The midway point for the Challenge GP race series for K1 Speed in San Diego, California is in the books, as they hosted a full group of racers on Sunday, March 20th at the Carlsbad, California location. The points chase is looking like it’s going to come down to the final event in June, as the top 10 drivers are all within striking distance of each other for the overall championship. Smooth qualifying rounds for the drivers placed well known Challenge GP participant Khalifa Alasiri on pole over local favored driver Matt Merrill by just a slight margin for the A-Main. The rest of the qualified drivers would fall right in line and qualify within a few hundredths of each other to set the fields.
B-Main race action would start off the night with Nikko Sosa on pole for the green flag rolling start. The drivers would freight down down the straight and into turn one, coming out unscathed and would head into the next section when 3rd place qualifier Krystal Wright would get loose coming out of turn 5 and drop back a couple of positions to 5th. The drivers would then start to settle in and space themselves out by the 2nd lap and that’s where some drivers found holes to make position changes and a run to the front. Krystal, who was not going to allow herself to be outdone, started to find ways to get around John Rice and Ron Andrews to put herself into a position to make a run for the lead. At the halfway point she had worked her way into second, after Marty Miller got sideways out of a corner dropping him back a few positions. Nikko Sosa who was leading for most of the race, left a spot open for Krystal to take advantage and she would get around him which moved Nikko down to second and Krystal onto an open track where she would run away from the pack for the last 4 laps. Krystal would go on to win the B-main, making her the first female to not only make a podium appearance but to take a win in a Challenge GP event for K1 Speed. Nikko would hold his position in second place and John Rice held onto third to round out the top three on the podium.
Finishing out the night were the A-Main competitors who were looking to put on a show for everyone. With Khalifa Alasriri on the pole – having only raced on this track configuration twice (the 2 qualifying rounds previously held earlier in the evening), he had a good shot at making a run for the checkered flag. At the drop of the green flag for the start, the drivers all freight-trained in usual fashion into turn one, sitting bumper to bumper off each other and not giving anyone an inch of space. Close quarters racing resulted in Khalifa getting loose out of turn 1 on the very first lap and getting pin-balled off the outside wall with a few other drivers, which dropped him back to 6th and current overall points leader Matt Merrill who qualified in second down to 7th. This gave third place qualifier Johnny Miller and fourth place qualifier Justin Tolman a chance to move into first and second and left the rest of the pack scrambling to not hit one another in the chaos. Once the group got settled and a bit more spread out, it was a race to the checkered flag with Khalifa using his skills to move up through the pack. Matt ended up only being able to make his way into 5th to finish out his night. Ahmed Alasiri was able to take his 7th place starting position and capitalize on the early race spin-outs by the front runners to move into 4th place for the evening. Khalifa eventually worked his way up behind Johnny Miller, who on the white flag lap left the door open to the inside just enough that it gave Khalifa the room he needed to get his nose to the inside and make the pass to for the lead. Khalifa would go on to win by a slight margin and Johnny could only watch as he finished out his night in second. Justin Tolman rounded out the podium with a third place finish, giving himself a solid position in the ongoing overall points chase with Matt Merrill, Johnny Miller, and Jon Simms.
This was a great race as the drivers are all looking at the run to the final race in June, and placing in the top three positions for the overall points championship. Matt Merrill is still on top but it is a close battle with a lot of racing still to be run.
If you haven’t given the Challenge GP race series a try, then you need to come out and give it a shot. With multiple K1 Speed centers all hosting their own series once a month in various locations throughout Southern California and the Southwest, anyone has a chance at being able to compete and win! Check out the race schedule on-line to see when and where the next event will be held at a K1 Speed center near you.
Click here to view the ongoing race schedule and points battle between each center