Akkodis ASP and Attempto Racing clinched their respective Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series titles at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this evening thanks to Dani Juncadella and Alex Aka, while Iron Lynx scored its maiden outright victory courtesy of Nicklas Nielsen.
Juncadella didn’t need to win in order to secure the Pro class crown for his team but still ran Nielsen close on what proved to be a grandstand final lap. Aka, meanwhile, fought back from a difficult start to finish first in class and fourth overall behind Emil Frey’s Arthur Rougier. Victory sees the German end 2022 with 20 real-world Silver teams’ championship points from the possible 25 available inside the Fanatec Arena.
Aka’s only remaining Silver championship rival, Akkodis ASP’s Tommaso Mosca, began the hour-long race with a slim chance of denying Attempto the title. But that became all-but impossible when a collision on the opening lap dropped his Mercedes-AMG further down the order.
NIELSEN WINS IT BY ONE TENTH!
This was a long overdue victory for Iron Lynx and Nielsen who have been a mainstay of Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series’ front runners for the past two seasons. Here, the Ferrari started on pole and retained its lead for the rest of the race despite coming under intense pressure at times. And it was never closer than at the chequered flag where just 0.1s separated first and second place.
The Dane initially held off Juncadella on the run into Turn 1 where Akkodis ASP’s Mercedes-AMG was also busy defending from Rougier and Luca Ghiotto who’d leapt from eighth to fourth. However, both of them would end lap one behind Dries Vanthoor’s Team WRT Audi, which had moved up from sixth thanks, in part, to both Silver class title contenders dropping back.
Aka started third – two places ahead of Mosca – but lost momentum when his Audi was forced to put two wheels on the grass as the field thundered towards the first corner. Mosca, meanwhile, endured a fraught opening lap that included three separate ‘moments’, the last of which effectively ended his hopes of landing the title.
Back at the front Nielsen was heading up a five-car train that featured Juncadella, Vanthoor, Ghiotto and Rougier who managed to pass Tresor by Car Collection’s R8 at Turn 2 after nine minutes.
The same quintet remained reasonably close until the pit window opened just before mid-distance. Rougier was first in followed by Vanthoor, whose victory chances disappeared with a 30-second stop-go penalty for speeding in pitlane.
Nielsen, meanwhile, stopped later in the window with Juncadella right behind. But with no change in position, and Akkodis ASP’s Mercedes-AMG initially coming under pressure from a pre-penalised Vanthoor, Iron Lynx looked a safe bet to score its first-ever series win.
Juncadella had other ideas, though, and closed back in as the second stint wore on. A mistake from Nielsen at the start of the final lap drew audible gasps from inside the Fanatec Arena, which remained on tenterhooks as the Ferrari just held off the charging Spaniard.
Rougier wasn’t too far behind in third, while Aka – who’d steadily worked his way up from eighth – came across the line one place further back after making two eye-catching moves on Ghiotto and Dan Harper (ROWE Racing, BMW).
Dennis Lind had an effective if unspectacular run from 16th on the grid to seventh in JP Motorsport’s McLaren, which finished ahead of Alessio Picariello’s Dinamic Porsche.
Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer was unable to wrap up the real-world Silver teams’ title for WRT but did score his first esports points of the season with second in class and ninth overall. Mosca completed the class podium one place further back.