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BMW M SIM Cup: URANO monopoly overturned by Apex Racing Academy in hectic Watkins Glen

Depth Strength is often a highly sought-after quality, no matter what esports your team belongs to.

From your clutch stays to the perfect replacement when things need a little shake up, it never hurts to have options. For URANO eSports, the opportunities within the BMW M SIM Cup 2023 are fruitful and numerous.

Four races, four victories in the GTP class. While not as successful, Team Redline also enjoyed some time in the proverbial sun; The most famous team in sim racing with multiple victories in the GT3 category.

Heading into the halfway point of the year also meant heading toward the halfway point in the championship. Round 5 at Watkins Glen meant a decisive challenge for any team brave enough to prevent either giant from wiping out the remaining competition.

qualifying

Championship leader Dominik Hofmann narrowly missed pole position last time and didn’t miss another chance on American soil.

His fastest time was half a tenth ahead of his closest rival, a very impressive Drago Racing’s Arturo Melgar. The Huawei team was fourth in the hands of Yoep de Light, just behind Valtteri Alander’s BS+Turner.

The biggest surprise was undoubtedly Jonas Wallmeier’s poor qualifying form. The URANO datagroup entry has had a miserable time; was only enough for eleventh place.

Grid-and-Go.com was back for more spotlight action in the GT3 class – Sven Haase was even better than his last attempt and claimed his first pole position in the series. The #20 Redline was on the verge of a brutal defeat, but had to settle for second place. Chris Lulham would lead the GT3 points leaders first stint.

race

Lessons were learned at the Nürburgring, as Hofmann’s dominant start proves. But while there were early signs that the pursuers would argue too much, the exact opposite scenario unfolded.

Melgar happily broke away from Alander in third place, giving himself a chance to catch up with the pacemaker. This chance would pay off only a few minutes later, as the traffic towards Hofmann was unfriendly; the German loses first from toe.

Aside from Moreno Sirica’s spectacular failure at the doomed Williams Chillblast, the rest of the first half hour passed without major incident. With almost ninety minutes to go, both battles for the lead became increasingly heated.

First, Haase’s defense collapsed as Lulham took the lead in the GT3 field. Then we experienced a disaster for Hofmann; A botched overtake outside the entrance to the Inner Loop ultimately resulted in contact with de Light and a mangled front end.

Much like his ex-classmate, Haase’s day was only going to get a whole lot worse. The contact with the lapping BS+Turner in turn 10 sent Grid-and-Go.com into a tailspin. Luckily his car was still in one piece, although his chances of a podium were all but gone. At least you might think so – the rest of his opponents seemed intent on proving him wrong.

Things just got more and more personal between Gianni Vecchio and Luke McKeown. The apex driver was frustrated at the lack of progress towards the fleeing Lulham, while the redline was quite happy to watch the scene unfold.

Things came to a head on the backstretch when Vecchio was far too aggressive in his defense and pushed McKeown onto the turf. Tears and bruises were inevitable. Rightly so, Vecchio did significantly worse.

After completing the first phase of the pit stop, Przemyslaw Lemanek found himself in a live situation. Alander was breathing down his neck in the BS+Turner.

That pressure eventually gripped the Drago rider uphill at Turn 3 when a misjudgment of traffic caused a bloodbath. Another leader was not in the race.

The #198 Apex Racing Academy car, driven by Owen Caryl, was struggling to overtake due to the constant mess in front of him.

As if on cue, the hour brought another vacancy as Kenneth Gulbrandsen got cornered in the last corner. With that pass, Caryl was now in second place.

Extraordinarily, her happiness seemed limitless in its fullness. For the third time in the race, the leader was on his way to an early dip. Alander simply misread the entry into the inside loop and suffered fatal damage before Pedro Sanchez Albert could spin a wheel.

Once inside the miraculously guiding Apex Academy machine, all Patrick Wolf had to do was drive the car home for forty minutes. He mastered an apparently impossible task that day with flying colors and had the honor of stopping URANO’s winning streak.

Diogo Pinto in the GT3 #20 Redline had a similar experience. Lulham had set him up beautifully for a fairly comfortable hour-long ride to another win for a duo who are now likely to be unassailable.

GTP RESULTS

  1. Owen Caryl/Patrick Wolf – Apex Racing Academy – GUIDE
  2. Niklas Beu/Fraser Williamson – Mivano Simracing Team – +11.645
  3. Jonas Wallmeier/Vlad Khimichev – URANO eSports Datagroup – +12.059
  4. Matt Farrow/Mike Partington – Williams Esports MAHLE – +36.205
  5. Carl Jansson/Kenneth Guldbrandsen – Williams Esports Fanatec – +36.452

GT3 RESULTS

  1. Chris Lulham/Diogo Pinto – Team Redline – LEADER
  2. Tom Burns/Josh Thompson – Team Redline – +13.616
  3. Kody Deith/Mateusz Nogaj – Williams Esports Heusinkveld – +15.594
  4. Elias Raikaa/Felix Quirmback – BS+Competition – +20.541
  5. Luke McKeown/Elvis Rankin – Apex Racing Team – +20.685

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