Intense Battle in the Closing Moments Made This a Race for the Ages
Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Nations Cup - Round 3
With the Gran Turismo World Series 2022 gearing up for the forthcoming World Finals, the stage was set for Round 3 today in the lush woodlands of Switzerland, home to Gran Turismo’s original track: Deep Forest Raceway. The surprise of the Series thus far has been the speed and consistency of newcomer Kylian Drumont of France (six championship points), who claimed the World Series Showdown crown, putting him in 2nd place in the overall standings. Igor Fraga of Brazil was at the top of the leaderboard with seven points, with Japan’s Ryota Kokubun in 3rd with five points and Brazil’s Lucas Bonelli in 4th with four.
Not only was this race important for scoring points, if a driver produced a good result here, it would surely create a tremendous amount of momentum going into the all-important World Finals, where every one of the 12 drivers gathered here still had a mathematical chance of taking it all.
Round 3: Deep Forest Raceway
For the 15-lap race around the tricky and fast Deep Forest Raceway, it was Spain’s Jose Serrano (TDG_JOSETE) who grabbed pole position, with a duo of Japanese drivers on his heels: Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi), fresh from a Manufacturers Cup victory, and Kanata Kawakami (SG_Kawakana). Last year’s Nations Cup champion, Valerio Gallo of Italy (Williams_BRacer) started in P4 and Frenchman Kylian Drumont in P5. They were all strapped into mechanically identical Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette Group 5 machines, painted in their country’s livery. No tire requirements were implemented for this race, making pitstops optional. All indications were that this would be to be an all-out sprint from start to finish.
With every race entrant running on the soft-compound Michelins, the 12 cars completed the first few laps without drama, as they felt one another out before making any drastic moves. Looking like a vintage club race, the 600-hp race cars were obviously delicate to handle as they twitched their way through the track’s tricky corners. Still, with about 600 hp, they had enough power to reach 180 mph (290 km/h) on the front straight.
The first major pass came on lap 4, when Gallo made a move on Kawakami to the inside on Turn 1, putting his car into 3rd place. The Italian seemed to like this corner because he made a similar move at the same spot on the following lap, overtaking Kokubun to climb to P2.
At the halfway point of the race, the running order remained little changed, with Serrano, leading Gallo, Kokubun, Kawakami and Drumont. More than 3.0 seconds behind them was Angel Inostroza of Chile (YASHEAT_Loyrot) who sat in P6.
The front straight on lap 9 was where the drivers began throwing caution to the wind. Gallo and Kokubun drafted Serrano’s lead car and out-braked him into Turn 1, going three-wide through the tight right-hander. Then, Drumont decided to join the party on the following corner, sneaking up and passing Kokubun for P3. The top five drivers—Serrano, Gallo, Drumont, Kokubun and Kawakami—remained stuck to each other for the next lap as each one looked for an opportunity to overtake. That chance came on lap 12 right after Turn 1, when it was Gallo who fell victim to Drumont’s daring passing maneuver. Gallo got payback the next lap, reclaiming P2 from Drumont through… you guessed it, Turn 1.
Meanwhile, Inostroza, who was running in P6 for most of the race, was quietly catching up to the frontrunners. Once more than 3.0 seconds back, by lap 12 he had shaved that lead down to less than a second. The Chilean was waiting patiently for the right opportunity to make his move, and that opportunity came on the hairpin on lap 13, when Kokubun and Kawakami tried taking Drumont on the inside. By doing so, they nudged the Frenchman to the edge of the track, opening up a hole for Inostroza to go through, which he did and moving into 3rd place in the process.
The beginning of lap 14 saw Drumont wrest P3 back from Inostroza, while race-leader Serrano was doing all he could to keep the hard-charging Gallo at bay. On the final lap, Inostroza reclaimed 3rd place through Turn 1, while Kokubun also got past Drumont, whose front tires were beginning to show wear. With the top five cars trying desperately to move up in position, Spaniard Jose Serrano showed everyone why he was one of the best drivers in the world by successfully maintaining his line and not letting Gallo or Inostroza by. He held a masterclass in defending the lead all the way to the checkered flag.
With his 2nd place finish, it was clear that last year’s champion Valerio Gallo was back on form, while Angel Inostroza impressed once again, claiming a spot on the podium for the second straight time. With the win, Serrano moved into a tie for 3rd place in the championship, alongside Ryota Kokubun who managed a 5th-place showing. Igor Fraga still led with seven points, trailed by Kylian Drumont’s six.
Said Serrano after his impressive win: “This victory felt great as I needed to get closer to the points leaders, and with this win, I got quite a bit closer. To be honest, it was really hard keeping the other behind me, but in the end, I managed to defend in an aggressive and fair way. So far, this year is as hard as the past two for me, but nothing is impossible, and I will give my best in Monaco and hope to be World Champion.” (NC_16) (NC_17)
All eyes now turn to Monaco where the Gran Turismo World Series 2022 World Finals take place from 24-27 November with a live broadcast each day.
All of the action can be watched on the official Gran Turismo YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/GranTurismoOfficial/ and more information is available on gran-turismo.com
Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Nations Cup - Round 3
|José Serrano TDG_JOSETE
|Valerio Gallo Williams_BRacer
|Angel Inostroza YASHEAT_Loyrot
|Kylian Drumont PRiMA_Kylian19
|Ryota Kokubun Akagi_1942mi
|Kanata Kawakami SG_Kawakana
|Baptiste Beauvois R8G_TSUTSU
|Lucas Bonelli TGT_BONELLI
|Igor Fraga IOF_RACING17
|Adriano Carrazza Didico__15
|Tomoaki Yamanaka yamado_racing38
|Matthew McEwen AE_McEwen