This is the second post in the series of basic racing rules.
Meele, as wikipedia says; generally refers to disorganized close combat in naval or armor battles fought at abnormally close range with little central control once it starts.
I can’t find anything more accurate than this to define what happens in road racing in iRacing top splits every weekend.
In the first approach of this series I talked about starts and how to try to survive that moment. Now its time to figure out what happens from lap 2 and later.
If you are lucky enough to survive lap 1 then you are lucky enough to show how tough have you worked in your pace and consistency during the week. In this stage of the race you have to show at least these attributes:
You are probably in the middle of the group, driving above your qualifying times and 0.5-1 second behind a car/cars and 0.3-0.8 ahead of several pursuers. Its an awkward situation prone to conflict. You have to bear in mind that most of these fellow racers are going to finish this race in the next 5 to 10 laps. They are going to fail on their consistency or crashing an overtaking attempt. Always happen, even with the most experienced drivers and you must be ready to take advantage of this casualties. So, please, be safe, and be fast to get a comfortable distance with your followers.
Before I mentioned a 0.5-1 sec gap with the immediate car ahead. If your pace isn’t enough to overtake, keep this gap. Its a minimum to avoid a probably crash that could end your race. Pay attention to the spotter and check smoke ahead on the track.
Its more complicated to maintain a 0.5 gap with the following cars. You must keep a higher pace or try to defend your position if you feel that this fellow racer is racing your lap times. Sometimes its better to be smart and lift to let them pass when their pace is higher.
I am going to consider you are good enough to drive in the middle of the pack at least 3 laps with no major changes in these gaps. Your rivals are close enough to try to overtake you and you pushed to the next car to do the same. If you have some time to think about it, please chose a safe spot to try the overtake. Always there are at least 2 spots on every track with safer options. Be patient and prepare your race line to speed up on that straight or corner. You could change your line if you consider you have knowledge of the track to do this safely. On the other hand, you could press to your rival and wait for a mistake. Every slower car you can put between you and pursuers is an step to a solid and comfy race.
On the contrary, if you cannot hold a faster car, you have to choose an adequate spot where the time to lose is minimum. Slow corners should be fine but keep an eye in the next car to recover race line as soon as the faster car has gone. Some people try to pass and force to maintain the door open, its better to check with relatives how far are the next cars to avoid this.
There is no magical advice, every race is different and only time and practice can help to learn how to handle these situations.
Don’t be rash and keep your head cool.