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BMW M SIM Cup: #4 URANO celebrates second victory in Sebring, #20 Redline wins in the GT3 class

Vlad Khimichev and Jonas Wallmeier led the #4 URANO eSports BMW M Hybrid V8 to victory at the second round of the BMW M Sim Cup in Sebring.

At the start of the BMW M SIM Cup in 2023, everyone had something to say. To say it was eventful would be an understatement, but what’s sim racing without a little spice in between?

Although URANO eSports inherited the spoils of war very much, it won both classes around the Daytona International Speedway. They would hope to demonstrate a similar commitment to survival and consistency in Round 2 at Sebring International Raceway on Sunday (March 19).

qualification

Pedro Sanchez Albert, who recently joined BS+COMPETITION from Obsidian Racing, couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying session.

His new team enjoyed GTP pole position thanks to a tenth advantage over Owen Caryl’s Apex Racing Academy machine.

This was something of a boost for the books as the older Apex team could only complete one lap good enough for fourth place through Ben Fuller. Edoardo Leo from Mivano Corse separated the sister stables.

Florian Lebigre sat pretty much on GT3 pole position, although the ranges were much narrower in this category.

HardMode’s Matti Sipilä was within two hundredths of the R8G driver’s time, while three Team Redline drivers were less than nine hundredths away.

Chris Lulham, Gianni Vecchio and Tom Burns – who started third, fourth and sixth respectively – hoped to find great solace in potential team plays throughout the competition.

race

While Albert’s performance in qualifying was well-deserved, his start to the race was practically gift-wrapped. The Spaniard’s escape was great, helped by a rather sloppy reaction to the lights from Caryl. Leo wrestled away from the Apex rider for second, with the turn 5 move complete.

As the BS+ sprinted away, attention turned to the GT3 class, which seemed significantly closer for the first few laps. Lebigre handled the situation well enough, although Sipilä would take the lead before the first ten minutes were up. The Redline trio hadn’t acted much in the narrative up to this point, although they were featured soon enough for not the best of reasons.

First was Vecchio, who lost his brakes dramatically at the hairpin, forcing a very early retirement. Then came Burns, who was last seen parked on the curb before confirming a second Redline car was out of procedure. All of this took place against the background of the first lapping of the GT3 field in the GTP class. Not a time to look back on fondly.

Thankfully, a calm followed the storm, with the only notable story being Caryl’s inability to maintain podium pace.

After forty minutes he lost third place to Vlad Khimichev’s URANO and was now being chased by Fuller in Apex Racing’s sister machine. All three drivers would gain a position in the short term thanks to a very early stop for Leo, a stop that Fuller had chosen appropriately.

This call forced both Khimichev and Albert with both cars first and second in the ensuing rotation. It worked beautifully for the URANO, which got back to the front of the circuit. It was awful for the BS+ who was hit by the Williams Esports Razer GT3 machine both losing even more time.

Livegre’s pace began to slow, as evidenced by a smooth run through Sunset Bend by Lulham. It was no surprise then when the R8G colors headed towards the pit lane first in the GT3 lead battle.

Jesse Jones was tasked with the “hammer time,” though the anvil didn’t fall fast enough and quick reactions saved both the HardMode and Redline track positions.

Another quiet twenty minutes passed before race director Khimichev was back in the pit lane. Leo, Albert and Caryl all followed on the next lap, though Fuller oddly kept his apex car out for much longer.

An exciting duel ensued during the pit exit for his successor Daniel Sivi-Szabo with Dominik Hofmann; a duel that initially ended in defeat.

A man in tricky form, Kevin Ellis Jr. was preparing for something violent after taking charge of the #98 Apex Racing GT3. Jones sadly watched as R8G slipped off the podium while Ellis Jr. sped into the distance trying to close a two-second gap on the leading duo.

This was done in just ten minutes, encouraging Diogo Pinto to hurry. A well-timed move into Turn 1 gave Redline the class lead.

Given Ellis Jr.’s efforts to pass Antti Ahola, that would prove crucial. The Finn held off the Brit for as long as possible before it became apparent that a second trip to the pits was required after the brief refueling session. This dropped HardMode’s #995 to fifth place and earned Jimmy Antunes a free podium for Team Fondue.

Jonas Wallmeier easily saw the checkered flag and clinched the second win of the season for the #4 URANO ahead of Fraser Williamson’s Mivano and Valtteri Alander’s BS+.

Pinto brought Redline back to the top in the GT3 category; The drama wasn’t over until Jones ran out of fuel and R8G fell back to fifth place from a class pole position.

GTP RESULTS

  1. Vlad Khimichev/Jonas Wallmeier – URANO Esports Datagroup – LEADER
  2. Edoardo Leo/Fraser Williamson – SRC Mivano Corse GTP Pink – +04.454
  3. Pedro Sanchez Albert/Valtteri Alander – BS+ Competition – +17.603
  4. Dominik Hofmann/Daniel Alver Lourenco – Urano Esports – +18,536
  5. Ben Fuller/Daniel Sivi-Szabo – Apex Racing Team – +23.013

GT3 RESULTS

  1. Chris Lulham/Diogo C. Pinto – Team Redline – LEADER
  2. Luke McKeown/Kevin Ellis Jr – Apex Racing Team – +5.108
  3. Leandro Anderrüti/Jimmy Antunes – BMW Team Fondue – +14.105
  4. Matti Sipilä/Antti Ahola – HardMode – +29.832
  5. Florian Lebigre/Jesse Jones – R8G Esports – +30,313

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