Tobias Pfeffer and Luke Southall claimed class wins while Luke Whitehead and Chris Harteveld edged ever closer to clinching their respective championships in the penultimate round of the mobileye GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint Series season at Donington.
Pfeffer scored the overall pole position for the race which was held in sunrise conditions at virtual Donington utilizing the official simulation of the SRO Motorsports Group: Assetto Corsa Competizione. The Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Unicorns of Love driver was able to pull a gap at the start and controlled the race from the front, but the battle behind him was fierce.
Whitehead, who has finished on the podium in every race this season, qualified his No. 21 GTWR R8G Academy Porsche 911 GT3 R in fourth with fellow championship contenders Igor Rodrigues and Gregor Schill in sixth and seventh. William Hendrickson was the best-placed of the championship aspirants in second, and was able to stay within striking distance of Pfeffer for much of the race. Ultimately no one had an answer for the pace of the Mercedes driver and he led home Hendrickson by 7.645 seconds with Whitehead and Rodrigues not far behind.
The best battle of the race was waged between BMW Team BS+TURNER driver Gregor Schill in his BMW M4 GT3 and the Race Anywhere Simpsort Mercedes of Harry Spiers. Schill emerged ahead after a multi-lap duel to take the final spot in the Top 5.
Series veteran Phillippe Simard appeared to be in position for his best finish of the season after qualifying third and running in that position for much of the race until a spin with under 15 minutes to go dropped him down the order to eighth behind Leon Otocki.
In the midst of the fight for overall Top 10 positions was the scrap for the Silver class lead. Southall grabbed the top spot early but was under heavy pressure from championship-leader Harteveld from the drop of the green, with several more Silver class contenders also in the mix.
Southall slowly pulled away from Harteveld and took the win by 4.105 seconds, while Angel Inostroza jumped Jonathan Seville for the final podium position in the Silver class.
The wins were the first of the season for both Pfeffer in the Pro class and Southall in the Silver division but both find themselves down in the standings with only Southall of the pair within a mathematical chance of the title with one round to go at Laguna Seca.
Whitehead now leads the Pro championship by 21 over Rodrigues with a maximum of 35 points on offer for the season finale with Hendrickson third 33 points adrift. Whitehead also currently holds the tiebreaker over both of his nearest pursuers by virtue of his win at Zolder to open the season, while neither Hendrickson nor Rodrigues has a win yet this season. Gregor Schill is 35 points behind Whitehead but even with a win for himself and no points from his rivals would fall short of Whitehead on a count back.
Harteveld continues to hold the advantage in the Silver class courtesy of a pair of wins and a further podium finish in four starts. Southall clawed to within 17 tallies and his his nearest challenger with one round to go, while Angel Inostroza also remains mathematically in the hunt 30 points back in third.