Esports News | Madpanda wins again in Fanatec Esports GT Pro | FOS Future Lab
Silver-class outfit Madpanda Motorsport has taken a second overall victory in three Fanatec Esports GT Pro races this year, as Alexey Nesov beat Pro driver Laurin Heinrich by just half a second at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps.
Heinrich was the pole-sitter for the race, setting the fastest time in the team’s 911 by just 0.012s from the Madpanda Mercedes, with the silver-class Boutsen VDS Audi of Cesar Gazeau only a couple of hundredths back in third and ahead of Nicklas Nielsen in the AF Corse Ferrari.
Nesov was able to harry Heinrich at the start, but had to cede position through Raidillon and slot back into second. Behind them, Pro class Ayhancan Guven (Dinamic) leapt up into third, taking advantage of a poor start from Nielsen. Indeed the Ferrari dropped down to sixth and soon became a rolling roadblock as the front five escaped.
That said, the front five cars weren’t exactly close to one another, with only Sandy Mitchell (K-Pax Racing) in fifth glued to the car in front. Indeed Heinrich was in danger of checking out entirely at the front, pulling a couple of seconds clear by only lap five.
Things were getting a bit bad-tempered further back; Charlie Fagg (Optimum) was able to pull ahead of fellow gold driver – and gold leader – Marius Zug (Winward), but stewards took a dim view of a move on Alberto di Folco (Boutsen VDS) into Bruxelles. The McLaren driver earned a 15-second penalty for the incident.
As we see so often in these events, the race hinged on the pit stops which were disastrous for many drivers. Mitchell picked up a drive-through penalty for speeding, while de facto gold leader Zug experienced a technical issue after his stop that dropped him well down the order. Fagg meanwhile would be disqualified after neither taking on the mandatory litre of fuel nor serving any of his penalties.
Most significant in terms of the race itself though was Heinrich, who lost six seconds in the pits through a slow stop and gifted the lead to Nesov.
That set up a thrilling chase, which saw Heinrich close the two-second gap and hang off Nesov’s rear wing for the last four laps, but he couldn’t find a way past and Nesov would take the chequered flag by half a second. Heinrich would have some comfort in being the Pro class winner, securing the full five championship points to take the lead in the category.
Gazeau would complete the podium after a late contact with Guven, but both would finish second in their respective classes. Daniele Di Amato (Dinamic) rounded out the silver podium in fifth, ahead of Nielsen taking the final pro class podium spot in sixth.
Nicolas Baert (Comtoyou) won the chaotic gold class from 23rd on the grid following the disasters that befell Fagg and Zug. Calan Williams (Team WRT) took second, with Zug’s crippled Mercedes remaining third in class as the only remaining gold car in the race.
Laurin Heinrich (Rutronik Pro – Porsche 911 GT3 R) +0.583
Cesar Gazeau (Boutsen VDS Silver – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II) +9.963
Daire McCormack wins in SRO Esports SIM PRO
It was the sim racers’ chance to show the pros how it’s done in the very same Fanatec Arena at Spa as they went into round three of the SRO Esports SIM PRO Series, and it was Daire McCormack (AMG Williams) who came away with the victory.
As he had done at Monza though, it was Tobias Gronewald (Unicorns of Love) who qualified on pole position with a lap just under five-hundredths quicker than Dominik Blajer (Williams). The first five qualifiers were all Mercedes, with Tobias Pfeffer just ahead of McCormack and Niklas Houben. That was how the early race worked out too, with the front five escaping as a pitched battle erupted behind over sixth.
Again though the race would hinge on pit stops. McCormack opted for an early stop and came out in clean air to run the undercut. Blajer, Pfeffer, and Houben practically tripped over one another as they all came in a lap later, resulting in McCormack vaulting past all three.
That left Gronewald to take a leisurely stop, but the leader made an error in the pits and came out two seconds behind McCormack. Although that gap came down towards the end, McCormack wasn’t in any danger and coasted to victory.
Gronewald’s UOL team leads the championship by nine points from the core Williams team after Blajer came home fourth. Team HRT sits third, three points further back and three points ahead of Team Mercedes-AMG Williams.
SRO Esports SIM PRO Round Three Results
Daire McCormack (AMG Williams – Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 26 laps
Tobias Gronewald (UOL – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +1.040
Tobias Pfeffer (HRT – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +2.308
Ferris Stanley takes maiden win in GT World Challenge Esports Asia
An upset in the GT World Challenge Esports Asia saw Dillan Tan absent from the podium for the first time in more than a year.
The Singaporean driver had a poor qualifying at Donington Park to start down in 14th, while Ferris Stanley and Philippa Boquida of Team BS+ lined up first and second.
They were never seriously troubled throughout the race, finishing more than eight seconds clear of third-placed Daffa Nabiel. It was Stanley’s first ever victory in the series, and it propels him to the championship lead.