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Toman and Andonovski find success at Lime Rock Park GT Pro Series round

Toman and Andonovski find success at Lime Rock Park GT Pro Series round

Lime Rock Park is steeped in rFactor 2 history as one of the very first official tracks available on the platform – fondly remembered in the original demo for the game hand-in-hand with a Corvette C7.

On Monday evening, it played host to the third round of six in GT Pro Series’ fourth season where Jernej Simončič had already taken three podiums from 75 per cent of race starts.

Qualifying

In both Formula Pro Series and here with the GTs, Varga Sim Racing had been laying down a strong statement of intent over the past few months. Indeed, Jiri Toman won the first race of the campaign at Monza. But despite him and his teammate securing second and third on the Sprint Race grid, the star of qualifying was an unlikely one.

Ibraheem Khan nabbed his first pole position in the series by four-thousandths of a second for a jubilant Rocket Simsport. Williams’ Petar Brljak also secured his best ever result in qualifying with fourth. Championship leader Simončič rounded out the top five. All Red Bull Racing Esports cars struggled with Dennis Jordan the best placed in 13th.

GT Pro Season 4 GTE Lime Rock Park

Sprint Race

Khan could be forgiven for a few nerves heading down to Big Bend but his race was almost over before it began as, flanked by both Vargas, he almost lost the car but for a heroic save of the snap oversteer. He would have been thankful that the circuit shares many characteristics with the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit just gone in Zandvoort; the first five minutes proving this with barely any overtakes to speak of.

In fact, it would be a mistake that led to the first of note after Toman’s seizing of first position. Through The Uphill section, Kevin Siggy found himself completely out of shape with 10 minutes left on the clock. Michi Hoyer would be the benefactor. Peyo Peev would also find himself gifted a position thanks to a last corner slide from Timotej Andonovski.

Sprint Race start Lime Rock GT Pro Series

The front three were in a class of their own all race long but Khan would be kicking himself as Toman became the first two-time winner within the season. Marcell Csincsik, largely anonymous, was right with the rest of the podium sitters by the chequered flag forming an Aston Martin 1-2-3.

  1. Jiri Toman – Varga SimRacing – 19 LAPS
  2. Ibraheem Khan – Rocket Simsport
  3. Marcell Csincsik – Varga SimRacing
  4. Petar Brljak – Williams Esports
  5. Jernej Simončič – Burst Esport
  6. Joonas Raivio – BS+Competition
  7. Michi Hoyer – Burst Esport
  8. Kevin Siggy – BMW Team Redline
  9. Peyo Peev – Buttler-Pal Motorsport
  10. Timotej Andonovski – Cetrez Nitor Velox

Main Race

Ex-GT Challenge champion Andonvski lined up in pole position for the Feature Race ahead of Zansho Simsport’s Sido Weijer – dizzying heights for the Dutchman. Unlike the eye-raising start to the Sprint however, things were much more static as everyone inside the top ten held station.

Much like the earlier race, overtaking was at a premium and many were looking towards the inevitable pitstop phase as the real point of interest. Of all drivers, the first to take the plunge was race leader Andonovski who didn’t fancy allowing Weijer any sniff of an undercut. He would exit the pits last on track in 25th, banking on those ahead following his example sooner rather than later.

He needn’t have worried in any case as his speed was blistering – 1.5 seconds faster than anyone else on track two laps into his second stint. Such was the strength of the undercut that by the time Weijer was in and out, the North Macedonian’s lead was a healthy six seconds; around five seconds better off compared to before his pitstop.

GT Pro Season 4 GTE Lime Rock Park Ferrari

Battling for net third, Hoyer and Siggy had very different pit road experiences just one lap apart. Hoyer was first up and found himself some way off another early stopper in Csincsik but crucially ahead of a queue of cars. Siggy wasn’t so lucky with the Austro-Slovenian slotting into the train some four positions down from where he had been.

Simončič had been largely unscathed despite a longer first stint, jumping his teammate with a rare win for the overcut. In a bizarre show of kindness, he attempted to let Hoyer back through into net fourth, despite leading the championship going into Round 3. Such generosity isn’t often rewarded on track, however, as the Burst Ferrari was mugged by Joonas Raivio, Ibraheem Khan and nearly Sprint-winner Toman too.

Despite an explanation from team boss Cameron Rodger that this was down to Simončič not taking tyres at his pitstop, it was still unnecessary points dropped.

Timotej Andonovski wins Feature Race Lime Rock GT Pro Series

Red Bull Racing Esports’ strategists starred in the closing stages by pitting their trio as late as possible and not taking tyres to boot. Jordan crippled his potential by picking up a drive-thru penalty but Yuri Kasdorp was able to slot into eight ahead of Simončič who had finally been passed by the second of the Varga machines.

The unintentional knock-on effect of such a direction was Andonovski’s times being stifled by Alex Siebel and thus the man who had played the game perfectly was backed up into the chasing Weijer and Csincsik. Nevertheless, overtaking was still practically impossible and the Cetrez Nitor Velox pilot claimed a well-deserved win.

  1. Timotej Andonovski – Cetrez Nitor Velox – 56 LAPS
  2. Sido Weijer – Zansho Simsport
  3. Marcell Csincsik – Varga SimRacing
  4. Michi Hoyer – Burst Esport
  5. Joonas Raivio – BS+Competition
  6. Ibraheem Khan – Rocket Simsport
  7. Jiri Toman – Varga SimRacing
  8. Yuri Kasdorp – Red Bull Racing Esports
  9. Jernej Simončič – Burst Esport
  10. Petar Brljak – Williams Esports

In Conclusion

Time will tell if the tactics of Burst Esports and Simončič will come back to haunt them. The Czech still leads the Drivers’ standings but by potentially five points less than he could have. After adding another win to his name, Jiri Toman steps up as closest challenger; a measly six points behind.

After two tracks in the USA, GT Pro Series will travel to the humble setting of Loch Drummond, Scotland for Round 4. The second half of the season commences on 20th September LIVE on our YouTube channel.

GT PRO SEASON 4 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 2

  1. Jernej Simončič – Burst Esport – 573 pts
  2. Jiri Toman – Varga Simracing – 567 pts
  3. Michi Hoyer – Burst Esports – 545 pts
  4. Alex Siebel – Red Bull Racing Esports – 545 pts
  5. Marcell Csincsik – Varga SimRacing – 544 pts
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