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Fanatec GT Pro Series: Verhagen secures victory at Paul Ricard

A one-two for Mercedes-AMG opened the third season of SRO’s eSports iteration of GT World Challenge (GTWC). GTWC Team Points remained one of the closest links between real and simulated events and were once again at stake for anyone willing to invest time and racing skills in these special side quests.

From the long straights of Monza to the long straights of Paul Ricard; In these races, there is always a lot of joy in surviving.


Neil Verhagen enjoyed great success in 2022, securing another pole position to add to his growing collection. The ROWE Racing BMW would compete against Sandy Mitchell’s K-Pax Lamborghini.

Calan Williams started from third on the grid but took pole position for the newly introduced ‘Gold’ class, while just behind him Fabrizio Crestani held the honor of the ‘Silver’ class.

Dries Vanthoor completed the top five for Team WRT, although his podium chances in the ‘Pro’ class were challenged from the start by Nicklas Nielsen in the top-placed Ferrari.


Williams would soon be thankful for the large gap between him and his nearest gold medalist, Leonardo Pulcini. The Australian dropped back significantly in the first two corners with a lot of traffic jams and eventually recovered to sixth place. Mitchell threw most of the kitchen cupboard into his attempts to overwhelm the lead but had nothing to show for it.

Further down, after a disastrous first lap, former race winner Alexey Nesov began to climb back up the leaderboard. From tenth place he had dropped halfway to twentieth place. By halftime he had 13th on his hands, hampered by a 10-second penalty he picked up after touching Jordan Pepper.

Fanatec GT World Challenge GT Pro Esports 2023, Paul Ricard, Assetto Corsa CompetizioneMitchell makes a crucial mistake

The battle for the podium on track took a new turn during the pit stop phase. Vanthoor had put Crestani under pressure before deciding to make his mandatory pit stop early. The undercut paid off well as the Dutchman had a lead of about four seconds exiting the Crestani pit lane.

Nesov’s incredible fight with Pepper continued despite the earlier focus. Unfortunately for both of them, it would end horribly – a confrontation with Bendor. Pepper was so far out of the pro fight that another five-second penalty was meaningless. However, Nesov received a drive-through penalty for several incidents. His hopes for silver points were dashed.

Fanatec GT World Challenge GT Pro Esports 2023, Paul Ricard, Assetto Corsa CompetizioneVerhagen expresses both relief and joy

In terms of leading the race, given Mitchell’s blistering pace, we were in for an exciting final five minutes. The gap was gone, but as it turned out, Mitchell’s talent vanished too at a crucial moment. The Brit lost to Verrerie and was lucky not to lose second place as well.

Vanthoor followed him across the finish line and Verhagen crowned his cool and composed performance with the win.

Fanatec GT World Challenge Esports GT Pro Series Pro Results

  1. Neil Verhagen – ROWE Racing/BMW M4 GT3 – 1st
  2. Sandy Mitchell – K-Pax Racing/Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 – 2nd – +2.229 seconds
  3. Dries Vanthoor – TeamWRT/BMW M4 GT3 – 3rd – +3.083 seconds
  4. Niklas Nielsen – AF Corse/Ferrari 296 GT3 – 5th – +14.104 seconds
  5. Thomas Drouet – Team Akkodis ASP/Mercedes-AMG GT3 – 8th – +23.916 seconds

Fanatec GT World Challenge Esports GT Pro Series Gold Results

  1. Calan Williams – Team WRT/BMW M4 GT3 – 7th – +23.613 seconds
  2. Marius Zug – Winward Racing/Mercedes-AMG GT3 – 10th – +32.571 seconds
  3. Nicolas Baert – Comtoyou Racing/Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – 16th – +1:27.444 seconds
  4. Adam Eteki – Boutsen VDS/Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – 20th – +1 lap

Fanatec GT World Challenge Esports GT Pro Series Silver Results

  1. Fabrizio Crestani – Grasser Racing Team/Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 – 4th – +7.230 seconds
  2. Alex Aka – Safe attempt/Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – 6th – +23.038 seconds
  3. Cesar Gazeau – Boutsen VDS/Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – 13th – +1:01.644 seconds
  4. Sam Dejonghe – Comtoyou Racing/Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – 15th – +1:24.137 seconds
  5. Daniele Di Amato – Dinamic GT Huber Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) – 17th – +1:33.349 seconds

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