Over 30 cars would head to Circuit Zolder in Belgium for the fourth round of the GT World Challenge Esports Asia championship, with the tightly-packed 4.011-km layout requiring both driving precision and clean-cut strategy to ensure a good result overall.
After 60 minutes of flat-out and close-quarter racing, it was Mercedes Team-AMG LoR’s Dillan Tan in the #144 Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo taking his third Pro win of the season, 13.640 seconds in front of Rocket Simsport’s Ferris Stanley. Wako’s Fliptable Racing #390 BMW entry of Yat Lam Law completed the top three, narrowly fending off an attack over the last quarter of the race from the Tarmac Works #62 Bentley of Fahdli Rachmat.
Along with that, Z Challenger Racing’s Marco Wong in the #9 BMW M4 GT3 finally broke the winning streak of R8G Esports’ Philippa Boquida by taking the Silver class win by 0.439 seconds when the chequered flag fell after 40 laps, with Laundry House’s Andrew O’Hara in the #51 Mercedes completing the top three.
The #25 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Alpha Venturi Racing’s Zachary Smith was handed a drive-through early on, having been found to be out of position on the rolling start that would drop him from sixth to 15th place after serving it.
Several incidents on the opening lap would see a handful of drivers retire from the encounter in Zolder, along with some being stung with penalties from the accidents that they caused, with a major crash happening on the main start/finish straight on lap one.
Boquida would lose the lead in the Silver class on the start to Wong in the #9 BMW M4 GT3, with the latter hanging it around the outside into the first couple of corners.
But Boquida would be back on the attack to try and regain the lead in the first ten minutes, before deciding to opt for a different strategy as opposed to a full-on forward charge.
She would then have to take avoiding action to not hit the back of Wong’s BMW into the Kleine Chicane costing her a lot of time just after the 20-minute mark, and nearly into the clutches of the #999 Mobileye BMW M4 of PRO driver Ryan Hoolihan just behind in the process.
An epic battle of race craft was showcased just after the 25-minute mark between the #77 Honda of HPD JAS Pro Asia’s Yugo Ohsaki and the #21 AMR Vantage of MOTUL Racing’s Luis Moreno. The pair went side-by-side closely through Villeneuve and then for several more corners, with the former taking 13th place overall and eighth in the PRO class coming out of Bolderberg.
By the halfway point, Tan had opened up a significant lead of over seven seconds by the halfway mark and was even catching backmarkers whilst effortlessly pulling away from Stanley in second.
After pitting from the Silver class lead, Wong would end up sideways exiting the first corner by colliding with the inside of the #39 SACCESS eSports Ferrari of Yuki Shirakawa on lap 26, but would still remain ahead of Boquida’s Porsche, who had a slower pitstop. The Ferrari would later be handed a five-second penalty, as a result of the incident.
The Australian would have a chance by placing her Porsche to the outside of Wong on the first corner with just under 20 minutes to go, but would end up being run wide and off track, again losing precious time, whilst Wong picked up a warning for the robust defence. She would have one last attempt going into the final lap on Wong, but outbraked herself, thereby costing her the victory.
The fifth and final round of the GT World Challenge Esports Asia championship heads over to Suzuka on September 14th, as both Pro and Silver class titles, will be decided around the iconic and legendary Japanese circuit.