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Esports News | Max Verstappen disqualified from Esports event

18th July 2023
Andrew Evans

Unicorns of Love claimed victory at the 2023 24 Hours of Spa, the team's first win this year as the Mercedes outfit finally got its Intercontinental GT Challenge season going – in a podium lockout for the brand.

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Pole position went to the sibling Mercedes of the Williams team of Dominik Blajer, Daire McCormack, and Dennis Schoniger, with the UOL car driven by Tobias Gronewald, Tobias Pfeffer, Bastian Richter, and Michael Tausche lining up second in a tight field that saw five different marques in the top ten. However the lone Pro category McLaren of defending champion and points leader Veloce was not among them, languishing down in the bottom half of the order and facing a long 24 hours.

The two Mercedes led the way ahead of the Team HRT machine in third. They were joined by the other Williams team, driving the Audi R8, and same car under the Wipperman Racing outfit, as well as the works Ferrari entry.

Early rain showers didn’t shake the order up at the front, but as night fell it became clear that Mercedes had both the pace and the strategy advantage as the UOL team hit the front and began to pull away from the Williams car behind. The HRT meanwhile was the fastest car on track. Crucially for the championship, the pit-stop schedule for the Williams Mercedes meant team were leading at the halfway point, picking up 35 points for doing so.

Dawn broke soon after, and it was all about the UOL drivers as they stretched their lead out to well over a minute; in fact at one point they were up by a lap on the second-placed Williams car, due to the long pit lane at Spa’s 24-hour layout.

After a faultless two trips around the clock, it was Pfeffer who saw the chequered flag first to claim victory by over 80 seconds from McCormack, with Niklas Houben bringing the third Mercedes across the line in third, a lap down.

The Williams Mercedes team will take some comfort from the fact it now leads the championship by some 15 points from the Unicorns of Love, while Team HRT leaps up into third overall with two rounds remaining.

The silver class went, in no less dominant fashion, to Racing Point, which also takes over the championship lead as Rennwelten Red caught a five-second penalty on the final lap to drop them out of the podium spots. GetCloserRacing finished a distant second, more then a lap further back, with FFS Racing rounding out the class podium.

Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Round 3 Results

  1. Unicorns of Love (Gronewald, Pfeffer, Richter, Tausche – Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 608 laps
  2. Mercedes Team Williams (Blajer, McCormack, Schoniger – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +81.822
  3. Mercedes Team HRT (Houben, Kisser, Klinkmuller, Otocki – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +1 lap

Tan wins again in GT World Challenge Asia Esports

Dillan Tan returned to winning ways in the GT World Challenge Asia Esports, taking victory at Bathurst to regain the championship lead after three rounds.

After what seems to have been his annual “blip” last time out at Donington, Tan – who won four races from five last season – took pole position ahead of Fadhli Rachmat, while the Donington winner Ferris Stanley could only place ninth.

Tan put in a typical performance, comfortably drawing away from the chasing pack behind him to win by nearly ten seconds. Rachmat was in touch early on, along with Tan’s team-mate Andika Rama Maulana who’d jumped past Naquib Azlan as the McLaren driver went wide at Quarry on lap one – but who had Philippa Boquida for company.

She would go for an early stop, as served her well at Imola, but it wasn’t enough to get her past Maulana, and a late-race penalty for contact with Azlan would knock her down to fifth.

GT World Challenge Asia Esports Round 3 Results

  1. Dillan Tan (Legion of Racers – Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 30 laps
  2. Fadhli Rachmat (Tarmac Works – Honda NSX GT3 Evo) +9.776
  3. Andika Rama Maulana (Legion of Racers – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +14.924

Verstappen causes controversy again

Max Verstappen has once again been at the sharp end of a controversial moment in sim racing after he was disqualified from a race for deliberately colliding with a rival. (Skip to 1:32:50 in the video for the Verstappen incident.)

The F1 world champion was driving in the light-hearted “Golden Toast GP” event for his Team Redline outfit, and had qualified on pole position for the three-hour elimination race. However he found himself under attack from Sven-Ole Haase as the race entered its second hour.

After running Haase wide off the track exiting Bus Stop, Verstappen made a late move to defend the inside of La Source, and was tagged from behind by Haase. That sent Verstappen into his own Team Redline team-mate, 2022 Porsche Esports Supercup champion Diogo Pinto, spinning the Portuguese driver.

With the blue touchpaper well and truly lit, Verstappen charged up the hill and straight-lined the Les Combes chicane to latch back onto the rear of Haase, and then drove right into the back of the Ferrari at Bruxelles.

For this act of retaliation – or a “revenge-punt” – the stewards unsurprisingly disqualified Verstappen from the event, which was eventually won by Alexey Nesov of Urano Esports.

It’s the second time this year that Verstappen has been embroiled in sim racing controversy, after a “rage-quit” from the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual following connection issues.

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