If Ferrari were a football team, they would have a derby day. That heated rivalry would be squarely against Lamborghini, an outfit whose influence in esports has grown significantly over the last couple of years.
Now entering its fourth edition, ‘The Real Race’ is this legendary brand’s answer to the Ferrari Esports Series. Though the format has changed once again, the prize remains the same – a place amongst the stable of Automobili Lamborghini Esports.
Naturally, this ensures a field of relatively new names to many avid a watching of virtual racing. Four preliminary rounds will whittle down entrants to the best grid possible, travelling to the Nordschleife where an in-person event will decide the overall winner.
With little information surrounding many drivers in this competition, seeding makes deducing relative success a bit easier. Marco Lomi was top of the timesheets to qualify for the opening round at Paul Ricard.
That’s where he found himself when the evening’s hotlap session was complete. His front row companion would be fellow Italian Simone Seminara, seeded fourth going into the event.
Ukrainian Pavlo Polovchuk scored third on the grid ahead of his own countryman Andrii Pozdniakov. Amos Laurito would likely be the most disappointed of the top five having been seeded second failing to nail down a lap of similar quality when it mattered most.
Polovchuk spooked many around him as a strained connection saw him lag persistently across the warm-up lap. This allowed Lomi to defend from Seminara with relative ease into Verrerie for the first time. The midfield bore witness to a nasty collision involving multiple cars at Hôtel affecting some cars within the top ten.
Unfortunately, the server would deem Polovchuk’s failure to stablise bad enough to end his efforts early. Through the confusion, Laurito had capitalised with a move past Pozdniakov onto the podium.
Worth mentioning at this stage is that the top four finishers of each round progress through to the Grand Final at the end of July this for Laurito, this was a significant move to place his opponent in the firing line.
The building aggressive nature of the duel led to two key developments. Lomi and Seminara were cruising off into the distance, all the while Florian Dührkop was closing fast.
With untimely rain beginning to fall, Pozdniakov attempted to swing around the outside of Signes only to get punished by the Frenchman who swindled fourth away from his possession.
With the track continuing to lose grip, Dührkop was in his element. Laurito, conversely, was struggling something fierce. He lost his third place five minutes on from the first drops hitting the circuit. This rain eased off eventually though not soon enough for Seminara’s liking. Second went the way of Dührkop as well.
Even Lomi wasn’t safe as an excursion off track proved. Failing to find the rhythm upon rejoining the grey stuff, Dührkop reeled in the Italian and found a way by him as well.
The worst was yet to come. With just twenty minutes left to run, hot on the heels of the new race leader, Lomi met the same fate as Polovchuk – disconnecting from a Grand Final qualification spot.
With Dührkop now miles clear, attention turned to those behind. Seminara’s pace continued to falter, so much so that he offered little resistance to a resurgent Laurito.
Now sitting in fourth, Dávid Kalocsai had a comfortable grip on his own situation. Come the last lap, he had caught Seminara himself yet dragged Stefano Bonsignore along with him.
Bosignore pulled off a lovely switchback through Camp then went on to successfully defend a last ditch siege. And so the first four drivers were locked in for the Grand Final with Dührkop surely a favourite given his masterclass in changeable conditions.
- Florian Dührkop – 30 Laps
- Amos Laurito – +14.578
- Simone Seminara – +20.427
- Stefano Bonsignore – +21.012
- Dávid Kalocsai – +21.546
- Marcin Swiderek – +34.462
- Luigi Paccazocco – +41.467
- Leonardo Grigis – +43.589
- Andrii Pozdniakov – +65.062
- Matteo Cinotti – +68.956