Williams Esports become fifth different winner at 6H Barcelona
With five out of six races complete, the 2021/22 24H SERIES ESPORTS powered by VCO season is entering the finishing straight. The 6H Barcelona – the penultimate event of the season ahead of the double points final at Spa-Francorchamps – was won by the Williams Esports team in their BMW M4 GT3 who became the fifth winner in as many races this season. In a gripping duel, local Spanish ace Daniel Lafuente and birthday boy Sota Muto prevailed over the Spanish MSi eSports outfit with by a final margin of just 0.7 seconds. In a double for the Williams Esports team their #905 entry in the 992 class also secured victory, for the third race in succession. In the GT4 and TCR classes the championship leaders won: Team75 Bernhard by SimRC and CoRe SimRacing celebrated their fourth class win each from five races so far.
In the GT3 class, Lafuente and Muto started from third on the grid and took the lead for the first time after the first round of pit stops, and defended their lead as the race progressed, despite immense pressure from the all-Spanish MSi eSports duo of Dani Elgarbay and Cristian Lamela. Over the course of the race the two BMWs would open up a gap of 12 seconds to third place finishers Biela Racing Team EURONICS. The Lamborghini could have challenged for victory, if it had not found itself tangling with the BS+ COMPETITION BMW twice in the T5 hairpin. Both cars would collect penalties for the incidents which saw them drop out of contention. The second Biela Racing Team EURONICS Lamborghini also came unstuck as an early battle with the MSi eSports BMW ended when Sven Haase crashed and hit the wall in T1.
Alessandro Bico and Moreno Sirica cpntinued their winning streak in the 992 class, making it an outstanding Sunday’s work for Williams Esports. Bico and Sirica lead from pole and only relinquished the lead during pit stop cycles. They crossed the finish line 8.6 seconds ahead of CoRe SimRacing and around 25 seconds ahead of Logitech G Altus Esports. In a similar story to the Biela Lamborgini, both the Core and Altus teams could have challenged the Williams team for victory were it not for a total of 40 seconds worth of penalties collected between the two cars. In fourth place, Aurys Racing Mrw scored their best result of the season so far in their home race.
In the GT4 class, Jürgen Frank and Hayden Berns in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Team75 Bernhard by SimRC were the team to beat once again. Puresims Esports continued their form from Monza and applied massive pressure to the German outfit for almost half the race, but a pit stop mishap saw Matthew Turnbull collect an automatic stop/go penalty which meant they had to settle for second place. Undercut Racing Team came home in third place, collecting their fourth podium of the season.
Kieran Harrison and Corentin Guinez of CoRe SimRacing in their white and orange Audi RS 3 LMS won for the fourth time this season. The early parts of the race saw plenty of position swapping between themselves and the MSi eSports and Team Heusinkveld teams. But eventually a familiar sight established itself as the CoRe TCR drove off into the distance. The MSi and Heusinkveld TCRs continued their battle for the lower podium placings, and would come across the line separated by mere tenths of a second. The Spanish team lead the German team across the line to score two second places at their home race.
The season finale, the 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, will be held on May 1st. The race is worth double points, which means multiple cars are still in contention for the title in each class!
Reactions of the winners:
Daniel Lafuente (Williams Esports, overall winner): “It was a very hard-fought win. I’m speechless and soaked in sweat. After the final pit stop, when we only changed two tyres, I had a lead of around two seconds over MSI eSports. They applied an incredible amount of pressure – hats off to their performance. It went down to the final turn, where I gave 100% to make sure there was no room to overtake. Huge thanks to the team. We had a great set-up and a fantastic strategy.”
Moreno Sirica (Williams Esports, 992 class winner): “I’m delighted with this win. Alessandro did an amazing job in the opening phase and got us into the position I needed. After those behind us were awarded penalties, I was able to bring the win home safely. If CoRe SimRacing hadn’t been penalised, we would have had as close a finish in our class as they did in the GT3 class.”
Jürgen Frank (Team75 Bernhard by SimRC, GT4 class winner): “It was a great race for us. The fact that all the starters in the GT4 class chose to race in the Porsche Cayman this time made things less complicated because there was no need for BoP. In terms of strategy, we saw a few different approaches. It seems that we opted for the right one, otherwise we wouldn’t have won. Puresims Esports were very fast, but then they made a mistake and were penalised for it.”
Kieran Harrison (CoRe SimRacing, TCR class winner): “The first stint was primarily about slipstream for us, but then our fuel management allowed us to pull away gradually. Traffic was a huge factor in the final sector. The GT3 cars didn’t want to line up behind us in the final chicane and were really aggressive. We had to be careful. But it all worked out really well in the end.”
TFRLAB provides a Laptime Summary of each of the 24H SERIES ESPORTS powered by VCO races. If you want to have a closer look at the data from the races so far this season, check out their Summaries here: TFRLAB | Laptime Summaries
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And what about the championship standings? You can find those here: Standings