Cody Nikola Latkovski Takes Gold for Australia in the FIA Motorsport Games Digital Cup
At the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games, held in Vallelunga, Italy, on 2 November, the national representative for Australia, Cody Nikola Latkovski, took the gold medal in the Digital Cup event.
The ‘FIA Motorsport Games’ is an international competition created by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the 'Olympics of motorsport'. It was held across 6 events covering different racing disciplines, the GT Cup, the Touring Car Cup, the Formula 4 Cup, the Drifting Cup, the Karting Slalom Cup, and the Digital Cup which was powered by Gran Turismo Sport.
For the Semi-finals, competitors were split into 3 groups of 10: A, B and C; and after a Repechage, 12 competitors went through to the Grand Final.
In the Semi-final Group A, victory went to the winner of the ‘World Tour 2019 – Red Bull Hangar 7’ Nations Cup, Mikail Hizal, while Latkovski took victory in Group B, and Group C was conquered by Costa Rica’s Bernal Valverde. Having also set the fastest lap in practice the previous day, Hizal looked to be the favourite in this competition.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya served as the stage for the Grand Final as the drivers were challenged to a 19-lap One-Make race in the Red Bull X2019.
From the very start of the race, there was fierce competition between front row with Hizal in first and Latkovski in second position. Things took a turn for the worse for Hizal though on Lap 15 as he went off the track leaving first place wide open for Latkovski. While the most intense action took place on the track, the race was ultimately decided by pit strategies.
Latkovski had started the race with soft tyres, and selected the soft compound again on his first pit stop. He had gone for an ingenious 3-stop strategy, leaving the other required compounds, medium and hard, until the last 2 laps. The result of this daring strategy was such that as Latkovski left the pits for his final tyre change he was able to get back on to the track ahead of rival Valverde. And it was this incredible performance that won Latkovski the gold medal for Australia.
The silver medal went to World Tour regular Bernal Valverde, racing for Costa Rica, while the Italian ace Stefano Conte took bronze.