GT World Challenge Asia Sprint: Reigning champion Tan controls Imola

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The 2023 Asia series kicked off with an action-packed race around a virtual Imola, and it was a recognisable name up front.
GT World Challenge Asia Sprint: Reigning champion Tan controls Imola | Traxion

Disclaimer. For everybody’s sanity, the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series is being abbreviated to GTWECAS. Good? Good.

SRO Esports is killing it with the summer sim racing schedule. Between the incredibly popular Endurance Series which kicked off recently and the variety of regional Sprint Series, there is something for everyone both viewer and competitor alike. With both European and American Sprint Series underway, it was now time for the Asian community to strap themselves in.

First up on the docket would be the challenging Imola Circuit. It goes without saying that despite having the luxury to watch and cover this event, we do not forget the flooding that has ravaged the region. We wish all who were affected a hasty return to regular life.

Qualifying 

Many of Asia’s best and bright Assetto Corsa Competizione runners took the grid. Mercedes-AMG Esports pilot Dillan Tan proved the best amongst them all in qualifying, taking pole position ahead of BMW BS+Competition’s Ferris Stanley. This would have been no surprise to many given Tan’s reputation as the reigning champion

Sota Muto lined up third for Williams Esports ahead of Philippa Boquida, a strong rear-gunner for stablemate Stanley. Daffa Boediharjo Ardiansa claimed pole position of the Silver class runners, albeit only two total places ahead of his closest rivals.

Race

It was unfortunate to see connection issues rife throughout the grid as the lights went green. Boquida was affected and compromised through Tamburello leaving her two places down on her starting position.

Ardiansa would have been able to capitalise had it not been for the opportunistic Chris Tsang, although the Indonesian would grab fourth for himself before the open lap was out.

SRO 04 Asia

Boquida’s stumble was turning out to be the only change of position to note. Having fallen to eighth by the 20-minute mark, she opted to roll the dice and pit earliest of anyone on track. Her gamble was astute; Tsang ahead was a proverbial cork in the bottle as was proven just one lap on. Both Luke Addison and Russel Reyes – two Silver entries – overtook the Hongkonger through the first sector. 

Addison would be next of the frontrunners to pit, offering Boquida a chance to see if her call had paid off. She lay within a second of the South African upon the latter’s pit exit and just one lap on, found the overtake with a well-judged send into Tamburello. This created the domino effect of Reyes managing to jump Addison through his own pitstop though the balance would be redressed within minutes.

Off-screen, disaster had befallen runaway Silver leader Ardiansa. For whatever reason, they headed onto pitroad for a second time leaving Addison and Reyes in a one-on-one duel for class victory. Adding to the complexity of the situation was Tsang who had, in the meantime, found his way back ahead of the pair. 

Entering the final ten minutes, Tsang’s rather underwhelming race pace was exposed once more. Addison and Reyes were through in Sector 2 before even Naquib Aslan, on a sensational second-half charge, stormed through at Acque Minerali in his McLaren. 

SRO ASIA 2023 Imola

No such concerns for Dillan Tan who could have put a cup of tea on such had been his control over affairs. The all-Pro class podium was rounded out by Stanley and Muto, both of whom had equally measured performances. 

GTWECAS 2023 Round 1, Pro Classification

  1. Dillan Tan – 1st – 36 Laps
  2. Ferris Stanley – 2nd +3.904
  3. Sota Muto – 3rd +4.972
  4. Philippa Boquida – 4th +14.756
  5. Naquib Azlan – 7th +24.796

GTWECAS 2023 Round 1, Silver Classification

  1. Luke Addison – 5th – 36 Laps +21.873
  2. Russel Reyes – 6th +22.289
  3. Rialto Ristofani – 10th +31.113
  4. KuiSheng Huang – 11th +31.410
  5. Suning Gong – 13th +32.173
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