Race Report

Unpredictable weather results in an unpredictable finish at Spa

Gran Turismo World Series 2022 Nations Cup - Round 2

STAVELOT, Belgium (October 9, 2022) – On the heels of World Series Showdown—the first live event since early 2020—the 2022 World Series continued today with Round 2 of the Nations Cup. While this event was contested remotely, the competition was nonetheless fierce as the best 12 drivers in the world battled hard at the historic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. In late July, newcomer Kylian Drumont of France surprised everyone by taking the World Series Showdown crown and catapulting himself to 2nd place in the championship. Coming into this round, he sat one point behind the series leader, Brazil’s Igor Fraga (seven points), while Ryota Kokubun of Japan and Lucas Bonelli of Brazil were positioned in 3rd place with four points each. With defending Nations Cup champion, Italy’s Valerio Gallo, and the always-quick Jose Serrano of Spain still trying to find their stride this year, it was still anyone’s guess who would reign supreme in 2022.

Round 2: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Inclement weather was in the forecast for the 12-lap contest around Spa-Francorchamps. The drivers were strapped into Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversions painted in their respective country’s colors. Each player was required to make one pitstop; however, there were no regulations as to which tire they had to use.

Brazil’s Lucas Bonelli (TGT_BONELLI) sat on pole, while in the Two Spot was Angel Inostroza of Chile (YASHEAT_Loyrot), whose familiarity with Porsches could serve him well in this race (he drives for Team Porsche in the Manufacturers Cup). The next row consisted of Valerio Gallo (Williams_BRacer) of Italy and José Serrano of Spain (TDG_JOSETE). Of note, the entire 12-car field opted to start the race on the soft-compound dry tires.

As soon as he left the standing start line, Inostroza wasted no time in getting to work, taking Bonelli’s green-and-yellow Porsche on the outside through Eau Rouge. Gallo followed suit, passing Bonelli on the Kemmel Straight at 270 km/h, leaving the pole sitter in 3rd place. Heavy traffic at the front of the pack caused havoc for Gallo and Serrano through Les Combes (Turns 7, 8 and 9) when they were forced off track by Adriano Carrazza of Brazil (Didico_15). Serrano was able to return to the track in P2, but Gallo dropped to 11th place.

By Lap 4, Inostroza began separating himself from the rest of the field, building up a 3.0-second lead. This left P2 to P6 in a tightly knit pack, with Bonelli, Japan’s Kanata Kawakami (SG_Kawakana), Serrano, Baptiste Beauvois of France (R8G_TSUTSU) and 2019 Nations Cup champion Igor Fraga of Brazil (IOF_RACING17) vying vehemently for position. And, from the twitching and sliding of the cars through the corners, it was becoming apparent that the soft-compound tires were beginning to lose their effectiveness.

The running order remained all but unchanged until the end of Lap 6 when Serrano chose to pit and take on intermediate tires, which are slower than the soft-compound tires on a dry track, but provided slightly more grip on wet surfaces. Was he predicting rain?

Sure enough, midway through Lap 7, raindrops began falling from the darkened sky, slowing the pace of the cars significantly. The rest of the drivers were now desperate to get to the pits, as they slid their way through the tricky track with their windshield wipers on full blast. Incredibly, Inostroza chose to stay out, while Bonelli, Kawakami, Beauvois and Fraga came in for the intermediate tires.

After enjoying the extra time running in clean air, Inostroza pitted at the end of Lap 8, swapping his soft-compound tires for the intermediates. He returned to the track in the lead, 2.5 seconds in front of Gallo, who had miraculously worked his way up to 2nd place.

The skies began to open for the closing laps of the race, as Inostroza maintained his lightning pace, keeping ahead of Gallo and Japan’s Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) who impressively worked his way from a P10 starting position to 3rd place. Lap 10 saw the track start to dry, giving a slight advantage to Tomoaki Yamanaka of Japan (yamado_racing38), who was the only one on soft-compound tires. His predicament was that he was still way back in 9th place; nevertheless, on the final lap of the race, he decided to go for broke.

Yamanaka overtook Fraga through Turn 1, taking full advantage of his sticky tires on the dry track. He bumped Baptiste out of the way through Les Combes to climb to P5, and although he was assessed a one-second penalty for the infraction, he kept his sights set on Bonelli, who he raced past through the next corner. He had made it to P4, but time had run out. If the race had gone one more lap, the Japanese driver may well have scored a win.

But in the end, it was Angel Inostroza taking the checkered flag after leading almost the entire race. Coming in 2nd place was Valerio Gallo who showed a warrior’s mentality coming back from P11 to take a spot on the podium. In P3 was Ryota Kokubun, whose one-point award gave him a total of five for the championship and sole possession of 3rd place. Still in the lead was Igor Fraga with seven, followed by Kylian Drumont with six.

“The start was pretty much perfect. I managed to take Bonelli, and I was trying to do my best and drive as fast as I can. Nobody knew when the rain would come...it was a little bit of a lottery, but I entered the pits when I needed to, and it all worked out perfectly. I can finally say that I won a Nations Cup race!” Inostroza said after his win.

All of the action can be watched on the official Gran Turismo YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/GranTurismoOfficial/ and more information is available on gran-turismo.com

Rank Driver Time
1 Angel Inostroza YASHEAT_Loyrot 28:25.089
2 Valerio Gallo Williams_BRacer + 03.055
3 Ryota Kokubun Akagi_1942mi + 03.707
4 Tomoaki Yamanaka yamado_racing38 + 04.829
5 Lucas Bonelli TGT_BONELLI + 08.788
6 Baptiste Beauvois R8G_TSUTSU + 09.009
7 Igor Fraga IOF_RACING17 + 09.243
8 Kylian Drumont PRiMA_Kylian19 + 11.341
9 Kanata Kawakami SG_Kawakana + 11.805
10 José Serrano TDG_JOSETE + 14.838
11 Matthew McEwen AE_McEwen + 18.802
12 Adriano Carrazza Didico__15 + 52.017