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The second leg of the 2022-23 Le Mans Virtual Series witnessed changeable circumstances in a digital Italy. From a dry to moist observe, after which again once more, it was anybody’s guess as to who would stand victorious in both the LMP or GTE courses till the ultimate moments.
Incident-filled first hour
Issues began off with a pair of almost identical-looking incidents within the opening nook for each courses.
The #21 SEM9 Axle LMP of Naquib Azlan was tagged as issues unfold out. The Malaysian driver clipped the grass and wound up bowling into the #eight R8G Esports LMP of Marcell Csincsik.
Moments later, the opening-round winning #99 Purple Bull Racing Porsche of Alex Siebel was additionally clipped, spinning and placing the #11 Venture 1 by Dörr Esports Porsche pushed by Leonard Krippner. Each wound up within the pits for injury restore, shedding laps within the course of.
Within the opening stint, Porsche Coanda driver Joshua Rogers trailed team-mate Mitchell deJong, however issues would swap after the primary pitstop. Each vehicles pitted on the identical time and since the #23 of Rogers was forward of deJong, the Australian had the higher exit, taking the lead within the cycle.
The primary hour witnessed a slew of crashes, together with a giant one in Curva Alboreto involving a handful of LMP drivers. The #966 Staff Fordzilla entry of Luke Browning tried a transfer on the #28 YAS Warmth Veloce entry, however the two made contact and calamity ensued.
Csincsik, the #100 Arnage Competitors LMP with Adam Pinczes in management and extra have been additionally concerned. All vehicles continued, however Browning acquired a pitlane penalty, whereas the others misplaced a lap repairing the injury.
In the meantime, in GTE, the #51 SF Velas Esports Staff Ferrari pushed by Christian Michel took the lead in the beginning over pole position-starting Timotej Andonovski within the #888 R8G Esports Ferrari.
Romain Grosjean’s eponymous squad took management again 16 minutes in, however the #77 Proton Coanda Porsche and the #95 Prodrive FYRA Esport Aston Martin have been each in competition.
Issues bought moist within the second hour
Throughout the second spherical of pitstops, the #2 Redline entry didn’t swap drivers. Consequently, Diogo Pinto was in a position to take the lead, the reigning Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion forward of the #23.
It started to frivolously rain after the one-and-a-half-hour mark, simply earlier than each the LMP and GTE pit cycles have been about to start. The observe was declared moist by the race stewards with two hours and 23 minutes to go, moist tyres have been now on the desk.
Nevertheless, a full course yellow would shake issues up even additional. The #18 R8G Esports LMP of Christopher Högfeldt turned himself off of the nostril of a slower GTE.
Some groups opted to pit, together with the #36 Alpine Esports LMP of Rory MacDuff, plus nearly all of the GTE class.
Issues would get much more jumbled because the Code 60 lifted earlier than others may pit. The Porsche Coanda duo would cease instantly whereas early title protagonists of the #1 Redline and #four Floyd Vanwall-Burst opted to remain out for a number of extra laps.
The #63 AMG Staff Petronas Esports entry was the primary to chunk for moist rubber, with many extra opting to on the finish of the hour.
Moist tyres vs slick tyres within the third hour
Because the rain continued there have been nonetheless a number of stragglers on slick tyres, together with the pole-sitting #20 Porsche Coanda LMP.
The #63, pushed by Graham Carroll, briefly led due to its early cease for grooved tyres. Nevertheless, Redline snatched the lead on lap 78, with Luke Bennett instantly rising the hole over the remainder of the sector.
In the meantime, within the GTE class, Andonovski within the #888 had a cushty lead over Paschalis Gkergkis who had taken management of the #77 Proton Coanda Porsche.
A second full course yellow was then enacted as a result of an incident involving the #86 GR Vector Esport LMP, slowly driving again to the pitlane with a technical concern.
This may reset the sector on pitstops, as most groups opted to make the most of the lowered speeds. The race restarted with slightly below 75 minutes to go together with the #1 machine nonetheless out entrance, free pit cease within the pocket, and the #20 Coanda entry now in second after staying out.
Methods realised in ultimate hour
Because the circuit dried, Martin Krönke within the #23 Porsche Coanda LMP appeared to have snookered the sector, choosing the slicks in the course of the full course yellow, pole-vaulting into the lead as soon as everybody has swapped tyres.
With 45 minutes to go, the chase was on for Jeffrey Rietveld within the #1 to attempt to catch as much as Krönke. The hole was closed to about two seconds earlier than the Porsche-backed entry pitted for the ultimate time.
Rietveld stayed out so long as he may, lastly pitting on the 123rd lap with slightly below 27 minutes remaining. The overcut offered a 14-second benefit which remained till the top of the race, the #53 additionally rising to second, with Porsche Coanda in third.
For the battle in GTE, the #888 wound up being overcut by the #77 as soon as all pitstops had been accomplished. It was as much as Formula Challenge Series front-runner Risto Kappet to seek out Dayne Warren.
Nevertheless, with simply 10 minutes to go within the race, the Porsche was handed a penalty for not respecting the prior full course yellow, handing the lead again to the R8G Esports Ferrari.
Regardless of this, it wouldn’t be a simple win for Kappet, because the #95 Prodrive FYRA Esport Aston Martin with Lasse Sørensen within the seat was proper on his heels till the chequered flag.
“It was an endurance,” stated Kappet, driver of the profitable #888 R8G Esports Ferrari 488 GTE alongside Andonovski and Formulation three race-inner Smolyar.
“It was so loopy, there have been so many smaller races inside this race, it was intense.”
“It was a really troublesome race,” stated Rietveld, driver of the general profitable #1Team Redline LMP with Bennett and Benecke.
“Switching from the dry, to the rain, after which again to the dry, that was very troublesome circumstances, however I believe we nailed the technique and that gave us the win as we speak.”
The #four Floyd Vanwall-Burst LMP leads the factors standings, after ending fourth, by simply two factors over the race-winning Redline crew after two races, whereas the #99 Oracle Purple Bull Racing Porsche GTE nonetheless leads GTE, 5.5 factors over the #71 BMW Staff Redline.
Subsequent up for the sequence would be the 6 Hours of Spa, fifth November 2022.
four Hours of Monza – LMP Class High 5 Finishers
- Luke Bennett, Jeffrey Rietveld, Maximilian Benecke – #1 Staff Redline – 140 laps
- Michael Romanidis, Nikodem Wisniewski, Jakub Brzezinski – #53 AMG Staff Williams Esports +15.612
- Joshua Rogers, Mack Bakkum, Martin Krönke – #23 Porsche Coanda +18.709
- Tom Dillmann, Jernej Simončič, Jesper N. Pedersen – #four Floyd Vanwall-Burst +42.588
- Ayhancan Güven, Tommy Østgaard, Mitchell deJong – #20 Porsche Coanda +42.781
four Hours of Monza – GTE Class High 5 Finishers
- Alexander Smolyar, Timotej Andonovski, Risto Kappet – Ferrari 488 GTE – #eight R8G ESPORTS – 128 laps
- Lasse Sørensen, Lasse Bak, Mikkel Gade – Aston Martin Vantage GTE – #95 Prodrive FYRA Esport +zero.956
- Dayne Warren, Charlie Collins, Paschalis Gkergkis – Porsche 911 RSR GTE – #77 Proton Coanda Esports +18.445
- Lorenzo Arisi, Christian Malghera, Andrea Terzi – Ferrari 488 GTE – #26 SIM Maranello +31.700
- Chris Lulham, Kevin Siggy, Enzo Bonito – BMW M8 GTE – #71 BMW Staff Redline +1 lap