GT World Challenge Esports: Tonizza maintains lead in Sprint Series with a second place in Paul Ricard

Maranello 12 June 2021

The FDA Esports Team’s David Tonizza has kept the lead in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Series after coming second in the second round of the series at the Paul Ricard track. Team-mate Giovanni De Salvo recovered well to claim four important points to maintain fifth place in the championship. 

Qualifying. Last week’s Paul Ricard 6 Hour race had produced a clear picture of the hierarchy among the teams with VRS Coanda Simsport the clear favourite. It meant that Tonizza took to the French track with damage limitation in mind, aiming to keep the championship lead. It was no surprise therefore that Josh Rogers took pole, although more unexpected was a second place, just 17 thousandths behind for Tobias Pfeffer for RBG eSports. David was third, just over a tenth off the leader, while De Salvo could do no better than 12th, almost half a second off pole.

Start. It was an orderly start, with Rogers leading from Pfeffer and “Tonzilla” in the 488 GT3 Evo 2020. De Salvo lost a place at the start to Dominik Blajer in the number 10 DV1 Triton Racing car. After 10 laps, tyre degradation began to make itself felt especially in the pack, so that De Salvo was able to get past Blajer and Tobias Gronewald in the Unicorns of Love car.

Result. After the obligatory pit stop, Tonizza decided to up the pace and tucked in behind Pfeffer, feinting and trying to put him under pressure, while keeping an eye on his mirrors for McLaren Shadow’s Johnny Baldwin. In the end, the pass came on the Mistral straight, just before Signes and so Tonizza was able to shake off Baldwin who was unable to overtake the other McLaren driver. David therefore finished second behind Rogers. The two men are equal on points, but Tonizza leads the series being the first man to take a win. De Salvo continued to move up in the closing states, overtaking Arthur Kammerer to take eighth place. Worth noting that Andrea Benedetti in the GTWR R8G Academy Ferrari finished 25th when heading for a top ten finish before getting a drive-through penalty after a collision and Leonardo D'Alcamo, 27th in the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of the Jean Alesi Esports Academy.

Standings. After two of the five rounds, Tonizza leads, equal on 43 points with Rogers. Thirds is Nils Naujoks (BMW Motorsports G2 Esports) on 25, fourth is Baldwin (22) and fifth De Salvo (16). Next is another 60 minute Sprint Race at Budapest’s Hungaroring on 25 June.