Reaching the halfway point of any season in any esports usually brings with it some semblance of clarity. Who were the biggest winners? Who were the biggest losers? Crucially, who was in the hunt to win whatever titles were on offer?
In the GT Pro Series, there is only one such title and that’s being named the Drivers’ champion; though as Season 3 looked to travel into its evening phase, it was anybody’s guess as to who was truly in the hot seat. Four races, four winners and no signs of a settled form table.
Not even the bravest human would have looked to place bets on Round 3 in Great Britain.
GT Pro, Round 3, Silverstone, Qualifying
Zansho Motorsport’s Jan von der Heyde had found himself with a podium in the Feature race at Spa-Francorchamps and throughout almost the entirety of Qualifying at Silverstone Circuit, it appeared that he’d have a pole position to add to his successes.
After a spin on his penultimate flying lap, however, Nikodem Wisniewski stayed cool under pressure to deliver a lap almost two tenths faster than the German – thus grabbing P1 on the grid.
Michi Hoyer was another to find strong points in Belgium with a win in the Sprint Race. He’d manage P3 in his Audi but would find himself effectively surrounded by BMWs with Jakub Brzezinski and Petar Brljak rounding out the top five from BMW Team GB and Williams Esports respectively.
Latest race winner Joonas Raivio languished down in P19 with the top twenty-four drivers landing inside one second of Wisniewski’s pole time.
GT Pro, Round 3, Silverstone, Sprint Race
The opening lap of action was very well-behaved at the front with the top ten staying as they were for the most part with more action further back including Kevin Siggy being escorted off the road to help compound his misery into an already arduous season. In fact the only major overtakes were down to a dreadful start by Hoyer who dropped from 3rd to 6th on the road.
The 180-second warning seemed to jolt the rather subdued race into life starting with a sensational move for Kasdorp around the outside of Hoyer at Maggots. Then, with potential tactical ploys being discussed as Andonovski suspiciously dropped to 10th, Brljak’s event unravelled before his very eyes going deep at the Vale Chicane and then clipping Brzezinski on re-entry spinning once again.
It was plain sailing for Wisniewski however who never looked back as a von der Heyde challenge didn’t materialise. Simoncic took a second 3rd in consecutive Sprint Races whilst Nuno Pinto benefitted from Brljak’s misfortune to inherit 10th and a front row seat for the Feature.
- N. Wisniewski – 8 LAPS
- J. von der Heyde – +2.446
- J. Simoncic – +3.594
- J. Brzezinski – +7.017
- Y. Kasdorp – +7.716
- M. Hoyer – +8.226
- A. Siebel – +8.890
- K. Stolze – +9.133
GT Pro, Round 3, Silverstone, Main Race
Pinto’s start was tremendous in part due to a lively, early assault from Stolze on Andonovski’s 2nd place. A rare team duel would ensue between BMW Team GB and Burst Esports as five drivers between the two outfits filled out the bottom half of the top ten. Though Simoncic led the war, Wisniewski was winning the early battles moving up to 7th place. Jernej wouldn’t be ahead for long though as the following lap Nikodem completed the succession of overtakes.
Stolze wasn’t done with Andonovski and everything appeared to be going the way of the Portuguese in front; the Dane ultimately moving ahead after a rough and tumble affair through the second sector on circuit. Tragically, Pinto’s lead would come to nought as a disconnection removed him from contention.
All of a sudden, Stolze found himself in clean air and bolted knowing so. Behind, Andonovski continued to burn up his tyres in his attempts to keep a hold of 2nd and built up a hefty queue over the following laps. The breakthrough finally came with 13 minutes to go as Kasdorp slipped through at The Loop though by this point the lead gap was well over eight seconds.
Wisniewski had been patient behind Siebel but an unfortunate tangle with a very optimistic Simoncic – looking to pounce on the Pole’s first real mistake – saw the Race 1 winner tumble into the pit straight wall and down the order. His stablemate found himself in a much cleaner state of affairs engaged in a wonderful battle with von der Heyde. Sadly for Jakub, he would also end up losing out but only by the one position lost to the German.
Stolze stormed to victory ultimately though one could only imagine how Nuno Pinto was feeling having been well clear of the Dane himself before disconnection. Still without a win in the Pro Series, Kasdorp was happy with 2nd whilst Andonovski would be relieved to still hold 3rd in his hands across the line.
- K. Stoltze – 23 LAPS
- Y. Kasdorp – +9.669
- T. Andonovski – +11.494
- Al. Siebel – +11.929
- M. Hoyer – +12.272
- J. Simoncic – +12.858
- D. Jordan – +14.235
- J. von der Heyde – +14.427
The virtual trip to Germany cannot come soon enough for this season of the rFactor 2 GT Pro Series powered by Traxion.gg. It is not inconceivable that we may see a different winner for every race given that there are only twelve races in total. Jernej Simoncic may have taken the lead of the championship, but the points standings feels like a game of spin the bottle now.
GT Pro Series Championship standings after Round 3
- J. Simoncic – 381
- J. von der Heyde – 379
- N. Pinto – 376
- J. Brzezinski – 374
- D. Jordan – 373
- M. Hoyer – 371
- Y. Kasdorp – 365
- A. Siebel – 364
- T. Andonovski – 361
- F. Stanley – 360