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Boquida wins again in GT World Challenge Asia Esports re-run | FOS Future Lab

16th May 2022
Andrew Evans

Philippa Boquida has taken victory in the re-staged first race of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Sprint Series at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, repeating her success from the same event back in April.

The initial running of the event was marred by connection issues for the racers, who drive from locations across Asia and Oceania. It was eventually red-flagged at 80% distance with Boquida officially declared the winner, but SRO Esports decided to annul the results of the event and re-run it.

Boquida, classed as a Silver driver despite being no stranger to the sharp end of the grid across 2021, again claimed pole position. It was a pretty wide margin in sim-racing terms, from Dillan Tan, by more than 0.2s, with the top 30 drivers covered by only a second.

With Boquida’s Porsche suffering a straight-line speed deficit, it became a three-wide scrap with Tan and Fadli Rachmat into turn one. Rachmat, squeezed off the outside, dropped back to sixth, while Boquida and Tan ran door-to-door right through to turn five before the Porsche finally got ahead.

Having taken back her starting position, Boquida built a gap at the front, dragging Tan, Ar Muhammad Aleef, and Andika Rama Maulana with her – all three fighting for the Pro class honours behind the Silver class leader.

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The front pack maintained their positions until the pit window opened. As we’ve seen repeatedly across the GT World Challenge series, drivers often leave the compulsory stop – during which they must take on one litre of fuel – until the last moment, but Aleef and Maulana took a relatively early trip through the pit lane.

It didn’t work for Maulana, who got stuck behind the yet-to-pit Silver class Porsche of Ho Long Au Yeung, but Aleef’s stop was more successful. When Tan pitted a couple of laps later, Aleef was able to use the warmer tyres to claim the effective Pro class lead with a robust move into turn five.

Once released from Tan, Aleef started to build his own gap at the head of the class, although still some six seconds down on overall leader Boquida. He claimed the chequered flag in the Ferrari almost seven seconds ahead of Tan and Maulana.

However, Aleef had cut the pitlane entry, and was handed a ten-second penalty after the race, dropping him behind not only Tan and Maulana but Rachmat as well, missing out on the Pro podium entirely.

Boquida’s almost flawless race, in which she also claimed the fastest lap, meant she won by almost four seconds, but was 26 seconds clear of the next car in the Silver class, Andrew O’Hara in tenth overall. Marco Wong would take the final step of the Silver podium, finishing 11th overall.

Images courtesy of GT World Challenge Asia.

James Baldwin has one hand on the Alpine Esports Series title with a round remaining as he went unbeaten in the second of three events.

While Baldwin had a shaky start to the first round at Barcelona, he came roaring back with a lights-to-flag win in the feature race to take a slim lead in the standings. The GT World Challenge Europe champion carried that winning form through to the second round at Circuit Paul Ricard.

In a wet sprint race qualifying session, Baldwin was half a second clear of his nearest title challenger, Marko Pejic, who could only qualify in seventh, with George Boothby – third in the championship standings – even further back in ninth.

Baldwin made the best start and moved into turn one clear of Andrea Miatto, before breaking the slipstream and simply driving off into the distance. 

Luke Whitehead behind was carving through the field too, and would take second place from Miatto on the penultimate lap, while Pejic also made it past the Italian but Miatto just reclaimed third from in the sprint to the line.

Feature race qualifying, this time in the dry, went to form with Baldwin claiming pole position despite Whitehead’s late charge to line up alongside him. Pejic again was only tenth.

The race start was almost a carbon copy of the sprint, with Baldwin placing his car perfectly to keep Whitehead behind into the first turn. From there Baldwin again showed his dominance, dragging away from his countryman by a fairly steady 0.3 seconds per lap to claim another grand slam race win.

With Boothby able to snatch fourth from Miatto on the final lap, and Pejic coming home eighth, Baldwin now holds a 26-point lead over Whitehead going into the final round at a fan-voted track.

Monica Boulton Ramos and Deagen Fairclough won the live Rokit Racing Star finals at the University of Bolton, each winning a seat in the British F4 Championship in 2023.

Both drivers won both of their races in the grand final, in the girls’ and boys’ events respectively, to claim their prizes, which will include personal fitness and driver training from Motorsport UK ahead of their racing debuts next season.

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