Akkodis ASP has scored its second double class victory and overall one-two of 2022’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series campaign thanks to dominant performances from Dani Juncadella and Tommaso Mosca at Suzuka this evening.
The blue and yellow Mercedes-AMGs shared the front row and romped clear of the field but swapped places during the pitstop window when Juncadella’s superior pace helped him leapfrog Mosca, who’d started on pole. The Spaniard’s first overall sim racing win inside the Fanatec Arena also strengthened Akkodis ASP’s bid for the real-world teams’ championship, while Mosca kept his esports title hopes alive by taking Silver Cup honours 7.3s further back.
Audi Sport Team Tresor’s Luca Ghiotto got the better of Arthur Rougier not once but twice to complete the overall podium ahead of Kelvin van der Linde (Team WRT) who also muscled his way past the Lamborghini at the final corner on the final lap. The R8s thus completed the Pro rostrum behind Juncadella.
The Silver Cup title is also heading to the final round thanks, in part, to Mosca’s victory but also a late race incident that saw championship leader Alex Aka punted out of third in class by Brendon Leitch. That dropped Attempto’s Audi to fourth in the Silver classification – one place shy of wrapping up the crown.
Madpanda Motorsport’s Ezequiel Perez Companc finished second while Jannes Fittje (Haupt Racing Team) in third was the prime beneficiary of Aka’s misfortune.
JUNCADELLA PICKS HIS MOMENT FOR MAIDEN WIN
Full disclosure: Akkodis ASP were in a league of their own at Suzuka, which was subbing for Hockenheim on the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series schedule. Mosca qualified two tenths faster than his team-mate and also beat him into Turn 1 but was never comfortable out front as Juncadella initially maintained a watching brief before applying pressure as the pitstop window approached.
Indeed, just four tenths separated them when the stops began after 25 minutes. But with the team understandably unwilling to take any risks, Juncadella opted to pit early in the hope of undercutting his team-mate.
Sure enough, Mosca stopped at the final opportunity and emerged just behind the Spaniard who’d managed to overturn his slender deficit while running in clean air over the previous three laps. He then underlined his authority by steadily edging clear to clinch his first overall win.
Mosca’s race pace might not have been quite enough to match Juncadella’s but it was still more than sufficient to beat Ghiotto who was in the thick of the action throughout. He qualified fifth but was soon past Companc and in pursuit of Rougier whose mistake at the Degners allowed the Audi to pounce.
Emil Frey’s Lamborghini remained a threat, though, and emerged from the pits narrowly ahead of Ghiotto who had it all to do again. This time Rougier stood firm as the pair lapped nose-to-tail, made contact and continued before the Audi finally dived down the inside into the Hairpin with 10 minutes to go.
Van der Linde was next up but it wasn’t until the final lap that he was able to work a definitive opening. WRT’s Audi enjoyed a better run out of 130R, got around the outside of Rougier into the first half of the Casio Triangle and exited the chicane marginally ahead after having no choice but to run wide. The stewards subsequently ruled it a racing incident.
ROWE Racing’s Dan Harper finished a second further back after enjoying a quietly effective race. His highlight came in the first 15 minutes when he successfully slipstreamed Nicklas Nielsen into Turn 1.
Companc slipped from fourth on the grid to seventh overall but still collected four Silver Cup points for finishing second in class, while Nielsen’s Iron Lynx Ferrari completed the top-eight.
Next up should have been Aka but his race was upended by Leitch who collided with the Audi while attempting a pass. The pair had already made contact before the stops, this time with the Lamborghini being spun around, but it was Leitch who ultimately denied the German the Silver Cup title with a race to spare when they became reacquainted with seven minutes left. Leitch’s drive-through penalty saw Aka finish 10th, albeit with class rival Fittje now ahead.
The result means Mosca can still clinch the Silver crown on countback for Akkodis ASP at Barcelona, but only by winning his class and hoping that Aka non-scores.
Juncadella’s victory, meanwhile, leaves the team a point behind Pro Cup leaders Beechdean AMR.