Following a victory for Subaru alongside Daniel Solis in the Showdown Manufacturers Cup just one day earlier, Kylian Drumont took the Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup Showdown for France too.
A surprise new addition to the championship, Drumont was entered as one of 2022’s quickest Gran Turismo 7 drivers but had never competed at a World Series level before this weekend. He beat 28 other drivers.
The format witnessed three regional finals – EMEA, Americas and Asia-Oceania – with the top three from each reaching the grand final. Then, those who finished between fourth and seventh place in the regional races advanced to a repêchage event, with the top three from that completing the grand final grid.
Regional finals and repêchage
In the EMEA final, using the Aston Martin Vulcan around Deep Forest Raceway, Jose Serrano won from pole position, after reigning Nations Cups champion Valerio Gallo pitted early for an undercut.
This resulted in the Italian driver falling back in the latter stages with worn rubber, allowing the two French drivers of Baptiste Beauvois and Drumont onto the podium.
The Americas final used the Daytona Road Course combined with the Ford GT Race Car ’18 and it was 2018 Nations Cup winner Igor Fraga quickest in qualifying. He was never headed, taking a dominant victory ahead of a battling Adriano Carrazza and Angel Inostroza.
Last week’s Nations Cup race winner Lucas Bonelli finished off the podium in fourth, and thus joined Gallo in the repêchage.
When it came to the Asia-Oceania final – Fuji International Speedway and the Dallara SF19 Super Formula – Ryota Kokubun led from the start to the finish, with a healthy gap over Kanata Kawakami. The main focus was on third, with New Zealand’s Matthew McEwen just holding off from Tomoaki Yamanaka.
With nine drivers already through to the grand final, 12 then took to Watkins Glen in the Genesis X Gr.3 to fight for the final three spots.
In the end, Gallo would lead throughout ahead of Yamanaka and Bonelli, so all made it through to the main gran final, with Dean Heldt just missing out in fourth.
Much like the Showdown Manufacturers Cup, the venue for the gran final would be Gran Turismo 7‘s interpretation of Trial Mountain, but this time everyone was in identical Gran Turismo Red Bull X2019 Competition cars.
From a rolling start, Spain’s Serrano led the field away for 30 laps around the Gran Turismo-original venue. Fraga, however, had him in his sights and used the slipstream to his advantage down the long back straight to take the lead.
Drumont didn’t feature near the head of the field in the early running, but he was the first of the drivers on the hard compound tyre, however, in sixth.
The leader pitted at the end of the fifth lap to switch from medium to hard rubber, meanwhile further back in the pack Drumont, Bonelli and Gallo swapped hards for mediums. Fraga then interestingly ditched the hard tyres after just one lap, swapping them for softs.
Yamanaka had pitted at the end of the very first lap, swapping from medium to soft tyres. By the 11th lap, the Japanese driver had grabbed the race lead, overtaking Serrano, only to spin inside the Turn 4 tunnel.
A key moment in the middle of the race befell Carrazza, as compatriot Fraga pushed through, sending the hapless Brazillian wide, onto the grass, before he then slewed back across the field and dropped to 11th. Fraga was handed a two-second penalty for the move.
Once the strategies had played out, it was Drumont who led just ahead of Fraga, who must have been ruing his earlier penalty. The gap fluctuated between 0.6s and 1.5s, but by the end, Drumont managed to save enough fuel to ease away over the last two laps. Meanwhile Gallo span into the wall trying to pass Serrano for fourth.
Drumont had managed to pull off a second win of the weekend and rock the Gran Turismo World Series establishment.
“[I think] I did the best strategy for the race,” said Drumont.
“Five laps on the hards and then go onto mediums. I saved the fuel a little bit, but not too much as I wanted to be [at] a good pace.
“I pushed to the limit. I follow my strategy and I tried to get a better pace – that’s it.”
Next up is the second round of the Manufacturers Cup, 9th October 2022.
Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup Showdown 2022 results
- Kylian Drumont – France
- Igor Fraga – Brazil +7.661
- Ryota Kokubun – Japan +7.985
- Baptiste Beauvois – France +9.111
- Jose Serrano – Spain +17.668
- Lucas Bonelli – Brazil +17.770
- Tomoaki Yamanaka – Japan +18.551
- Valerio Gallo – Italy +19.932
- Angel Inostroza – Chile +27.890
- Adriano Carrazza – Brazil +29.876
- Kanata Kawakami – Japan +33.814
- Matthew McEwen – New Zealand +43.201
Images: Polyphony Digital