Drago Racing and Ferrari victorious on 24H SERIES ESPORTS debut in 6H SPA
Drago Racing showed the grid what they are capable of – which turns out is quite a lot – with an impressive run to victory in the season-opening 6H SPA. Ricardo Rico and Manuel Troncoso pushed their Ferrari 296 GT3 to its limits to fend off Simufy eSports’ Tristan Iglesias and Gabi Montoro after a race-long battle to give the new Ferrari and the new Polish team a well-deserved victory at first time of asking.
It was actually the Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team URANO who crossed the line in second place just 4 seconds behind the winning Ferrari, but Luca Kita collected a 5 second penalty late in the race which dropped them to fourth place, behind not only the Simufy team who inherit second place but also the Maniti Racing Porsche to drop off the podium. Tim Matzke pushed Luca Kita all the way to the finish for that 5 second gap, and eventually crossed the line 4.5 seconds after the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to take the third step on the podium.
In 992 there were different leaders at different times during the race, but ultimately it was Altus Esports with Jordan Caruso and Oscar Mangan who showed once again that they know what they are doing when it comes to the Porsche Cup car. Caruso – reigning Porsche Esports Supercup champion – put in a strong opening stint to pull away from the field, and while diverging strategies meant that others also got their time at the front of the field, the Australian team cashed in on that opening stint to take the victory after six hours of racing.
Another Maniti Porsche, this time driven by Maxime Mariotte and Niklas Last, took another podium for the green team by finishing in second place. Last was able to keep Mangan honest in the final stint, coming across the line just 11 seconds behind. Only a further 6 seconds behind it was Raphael Rennhofer in the SCHERER eSPORT entry taking the flag, one of the teams who had led the race at stages as the strategies were playing out.
In the GT4 class it was a sight that we have seen plenty of times before: a yellow and black SimRC Aston Martin taking the victory. Kerim Havuz and Adam Isaksson picked up where their team mates left off last season and add another trophy to the virtual cabinet for the German team. An honourable mention in the GT4 class must go to the Zero7 Racing team, who lead the race for a significant portion of the race and had built a 20 second lead, only for technical issues to put a stop to what would have been a well-deserved victory.
A pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4s completed the podium, with Sabelt Esports and Impulse Racing in second and third place respectively, in what was another close finish after 6 hours. Gianluca De Matteo took the flag just 3 seconds behind the SimRC Aston Martin of Adam Isaksson, with Sven Groot only a further 4 seconds back. So after 6 hours of racing, the top three were covered by just 7 seconds! GT4 will be a class to watch this season…
In TCR, Impulse Racing were more successful than their GT4 teammates, with Marcel Jochheim and Martijn Asschert taking victory after being challenged by a varying cast of teams. Featured most heavily at the front of the field was the YouRaceBR W2 e-PRO GP Honda Civic, which at times looked like it was going to run away with the win. But a miscommunication with a passing 992 Cup car cost the Brazilian team valuable time, and ultimately they came home in fourth place.
This left the podium up for grabs for Team Heusinkveld in their Hyundai Veloster, and RD Simsport who made it 2 out of three for Honda on the podium alongside Impulse’s example of the Civic Type R. The day got off to a difficult start for the TCR class, as into the La Source hairpin two GT4 cars had crashed, leaving the TCRs nowhere to go. The front row cars of Entropiq x PFBR and Obsidian Racing were taken out of contention on the spot, with both teams being left to wonder what could have been.
The 6H SPA is the first race of the season, so it stands to reason that the championship standings after the race match the race results one-to-one:
- #69 Drago Racing, 20 pts
- #14 Simufy eSports, 18 pts
- #78 Maniti Racing, 16 pts
- #90 Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Urano, 14 pts
- #16 Puresims Esports, 12 pts
- #943 Altus Esports, 20 pts
- #978 Maniti Racing, 18 pts
- #905 SCHERER eSPORT, 16 pts
- #914 Simufy eSports, 14 pts
- #977 Valkyrie Exype / Bonduel Racing, 12 pts
- #476 SimRC, 20 pts
- #491 Sabelt ESPORTS, 18 pts
- #457 Impulse Racing, 16 pts
- #486 WAVE ITALY Racing Team, 14 pts
- #427 Geekz Energy x Fiercely Forward, 12 pts
- #122 Impulse Racing, 20 pts
- #148 Team Heusinkveld, 18 pts
- #158 RD Simsport, 16 pts
- #137 YouRaceBR W2 e-ProGP, 14 pts
- #160 CARLAR esports, 12 pts
Next up for the 24H SERIES ESPORTS teams is a return to Florida for the 6H SEBRING, on 19 November.
Catch back up with the full race with our race replay provided by Racespot here.
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