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Hawkin leads NA contingent to Ferrari Esports Series Grand Final

Hawkin leads NA contingent to Ferrari Esports Series Grand Final

Brandon Hawkin dominated the pair of races at Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen in the North American final for the Ferrari Esports Series.

It’s only been one day since the Ferrari Velas Esports Series EU Regional Final. Michael Romagnoli, Marcin Swiderek and Jonathan Riley formed a formidable trio eyeing the grand prize of a spot with the Scuderia’s official esports outfit following the EU championship finale.

Before they’ll go to battle at the LAN Grand Final in Italy, however, three top level drivers from North America had to be identified. The path to securing an invitation would have a major difference to the likes of EU Regional champion Michael Romagnoli as two new tracks were selected to be raced upon.

Tight and twisty, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca opened up the night before the fast and furious Watkins Glen would conclude who were the best of the best.

Race 1 Qualifying 

As was the case in Europe, Assetto Corsa and the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo were first up for the field. Brandon Hawkin claimed pole position ahead of Matt Adams. Mexican Yordi Maldonado rounded out the top three. With only the qualifier races as a reference point, anticipation was high. 

Race 1

Maldonado’s launch had all the hallmarks of trying to grip tyres on ice. He plummeted down the order as Aloo Gobi thrust her way through the ensuing madness to grab second. Sadly, her joy would last all of twenty seconds thanks to an ill-advised look into Turn 5 by Adams.

With a penalty a near certainty, this left the now third-placed Mérick Lévêque with plenty to think about for the following twenty-nine minutes. 

Hawkin strolling off into the sunset left plenty of interest on the rest of the top ten as a good result around Laguna Seca could yet set up a successful evening. Erie Riley certainly felt the agency of his potential winnings placing a clean move down the inside of Brian Woodward into the Andretti Hairpin.

While Woodward would continue to look backwards, Chris Severt was only looking forward towards fourth-placed Max Baughman; the potential recipient of a podium given Adams’ earlier transgression.

With thirteen minutes to run after many staring at his countryman’s rear wing, a pass was attempted but came off poorly. Riley sneaked through to claim fourth for himself. 

Riley’s race would sadly come to a heartbreaking end on the final lap as a suspected fuel issue lost him any points he had earned. The complete opposite scenario for Hawkin who barely broke sweat on his way to twenty-five points. 

LAGUNA SECA TOP 10

  1. Brandon Hawkin
  2. Mérick Lévêque
  3. Christopher Severt
  4. Ryan Woodrow
  5. Matt Adams*
  6. Max Baughman
  7. Yordi Maldonado
  8. Aloo Gobi
  9. Andy Trupiano
  10. Ricardo Rivera

*After post-race penalty applied

Race 2 Qualifying

Moving to Assetto Corsa Competizione and the 488 Challenge Evo failed to shake up the competitive order much. Hawkin landed on pole position once again ahead of fellow podium scorers Severt and Lévêque.

Based on their raw pace around Laguna Seca, Gobi, Adams, Maldonado and the under-the-radar Ryan Woodrow all posed a sizeable threat to the top three from inside the top seven.

Race 2

An early mess on the exit of Turn 1 hindered Adams and Maldonado whilst Gobi, once again, showed great awareness to slice through the mayhem. A gap had already formed toward the top three but, unlike the first race, Hawkin was not allowed to get out of dodge. At least initially so. 

By the halfway point, Hawkin was some six seconds clear of Severt who was starting to struggle with tyres overheating.

This had invited pressure from Lévêque and Gobi, the latter of which was evidently biding her time and specifically saving her tyres for a late game push. As it so happened, half of the workload was done for her as Severt suffered upshift issues on the home straight with twelve minutes to go. 

With Gobi now in third, she both had to continue aiming for Lévêque’s second place and hope that the gearing issue got worse for Severt. Sadly for those supporting the most competitive woman in the championship, it was not to be.

The pace of Lévêque was simply too consistent for a proper chance to ever materialise. As for Severt, his issue was remedied within corners. Though he lost a further place to Woodrow, it was still more than enough to confirm his place in the Grand Final.

He would be joined by Lévêque and Hawkin who had truly dominated proceedings in the Regional Final. Heading to Italy, there was no doubt about who the new favourite was. 

WATKINS GLEN TOP 10

  1. Brandon Hawkin 
  2. Mérick Lévêque
  3. Aloo Gobi
  4. Ryan Woodrow
  5. Christopher Severt
  6. Matt Adams
  7. Yordi Maldonado
  8. Pierre-Olivier Cloutier
  9. Max Baughman
  10. Andy Trupiano

FINAL NA REGIONAL STANDINGS

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