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NATIONS CUP
Mikail Hizal (Germany) Finally Breaks Through, Winning the 'World Tour 2019 - Red Bull Hangar-7'
17/09/2019

Salzburg, AUSTRIA (14 September 2019) – After a compelling start to the 'World Tour - Red Bull Hangar-7' the previous day with the Manufacturer Series, the action concluded today with the Nations Cup, where 24 of the world’s top players competed for a seat at the World Finals in Monaco on 23-24 November. With the spectacular backdrop of exotic airplanes and Formula 1 machines inside Red Bull’s Hangar-7, the drivers were at it early, competing in a general qualifying session, followed by the Top 6 Qualifying, two Semi-final races, a Repechage round and the Nations Cup Grand Final. In the end, it was Mikail Hizal of Germany who stood at the top of the podium, finally getting that victory that had alluded him all season.

Mercedes-Benz Reigns Supreme at the 'World Tour 2019 - Red Bull Hangar-7'
Round four of the 'FIA Certified Gran Turismo World Champion...

Semi-final Group A

As customary, the starting order for the Semi-final races were determined by the best times set in the Qualifying session and the Top 6 Qualifying, which was run on the Autodromo Nazionale Monza track. The fastest lap of the day went to Takuma Miyazono (Japan), grabbing pole position for Semi-final B, followed by Mikail Hizal (Germany), who was awarded pole position in Semi-final A.

Semi-final A was a 12-lap sprint around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Gr.1, where all the drivers were required to use both soft- and medium-compound Michelins, thus requiring at least one pit stop. The top four finishers here would advance to the final race at the end of the day, while those in fifth to 10th place were awarded a second chance via the Repechage round. As for the last two finishers, it was "auf weidersehn".

Right at the start, Cody Nikola Latkovski of Australia, starting in the number-two position, jumped all over Hizal, trying to beat him out of the first corner, which he did, but Hizal, who was driving with a broken toe, maintained his composure and his racing line, took the lead right back. Soon after, it was Latkovski’s turn to feel the pressure as Brazil’s Adriano Carrazza came up on him through Turn 12 and wrested away second place; however, the race stewards ruled that Carrazza had intentionally hit Latkovski and assessed the Brazilian with a one-second penalty that resulted in giving back the position. The next five laps saw little drama, as the running order remained unchanged, with the top four consisting of Hizal, Latkovski, Carrazza and Baptiste Beauvois (France), all running on soft-compound tyres.

On Lap 5, those who started the race on medium-compound tyres pitted, swapping them for the soft-compound rubber, including Jonathan Wong and Kin Long Li of Hong Kong, Ryota Kokubun of Japan, and Nicolás Rubilar and Fabian Portilla of Chile. But it was too little too late, as Hizal had opened up a five-second lead on the competition by this time.

Wong, who started sixth, made a nice move to pry away the all-important fourth position from Beauvois and began pressuring the third-place car of Carrazza, who was on the medium-compound tyres, but the Brazilian was determined to not let Wong get by. Latkovski pitted on lap seven, after squeezing as much as he could from the soft Michelins, but ultimately could not pry the lead away from Hizal, who cruised to the chequered flag without breaking a sweat. Hizal crossed the finish line more than five seconds ahead of Latkovski, as Carrazza and Wong, who came in third and fourth, respectively, rounded out the top four and an automatic place in the final.

Rank Driver Time
1 Mikail Hizal TRL_LIGHTNING 18:47.595
2 Cody Nikola Latkovski Nik_Makozi +05.193
3 Adriano Carrazza UDI_Didico15 +09.902
4 Jonathan Wong CAR_Saika +11.077
5 Baptiste Beauvois TRL_TSUTSU +13.015
6 Kin Long Li KarS_0627 +15.161
7 Ryota Kokubun Akagi_1942mi +16.768
8 Nicolás Rubilar FT_NicoR +18.494
9 Fabian Portilla CAR_McQueen +18.701
10 Ádám Tápai TRL_ADAM18 +20.029
11 Rick Kevelham rick-918-bmx +24.595
12 Daniel Solis CAR_Lamb +29.476

Semi-final Group B

With the favourite, Mikail Hizal, already in the front row of the finals, it was now up to the day’s top qualifier, Takuma Miyazono, to show his stuff in the second Semi-final race, a nine-lap sprint in the Pagani Zonda R around his home track, the Tokyo Expressway East Outer Loop. The race organisers decided to make things extra interesting by making the competitors run in extremely wet conditions.

There was plenty of action right off, as Miyazono, Derrouiche, and Suswillo made a mad dash for turn one, going three-wide at one point. Derrouiche got the upper hand, grabbing the lead from Miyazono, but the Japanese driver was able to take it back through the turn three sweeper. Intense wheel-to-wheel action ensued as a number of cars brushed against the wall, literally sending sparks flying in the air. but after such an eventful first lap, the running order remained unchanged: Miyazono, Derrouiche, Suswillo and Andrew Brooks (Canada).

At the start of lap two, Miyazono made an uncharacteristic mistake, going wide into turn one, which resulted in him dropping to third place, after Derrouiche and Suswillo passed him. Then on the following lap, Suswillo took the lead away from Derrouiche. Miyazono also got by the Frenchman, and then set his sights on reclaiming the lead from Suswillo. Elsewhere, Salvatore Maraglino of Italy quietly worked his way up from eighth to fifth place, just one position from claiming his automatic pass to the final.

On the fourth lap, Miyazono drafted Suswillo on the front straight, putting him back in the lead, while Derrouiche and Brooks maintained their third and fourth positions. Two laps later, Suswillo was drafted again, as Derrouiche tucked into his slipstream and made a great move on the front straight for sole possession of second place.

As Miyazono pulled away from the pack, extending his lead to more than two seconds in a matter of two laps, an intense battle for P2 through P6 was unfolding between Suswillo, Derrouiche, Brooks, Maraglino and Coque López (Spain). On lap seven, Derrouiche committed a serious driving error when he went wide through T1, allowing Brooks to sneak past the Frenchman. With his driving rhythm totally disrupted, Derrouiche went wide through the next corner, letting Suswillo through, and then allowing López to get the best of him the next lap, surrendering the all-important fourth position.

In the end, Miyazono crossed the finish line first, followed by Brooks, Suswillo and López; all of them punching their tickets to the final. For Derrouiche, he would live to fight another race, as he had the opportunity to vindicate himself in the Repechage round.

Rank Driver Time
1 Takuma Miyazono Kerokkuma_ej20 19:12.979
2 Andrew Brooks Turismo-Deafsun +02.596
3 Adam Suswillo Williams_Adam41 +03.210
4 Coque López Williams_Coque14 +04.109
5 Rayan Derrouiche RC_Miura +04.768
6 Salvatore Maraglino JIM_Pirata666_ +05.034
7 Giorgio Mangano Williams_Gio +08.103
8 Adam Wilk Adam_2167 +08.156
9 Mark Pinnel Turismo-lester +18.449
10 Manuel Rodríguez TRL_MANURODRY +18.533
11 Patrik Blazsán Williams_Fuvaros +19.214
12 Markus Könönen maatu79 +21.935

Repechage

While you can almost be guaranteed a scrappy contest in the Repechage round, this particular contest—a 10-lap race around the off-road Sardegna-windmills track in Gr.B cars—was uncharacteristically drama-free. The top four starters ended up maintaining their positions throughout the contest, with Baptiste Beauvois of France going from pole position to chequered flag for the win, as he brilliantly slid his Subaru WRX Rally Car around the slippery dirt track under dark conditions. Countryman Rayan Derrouiche performed brilliantly, too, keeping his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final out of trouble making it a French 1-2. Hong Kong’s Kin Long Li, driving a Nissan GT-R Rally Car, and Salvatore Maraglino of Italy, piloting a Honda NSX Rally Car, kept a firm hold of third and fourth place, as they pulled away from the rest of the pack by more than 10 seconds, allowing them to advance to the final.

Rank Driver Time
1 Baptiste Beauvois TRL_TSUTSU 13:08.612
2 Rayan Derrouiche RC_Miura +02.400
3 Kin Long Li KarS_0627 +02.871
4 Salvatore Maraglino JIM_Pirata666_ +03.609
5 Giorgio Mangano Williams_Gio +12.927
6 Nicolás Rubilar FT_NicoR +15.636
7 Ryota Kokubun Akagi_1942mi +19.492
8 Adam Wilk Adam_2167 +19.918
9 Ádám Tápai TRL_ADAM18 +31.164
10 Manuel Rodríguez TRL_MANURODRY +31.830
11 Mark Pinnel Turismo-lester +32.603
12 Fabian Portilla CAR_McQueen +35.797

Final

After tallying the results of the previous races, it was Mikail Hizal (TRL_LIGHTNING) who sat on pole for the 20-lap Nations Cup Final held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with Takuma Miyazono (Kerokkuma_ej20) alongside him. The drivers, piloting the Red Bull X2019 Competition, were required to use all three compounds of Michelin tyres (soft, medium, and hard), which meant that they would need to make at least two pit stops.

The green flag dropped with the three leaders, Hizal, Miyazono and Cody Nikola Latkovski, all on soft-compound tyres while nearly all of the other drivers opted for the harder rubber. Miyazono attempted to pass Hizal on the first corner, but in doing so, went off the track slightly, allowing the German to stretch his lead to more than a second halfway through lap one.

At the start of the second lap, nearly all the cars on hard-compound tyres dove into the pits to switch to mediums, after fulfilling the one-lap requirement to use each of the three compound tyres. With the stickier medium-compound tyres, Coque López (Williams_Coque14) started to make his move, as he reeled in Adriano Carrazza (UDI_Didico15) and passed him on the back straight to take 5th place. Andrew Brooks (Turismo-Deafsun), also on medium-compound rubber, executed a brilliant pass against Salvatore Maraglino (JIM_Pirata666_), after working his way up the field from 12th place.

On lap eight, the third-place car of Latkovski came into the pits, swapping his worn soft-compound tyres for hard-compound ones, then returning to the track without giving up his position. But he had allowed Adam Suswillo (Williams_Adam41), who was running on the quicker medium-compound Michelins, to close the gap, and for the next few laps, he had his hands full keeping the Brit at bay.

The race leaders, Hizal and Miyazono, made their first pit stop on lap nine, switching from softs to mediums, but unlike Hizal, Miyazono decided to forego fueling, allowing for a quicker pit stop and returning to the track with the lead. So, at the halfway point of the race, it was Miyazono and Hizal running 1-2, a full nine seconds ahead of the third-place car of Latkovski.

On Lap 12, Latkovski, still running in third and employing a three-stop strategy, made his third pit stop, switching to the soft-compound tyres. Although he returned to the track in sixth, he regained third place when on Lap 14, Brooks and Maraglino pitted. All the while, race leaders Miyazono and Hizal had opened up a 30-second lead on the rest of the field, but they still needed to complete a stint on the hard-compound tyres.

Lap 15 saw the only major accident of the race when Derrouiche and Wong touched as they battled for fifth position, sending Wong off the track. This led to Brooks losing control and spinning his Red Bull X2019, essentially knocking him out of contention.

Up ahead, Miyazono made his last pit stop, taking on the hard-compound tyres and much-needed fuel. The cool and steady Hizal decided to stay out for an extra two laps, building up a comfortable lead, one that he would not surrender even after his final pit stop on Lap 18. After returning to the track following his final pit stop, he led Miyazono by nearly seven seconds, which proved more than enough to hand the German his first win of the Series and a ticket to the World Finals… And all with a broken toe.


Rank Driver Time
1 Mikail Hizal TRL_LIGHTNING 30:58.581
2 Takuma Miyazono Kerokkuma_ej20 +04.732
3 Cody Nikola Latkovski Nik_Makozi +06.845
4 Adam Suswillo Williams_Adam41 +13.430
5 Coque López Williams_Coque14 +13.978
6 Salvatore Maraglino JIM_Pirata666_ +18.788
7 Jonathan Wong CAR_Saika +20.942
8 Baptiste Beauvois TRL_TSUTSU +21.868
9 Adriano Carrazza UDI_Didico15 +24.274
10 Kin Long Li KarS_0627 +29.380
11 Andrew Brooks Turismo-Deafsun +29.939
12 Rayan Derrouiche RC_Miura +33.812

As for Miyazono, who turned in yet another brilliant performance resulting in the first podium finish of the Series, he still has a chance to qualify for the World Finals. The final event of the Series will be held in his home country of Japan. Rounding out the top three was Latkovski, who has become a force to be reckoned with in both the Nations Cup and Manufacturer Series.

“After finishing in second place so many times, you always want to achieve something more, and finally with this win, I’m satisfied, and I feel relieved at the same time. As for the broken toe, I did feel some pain when I was using the pedals, but I kept the pressure on the ball of my feet, so it was bearable. In the final, I was trying to save fuel because refueling is a must, and the fuel strategy paid off in the end,” Hizal said after the race. The German had the added bonus of being voted ‘Michelin Driver of the Day’ on Gran Turismo social channels.

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