- NATIONS CUP
- 'World Tour 2019 – New York' Nations Cup Race Report
- World Tour 2019 – New York
New York, USA (25 August, 2019) – Electricity was in the air for the finale of the 'World Tour 2019 – New York,' the third leg of the five-race FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2019 Series where 46 of the best Gran Turismo racers from 19 countries battle for a spot at the World Finals, which will occur in Monaco in November. The last day of the event featured the Nations Cup, where, unlike the previous day’s Manufacturer Series, racers represented their home countries, competing for individual and national glory.
The festivities started with qualifying where the favourites showed off their stuff. Mikail Hizal (Germany) threw down a blazing lap time on his second time around Spa-Francorchamps, a circuit not seen before in Gran Turismo Sport, in the Red Bull X2019 racecar to claim pole position for Semi-final A. Brazil’s Igor Fraga secured the second-quickest time, giving him pole position for Semi-final B.
The top four places in each race advance to the final, while those coming in 5th to 10th get another chance in a repechage round, so if you finish in the top four here, you’re automatically in the final, if not, well, you may as well pack your bags because you’re going home.
The venue for the first Semi-final contest of the day was Willow Springs International Raceway, nicknamed Big Willow. In this 17-lap race with the Fittipaldi EF7 super sports car, the competitors were required to use both hard- and medium-compound tyres, so devising an effective race strategy was vital.
Pole-sitter Mikail Hizal led Takuma Miyazono (Japan) and Cody Nikola Latkovski (Australia) through the first corner. All three of them began the race on medium-compound tyres, while Coque López (Spain) and Adam Suswillo (UK), in positions 4 and 5, opted for the hard-compound rubber, saving the quicker medium-compound tyres for the end of the race. Despite the slower tyres, Latkovski quickly passed Miyazono for 2nd place.
At the beginning of Lap 3, where the cars reached speeds in excess of 280 km/h (173 mph) on the front straight, a fierce battle ensued between López, Andrew Brooks (Canada), Suswillo, and Manu Rodríguez of Spain through Turns 4, 5 and 6. Brooks and Rodríguez went wheel-to-wheel, tapping each other on a few occasions. Rodríguez was able to get the best of Brooks and take over 5th place, then focused his sights on catching his countryman, López, who was then running in 4th.
Lap 9 saw the race leader, Hizal, dive into the pits, which also prompted the 3rd-place car of Miyazono to come in. Changing to the harder-compound tyres didn’t slow the two racers down one bit, nor did it affect Latkovski, who pitted a lap earlier. Further down the field, the Canadian drivers, Brooks and Mark Pinnell, battled for 10th place, a vital spot because it represented the final spot to qualify for the repechage round.
Hizal maintained a comfortable lead of three-plus seconds, cruising to victory, followed by Latkovski, Miyazono and López, who all won a spot in the final.
|1||Mikail Hizal TRL_LIGHTNING||19:45.066|
|2||Cody Nikola Latkovski Nik_Makozi||+04.392|
|3||Takuma Miyazono Kerokkuma_ej20||+06.108|
|4||Coque López Williams_Coque14||+07.195|
|5||Adam Suswillo Williams_Adam41||+09.286|
|6||Manuel Rodríguez TRL_MANURODRY||+18.783|
|7||Baptiste Beauvois TRL_TSUTSU||+19.908|
|8||Randall Haywood ORIGINALS-14||+21.164|
|9||Daniel Solis CAR_Lamb||+23.175|
|10||Andrew Brooks Turismo-Deafsun||+24.008|
|11||Mark Pinnel Turismo-lester||+24.345|
|12||Alonso Regalado Turismo-Jara||+25.226|
Last year’s Nations Cup champion, Igor Fraga (Brazil), was the one to watch in the second Semi-final race, held on the short course of 'AUTOPOLIS INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT'. Behind Fraga’s pole-sitting Subaru WRX Gr.B rally car were Patrik Blazsán (Hungary) in a Nissan GT-R rally car and Jonathan Wong (Hong Kong), driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final rally car.
Unlike the first race, there was plenty of drama right away as a battle royale broke out in the middle of the pack after Fraga got cleanly away. Many of the cars bounced off each other through Turns 2 and 3, while some put a wheel off. The main benefactor of the mayhem was Nicolás Rubilar (Chile), who shot up from 5th all the way to 2nd place. And then he really went after it, virtually parking his Ford Focus rally car on the rear bumper of Fraga’s Subaru, waiting for the right opportunity to pass. Meanwhile fierce battles continued to rage throughout the field, as the 5th-place Hyundai Genesis rally car driven by Benjámin Báder (Hungary) gave Rick Kevelham (Netherlands), in a Ford Mustang rally car, all that he could handle.
Lap 10 saw the two race leaders, Fraga and Rubilar, pit swapping their medium-compound tyres for the hard-compound one, giving the race lead temporarily to Báder, which was short-lived after he pitted the next lap. Fraga reclaimed the lead, with both Rubilar and the Toyota 86 rally car of Rayan Derrouiche (France) on his tail. The Frenchman worked his way up from 11th place all the way to 3rd, and he wasn’t done. Derrouiche went hard after Rubilar as they went two-wide through Turn 5 and the Turn 6 hairpin, trading paint on a couple of occasions, but Rubilar was able to hold him off.
The next few laps saw yet another brilliant battle between the 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-place drivers—Blazan, Ryota Kokubun (Japan) in a Peugeot RCZ rally car, and Wong. In fact, they nearly took each other out on a number of occasions, refusing to give an inch…one could hardly blame them for being so stubborn because an automatic place in the final was on the line. On Lap 16, Kokubun got away from Wong and Blazsán, but Anthony Felix, driving a Toyota 86 rally car, was filling his rearview mirror. All the while, the leaders raced hard to the end, with Fraga crossing the finish line first, while Rubilar successfully held off the hard-charging Derrouiche.
|1||Igor Fraga IOF_RACING17||21:27.616|
|2||Nicolás Rubilar FT_NicoR||+01.253|
|3||Rayan Derrouiche RC_Miura||+01.448|
|4||Ryota Kokubun Akagi_1942mi||+07.845|
|5||Anthony Felix FT_Ant||+08.835|
|6||Patrik Blazsán Williams_Fuvaros||+10.337|
|7||Salvatore Maraglino JIM_Pirata666_||+10.633|
|8||Jonathan Wong CAR_Saika||+11.037|
|9||Benjámin Báder ROH_Benito||+11.546|
|10||Adam Wilk Adam_2167||+12.702|
|11||Rick Kevelham rick-918-bmx||+14.618|
|12||Ben Chou Gmotor_SBen||+19.313|
Those that failed to finish in the top four in the previous races, but made the top ten (5th to 10th place), were granted another chance to make the final in the repechage round. The top four finishers would advance, but, for everyone else, it would be "Sayonara New York". The competitors took the wheel of the Toyota SF19 Super Formula racecar for an all-out, pedal-to-the-metal 15-lap contest around 'Blue Moon Speedway', a super high-speed oval consisting of three corners.
Drafting on this high-speed course was key, so every competitor vied for advantageous positions on the track and in traffic to maximise the use of slipstreams. As a result, there were numerous lead changes, with exciting wheel-to-wheel racing that often saw cars lined up three and four wide on the straights.
When the chequered flag was waved, it was Manu Rodríguez from Spain, who crossed the line first by a mere five-hundredths of a second. In fact, the top four finishers were separated by a little more than a second, making this race the most hotly-contested of the day.
|1||Manuel Rodríguez TRL_MANURODRY||10:02.942|
|2||Andrew Brooks Turismo-Deafsun||+00.050|
|3||Daniel Solis CAR_Lamb||+00.115|
|4||Jonathan Wong CAR_Saika||+00.146|
|5||Baptiste Beauvois TRL_TSUTSU||+00.342|
|6||Adam Wilk Adam_2167||+00.456|
|7||Benjámin Báder ROH_Benito||+00.513|
|8||Salvatore Maraglino JIM_Pirata666_||+00.710|
|9||Anthony Felix FT_Ant||+00.824|
|10||Randall Haywood ORIGINALS-14||+00.872|
|11||Adam Suswillo Williams_Adam41||+01.361|
|12||Patrik Blazsán Williams_Fuvaros||+04.416|