James Baldwin crosses the line at a wet Monza to take the GTWC Europe Esports Title

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Third Place for the Title: Baldwin Prevails at Rain-Soaked Monza

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The final round of the 2022 GT World Challenge Europe Esports Championship would head to the “Temple of Speed,” as Autodromo Nazionale Monza would bring the title race to its initiable conclusion, as the top four drivers would be front and centre to see who would be victorious.

With speeds more than 270 km/h at points around this 5.793-km circuit and with a 60-minute encounter, this would be just part of the spectacle along with the customary heavy braking points and rocket ship-style overtakes that are characteristics of the track based just north of Milan.

But the heavy rain and next-to-no visibility would be bringing a welcome different dynamic to the Italian circuit, upping the difficulty factor, meaning drivers would have to have their eyeballs on stalks throughout the race and drive to the conditions.

It would be the #1 of Veloce’s James Baldwin that would not just secure the final spot on the rostrum but also the 2022 PRO title, after an exciting few laps of battling between Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team HRT’s Dennis Schöniger and Automobili Lamborghini EsportsJordan Sherrat, with the former winning by nearly six tenths.

39 cars would go into battle, with Kevin Siclari in the #27 Mercedes putting it on pole position during qualifying with the #52 of Unicorns of Love’s Tobias Gronewald making it an all-Affalterbach front row.

Scuderia Ferrari VELAS Racing’s David Tonizza, who won the recent SRO Esports Race Night at Spa, would find his title aspirations fall by the wayside by finishing in sixth position.

The Italian would be hit with a five-second penalty before the halfway point, after an incident with the Race Anywhere #120 Porsche of Jordan Grant-Smith.

Gronewald would be hit with a drive-through penalty with just 14 minutes to go, after going off at the Prima Variante with all four wheels whilst running third, demoting him to what would effectively become 16th at the finish.

Munster Gaming’s Dáire McCormack would end up qualifying down in P16, and despite a first lap incident that saw the #814 Bentley tumble outside of the top 30, the Irishman would fight his way back up to fifteenth overall, with it not being his night.

BS+ Competition’s Nils Naujoks completed the top four and was closing in on Baldwin in the dying stages, with the HPD Honda NSX of the Netherlands’ Mike Nobel completing the top five.

DV1 TRITON Racing’s Dominik Blajer may have been on the back foot in the battle for the Silver title with BMW G2 EsportsRobbie Stapleford, as the pair qualified fifth and first in the class.

But the former was able to bring the Bentley Continental GT3 home, finishing behind Tonizza in seventh overall, after Stapleford hit dramas before the halfway point, recovering to 12th at the finish, despite having a mathematical chance to win the title.

Thereby, both drivers in the PRO and Silver titles in the GTWC Sprint E-Sports are the new champions, who will look to further advance their rate of success from this point on.