LP Racing’s Lorenzo Marcucci gave Audi its first SRO E-Sport GT Series victory as he won the second race of the series at Spa by a comfortable 15-second margin.
Starting on pole position, the R8 LMS driver pulled clear of fellow front-row starter Ivan Pareras in the Phoenix Racing Audi and disappeared into the distance. He monstered the first lap to pull out a second advantage over Pareras and Nicolas Hillebrand in the Ferrari 488 GT3 who was duelling closely with the Spaniard.
Marcucci’s lead grew as the squabbles started forming behind, with the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series regular focusing on managing the tyres and running clean laps to pull clear of the pack. That was helped by a number of off-camera incidents that shook up the top ten with Hillebrand slipping to ninth and Luigi Di Lorenzo – in the Modena Kart ASD Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – climbing from eighth to third in just a handful of laps.
Despite Di Lorenzo displaying great speed to climb up to third with 50 minutes of the one-hour race to go, the podium positions remained static as Marcucci continued to pull clear and Pareras built up a small margin over the Aston driver in a race that benefitted the Audis.
Instead, the battle was for the first position off the podium as Matteo Cairoli in the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3.R found himself under pressure from fellow Porsche driver Louis Deletraz and the Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini of Albert Costa for fourth place.
After rebuffing the challenge of Deletraz, Cairoli found himself under pressure from Costa – who passed Deletraz at Les Combes. The pair were nose-to-tail for a number of laps until Costa tried an ill-judged lunge up the inside of the Italian on the run into La Source with 20 minutes to go. Costa span the Italian out of fourth and took the position for himself, but was slapped with a drive-through for the contact while Cairoli was forced into the pits. The latter failed to finish, while Costa took the flag in 18th.
The winner in all that was Deletraz who inherited fourth place and held onto it until the end in a comfortable run to the flag for the GPX Racing driver.
Also benefitting was Luca Ghiotto in the R-Motorsport Aston Martin with the Formula 2 racer taking advantage of his rivals faltering to move from his starting position outside the top 2o all the way to fifth at the flag, having created a handy gap over Leipert Motorsports’ Dan Wells – the Lamborghini driver yo-yoing through the order during the course of the race.
Seventh went to Scott Malvern in the Team Parker Racing Bentley in what was a tougher weekend for the British brand. Malvern’s late pass on Walkenhorst BMW driver Jody Fannin for seventh was a bright spot for Bentley after Silverstone winner Jordan Pepper was forced to retire after being being involved in a crash with Bryan Heitkotter, who span in his Nissan GT-R at Blanchimont.
Malvern crossed the line in ninth but penalties for McLaren 720S driver Ben Tusting and David Fumanelli in the factory-backed Ferrari 488 promoted the 2019 Silverstone 500 class winner up to seventh. Eighth went to Fannin with Seb Morris ninth – having lost a few places early on having outbraked himself going into the Bus Stop.
Ezequiel Perez Companc finished as the top Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver in 10th, having followed the Ghiotto method of gaining places through calm and steady driving. Tusting took 11th in the first of the McLarens – after early damage took out 720S front-runner Ben Barnicoat after he was caught out alongside Pepper by Heitkotter’s across track spin.
The third round of the SRO E-Sport GT Series takes place next weekend (17 May) with the field heading east to the Nürburgring.
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