Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup set for tight finale
Spain’s Jose Serrano put on a defensive masterclass to take his first ever victory in the Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup in a thrilling race to close out the regular season.
The race featured some classic Gran Turismo content, with the racers using the classic Group 5 Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette at the fan-favourite fictional Deep Forest Raceway, and Serrano laid down his marker by setting the fastest lap in qualifying, 0.12 seconds ahead of Japanese duo Ryota Kokubun and Kanata Kawakami. Defending world champion Valerio Gallo was only two hundredths further back. It was a poor qualifying from current points leader – and 2018 champion – Igor Fraga down in eighth.
The opening laps were cagey as the drivers looked to preserve their tyres for later in the race. Only one pass of note took place, as Angel Inostroza moved past Tomoaki Yamanaka into sixth on lap one, but the front five had started to pull clear.
With a three-second lead established in the first five laps, the leaders started to battle for the points-paying positions. Gallo made the first move, spooking Kokubun into out-braking himself into the first hairpin. Just behind that battle, Kawakami was busy fending off Kylian Drumont over fourth and allowing a second’s gap to open up ahead.
The top three, though, were having a battle of their own, running three abreast down the home straight and into the first corner. Serrano retained the lead over Gallo, while Kokobun ended up on the grass and lost out to Drumont, who subsequently took second place from Gallo at the final hairpin.
The top five soon became six. All the battling brought Inostroza back up into contention, and he’d soon find himself in fourth. Kawakami’s dive into the final hairpin nudged Kokubun and Drumont wide, allowing Inostroza up the inside. Drumont held firm, but lost out on the next lap as his front tyres were rapidly giving up the ghost.
The fight once again let Serrano and Gallo escape a second up the road, and the pair duelled for the remaining two laps. Gallo couldn’t find a way through Serrano’s defences though, and the Spanish driver took the chequered flag just ahead of the champion, with Inostroza third.
With all four races of the regular season now complete, the GT World Series has seen four different race winners – each of whom has claimed their first ever win in the competition. It also means the points table heading into the World Final is extremely tight. Fraga still leads the way on seven points, ahead of Drumont on six, Serrano and Kokubun on five, and Inostroza, Lucas Bonelli, and Gallo tied on four each.
The 12 drivers will now head into the live World Finals in Monaco on 25th-27th November, along with the best 18 online qualifiers. At the end of the grand final, the driver with the most World Series points will become the 2022 champion.
There’s a new name at the top of the championship table after races seven and eight of the British F4 Esports Championship: Luke McKeown of Apex Racing Academy.
Josh Lad (Munster Gaming) was leading the championship heading into the event at Snetterton, but only by a narrow two-point margin following McKeown’s Race Six win at Knockhill. It was the perfect time then for McKeown to score his first pole position of the season, beating Peter Berryman (Apex) by 0.022s, with Jamie Fluke (Apex) third, and Lad down in sixth.
Berryman was nearly alongside McKeown into Riches, but he ceded position to his sibling-teammate and slotted into second. Fluke was fending off Georgi Dimitrov (JHR) behind, while Lad managed to get past William Chadwick (Fordzilla) in the early exchanges.
With that over and done with, the three leading Apex cars simply held station and drove away from Dimitrov behind – building up a gap of more than seven seconds by the chequered flag, with McKeown taking a second win in a row.
The reversed-grid race saw Lad drawn into pole position, but his luck didn’t last. Heading into the Montreal hairpin for the first time, Dimitrov contacted the rear-right of Lad’s car and half-span him. Dimitrov would inherit the lead, but by the time the cars left Montreal a second time both Berryman and Fluke had overtaken.
Lad would eventually recover to fourth, but crucially finish behind McKeown yet again as Berryman took his own second win of the season.
The results mean that, with four races remaining, McKeown is the new leader by 16 points, while Apex’s academy team leads the main Apex outfit by two points in the team table as Munster slips to third.
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