.