Esports News | Rodrigues continues GT World Challenge title charge

24th July 2023
Andrew Evans

Williams driver Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues has taken his third win in three GT World Challenge America Esports races this year, putting him in sight of the title in two weeks’ time. Rodrigues had returned maximum points including the pole position point in both races so far. That form continued in qualifying at Silverstone where the Brazilian was the only driver into the 1:55s and claimed pole by nearly two-tenths of a second from Renan Negrini in an identical Audi R8.

Realistically, Negrini needed to get ahead of Rodrigues early on, but the Williams driver got into Copse first and led the reduced-field, 36-car pack right from the very first corner. It wasn’t long before that lead was more than two seconds, though Negrini was hardly struggling as he pulled a similar gap to Fidel Moreira in third. Moreira in turn had Silver class leader Cody Sherratt for company, keeping Pro class Jyeed Hutchinson in the Lamborghini at bay.

The mandatory pit stops changed things a little in terms of the podium. Moreira went for a surprisingly early stop and came out in completely clear air aiming to run the undercut. Although Negrini came down the pit lane only two laps later, it was enough to wipe out almost his entire advantage over the Porsche.

Ten minutes later, Moreira sized up the Audi and made a move into Brooklands, but Negrini wasn’t quite ready to give it up. The two ran door-to-door right up to Maggotts before Moreira was truly ahead, and a little error in Becketts from Negrini added insult to injury.

This battle allowed the already uncatchable Rodrigues over eight seconds of breathing room, and he eventually crossed the finish line more than nine seconds clear of Moreira for his third successive maximum points finish. The result leaves him 32 points clear of his team-mate and countryman, and needing just five more points over Moreira to claim the title.

Sherratt had a comfortable day in the Silver class, crossing the line fifth on the road to claim the class win by more than 15 seconds from Leveque. Those two drivers are now tied at the top of their championship on 66 points apiece.

GT World Challenge Americas Esports Round 3 Results

1. Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues (Williams – Audi R8 GT3 Evo) – 31 laps
2. Fidel Moreira (Williams – Porsche 911 GT3R) +9.333
3. Renan Negrini (Asetek SimSports – Audi R8 GT3 Evo) +10.896

After Mercedes claimed all three places on the podium in the 24 Hours of Spa last week, it was another podium lockout for the brand at the GT World Challenge Europe Esports sprint series at the Nürburgring. Niklas Houben claimed pole position for the race – the fourth different driver to do so in the four rounds thus far – in an unusual grid that saw Silver class leader Vojtech Fiala line up second, ahead of fellow Silver racer Marco Jonkers. Dominik Blajer and Dennis Schoeniger, who shared the Williams car that finished second at Spa, lined up fourth and fifth.

A surprisingly clean opening exchange saw Houben draw clear of Fiala, while Jonkers briefly holding up both Blajer and Schoeniger meant that a two-second gap opened up between Fiala and the cars behind. The two Mercedes drivers worked to close that again by the time the pit window opened, and both took an early trip through the pit lane with one eye on undercutting the Silver driver when he made his stop later on.

They didn’t have to wait long for the plan to play out because both Houben and Fiala pitted the next time round, and Blajer and Schoniger would split the two when they came out. That left a surprisingly evenly matched front three, and as the latter half of the race wore on it became clear nothing but an unforced error would change the order. None was forthcoming, and Houben claimed the win by 2.7 seconds.

However, second place for Blajer was enough to send him to the top of the championship table by a single point ahead of the final round, as leader Mikhail Statsenko could only finish fifth in class. The top four, completed by Houben and George Boothby, are covered by a mere ten points.

Fiala’s win in Silver means he needs just two points in the final round to take the title, sitting 34 points clear of Dario Iemmulo in second. Iemmulo just missed out on the podium, with Erik Del Fante claiming second ahead of Jonkers.

GT World Challenge Europe Esports Round 4 Results

1. Niklas Houben (Mercedes Team HRT – Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 32 laps
2. Dominik Blajer (Williams – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +2.705
3. Dennis Schoeniger (Mercedes Team Williams – Mercedes-AMG GT3) +4.231

ESL R1 champion Marcell Csincsik scored back-to-back wins in the Formula E Accelerate series, claiming the Rome Major title to go with his Berlin Major win earlier in the year.

As he had done in Berlin, Csincsik won the pole position shootout, beating Jernej Simoncic in the final head-to-head by a quarter of a second. Even that gap didn’t quite prepare the field for a dominant opening session which saw him build a lead of over two seconds on lap one, and coast to a ten-second victory.

With both Majors in his trophy cabinet Csincsik will be favourite for the championship, which will be decided at the live event in London this week.

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