France and Australia shared the spoils in GT races of the second edition of the FIA Motorsports Games held at Circuit Paul Ricard. Eric Debard and Simon Gachet took the win in the GT Cup while Matt Campbell brought home the gold in the GT Sprint race.
RACE 1 (GT CUP)
Team France took victory and the gold medal in the main GT race at the FIA Motorsport Games with Eric Debard and Simon Gachet leading from start to finish in the #81 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3. A strong run from Fabian Schiller in the Team Germany #20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 car looked like he might steal the win from France but a late safety car ended that effort.
At the start Simon Gachet took the lead for the #81 France car getting into the first corner ahead of Valentin Pierburg in the #20 Team Germany car and quickly started to build an unassailable lead. After the first few laps he’d pulled a 5 second gap leaving Pierburg in the fighting off the attentions of Bruno Baptista in the Team Brazil #44 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Ukraine made also made gains in the #48 ProSport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Ivan Peklin quickly climbing through the field to P3 early in the race. Having gained 3 places from the start Peklin was soon pushing the two cars ahead. Baptista was struggling to get past a fiesty Pierburg and possibly wasn’t aware of Peklin creeping up on him. Peklin took the first opportunity that came to him and dived past Baptista into the first corner.
Peklin took his next chance at the chicane and despite running off the track on the exit of the corner, was able to take second place from Pierburg. Baptista also saw his opportunity and powered past Pierburg and with what seemed like a coup de grace to the German car, the #68 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Evan Chen racing for Chinese Taipei drove around the outside of Pierburg at Signes dumping the German from second to fifth in the space of two corners.
Chen proved that his pace wasn’t just down to the three in front squabbling and was soon past Baptista and harrying Peklin ahead of him before soon taking the p2 from the Ukrainian. Things got worse for the hard charging Peklin who was turned around at the chicane following a late lunge by Baptista. Fortunes continued to decline for Ukraine after their pitstop was found to be a little over 2 seconds too short which picked them up a drive through penalty which saw Peklin’s co-driver Sokolovskiy drop to the back of the field.
Team Spain with drivers Fernando Navarrete Rodrigo and Gonzalo de Andrés Martin driving the #19 Motorsport Team Spain ES Mercedes-AMG GT3 picked up two seperate penalties in the first stint,first for abusing track limits and then for contact with Marcin Jedlinski in the #777 Team Poland Olimp Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 which spun the Pole around and dumped him down to P12. Following the pitstops Karol Basz took over in the team Poland car and started to scythe his way back up field, first picking off the Ukrainian car before catching a pack made up of Brazil, Puerto Rico Switzerland and Chinese Taipei.
A move from Victor Manuel Gomez Donato IV in the #51 Team Puerto Rico AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 caused chaos within the pack which saw Gomez jump two places followed by Basz who saw his opportunity as the cars infront got in each others way and opened up the road for the Pole. Moments later he was up to P4 after Gomez span out at turn 4 and undid his hard work dropping back down to P7.
Behind the leading pack, recently crowned British GT champion, Ian Loggie driving the #93 RAM Racing Team UK Mercedes-AMG GT3 found himself dropping down the field from the start and was circulating some 20 second behind the leading team France car. Loggie was then another who picked up a 5 second penalty for track limit abuses.
At the pit stops Germany was first to pit with Pierburg handing over to Fabian Schiller. He was closely followed by Ian Loggie who handed over to team mate Sam Neary who himself was deputising for Chris Froggatt who had pulled out at the last minute. After completing his 5 second penalty and following all the pitstops and various penalties had shook out Neary found himself in P3 behind Schiller in the Germany car.
Gachet in the team France car was one of the last to pit handing over to Eric Debard and completing some running repairs to the Mercedes after Gachet had clipped a marker board at Signes after running wide avoiding a back marker.
With less than 5 minutes remaining Chinese Hong Kong collided with Chinese Taipei at turn 3 which saw Taipei loose a wheel and be left stranded in the run off area. A safety car was called which effectively ended the race giving the win to France. Despite Fabian Schillers efforts to speed up Debard to catch up the safety car. Neary took P3 in the team Britain car with Karol Basz following him in P4. Switzerland took P5 with Puerto Rico recovering to P6.
RACE 2 (GT SPRINT)
Australia won the GT Sprint race of FIA Motorsport Games on Sunday. Matt Campbell had a perfect start in the Porsche 911 GT3R and dominated from start to finish bringing Australia its only gold medal.
Mirko Bortolotti, aboard the Italian Lamborghini Huracán GT3 run by Grasser Racing Team, tried everything to get closer to the leading Porsche, but missed out by 1.6 seconds at the chequered flag. Team Belgium, which started from pole with the Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Dries Vanthoor, took the bronze medal and the fastest lap of the race.
Almost 20 seconds behind Australia, the German car driven by Luca Stolz finished fourth. After a brilliant start, Turkey was up to second place at the end of the first lap. Ayhancan Güven and his Porsche, however, dropped in the standings to finish in fifth place, ahead of the Brazilian Mercedes-AMG driven by Bruno Baptista.
For GT Cup winner France it was a disappointing race that ended in eighth place after a collision between the Mercedes-AMG of Tristan Vautier and the Moroccan McLaren 720S GT3 of Michael Benyahia on the penultimate lap.
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