Now three rounds into the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe, it was time for the second outing of the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series. For the most successful drivers in each class from last time out at Monza, ballast would make their lives a little more difficult, with inaugural winners Arthur Rougier and Ryuichiro Tomita stuck with 30kg for the event.
A late change gave drivers some leeway in regards to pit stop times, with the overall race length being shortened from an hour to 45 minutes.
A promise of stunning visuals was delivered as the Circuit Paul Ricard found its action continuing through day and night with the changing temperatures adding yet another challenge for the field. It was very early into proceedings, however, where the first incident could be found; Nicklas Nielsen facing the wrong way in his Iron LynxFerrari at the edge of Turn 2.
Leading from pole, Team WRT’s Kelvin van der Linde was relatively unopposed for the first lap as shadowing pair Matteo Cairoli and Nicolas Varrone hoped to break away from fourth-placed Phillip Ellis. This didn’t really come to pass as with just over five minute gone, Varrone launched his first attempt at 2nd place only to have it snatched back by Cairoli with Ellis lurking.
It would, eventually, be the man at the back of this lead pack who would fall first but through no fault of his own thanks to a simulator reset required during a lengthy pitstop. In the meantime, Marvin Dienst in his Mercedes had made up good ground, able to slot himself into podium contention.
Cairoli was beginning to struggle in his Porsche and not only was Dienst able to make his way through but then a rising Alex Fontana as well. The Lamborghini was looking planted the further the race went on. With just under 30 minutes left, another strong performance could be found in the hands of Daniel Juncadella who was showing great pace and gambling on an early pitstop to gain him favour on track.
The strategy was sensational and paid the Spaniard out handsomely with his midfield scrap evolving into a genuine podium conversation with fifteen minutes left. Van der Linde and Varrone were long gone with the South African dominating at Paul Ricard. With both potential victories out of the window, therefore, it was all about who would finish on the podium on track and within each class.
Tempers flared with just 12 minutes left and third through to fifth engaged in a scrappy duel with plenty of paint exchanged. Fontana too would find himself in a rough spot as light contact with Monza winner Rougier would force the Swiss driver down to eighth.
All hell broke loose in the closing stages of the event which saw Emil Frey Racing’s man climb back up onto the podium albeit post-race thanks to large penalties for Dienst and, in particular, Cairoli who was far too heated in battle with Juncadella.
Victory would fall to Kelvin van der Linda however who would take victory in the shortened second event of the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series by a comfortable margin of 13 seconds.
FANATEC ESPORTS GT PRO SERIES RACE TWO RESULTS
- PRO Kelvin Van Der Linde – Audi R8 LMS GT3 – Evo Team WRT 46:40.098
- SILVER Nicolas Varrone – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo – Rinaldi Racing +13.223
- SILVER Alex Fontana – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – Emil Frey Racing +28.471
- PRO Daniel Juncadella – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – AKKA ASP +29.581
- SILVER Ezequiel Companc – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Madpanda Motorsport +35.195
- PRO Arthur Rougier – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – Emil Frey Racing +35.964
- PRO David Pittard – BMW M6 GT3 – Walkenhorst Motorsport +37.373
- PRO Nicklas Nielsen – Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo – Iron Lynx +44.552
- SILVER Marvin Dienst – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – TokSport WRT +57.010
- SILVER Kikko Galbiati – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – GRT Grasser +1:06.619
- PRO Matt Campbell – Porsche 991II GT3 R – GPX Racing +1:12.409
- PRO Christopher Mies – Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo – Attempto Racing +1:25.267
- PRO Christopher Haase – Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo – Sainteloc Racing +1:37.261
- SILVER Max Hofer – Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo – Attempto Racing +1:45.668
- SILVER Ryuichiro Tomita – Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo – Team WRT +1:55.437
- SILVER Yannick Mettler – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – SPS Automotive Performance +2:18.582
- PRO Matteo Cairoli – Porsche 991II GT3 R – Dinamic Motorsport +3:07.794
- SILVER Gabriele Piano – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Haupt Racing Team DNF
- PRO Ben Barnicoat – McLaren 720S GT3 – JOTA DNF
- SILVER Thomas Drouet – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – AKKA ASP DNF
- SILVER Philip Ellis – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Winward Racing DNF
- PRO Mirko Bortolotti – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – Orange 1 FFF Racing Team DNF
- SILVER Nicolai Kjaergaard – Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 – Garage 59 DNF
- PRO Vincent Abril – Mercedes-AMG GT3 – Haupt Racing Team DSF