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Ferrari newcomer Andonovski wins at Lime Rock Park | traction

Round 4 of the GT Challenge saw Jernej Simončič claim another win in what has largely been a dominating season for the Slovenian.

However, his chances of claiming the 2023 crown were marred by two non-finishes, with Scuderia Ferrari Esports team’s Dennis Jordan emerging as the championship’s most consistent driver at the top of the standings.

The tight corners and twists of Lime Rock Park awaited the drivers on Lap 5, with the track arguably favoring the nimbler Ferraris and McLarens over the Mercedes-AMG juggernauts (including Burst Esports duo Michi Hoyer and Simončič).

The field lines up on its formation lap

qualification

With Lime Rock’s tight uphill chicane layout, qualifying at the front of the field was paramount. Surprisingly, Diogo Silva secured pole position in his BMW M4 GT3 and led Hoyer by almost half a tenth of a second.

Behind was the Ferrari duo of Timotej Andonovski (signed by the Maranello team ahead of the second round at Sebring) and Alex Siebel, followed by Simončič in fifth place. Championship leader Jordan qualified seventh so had some work to do to maintain his title buffer.

rFactor 2, GT Challenge, Lime Rock Park, GT3sSimončič faced some grid issues and tried to line up in his original position

race

Silva got off to a slow start and was quickly caught by Andonovski, Hoyer and Simončič at Turn 1. Siebel fell back from the leading group almost immediately and finished just ahead of teammate Jordan. However, there was some confusion about the launch procedure, which would have huge repercussions later on.

Up front it was fellow Ferrari Andonovski who made moves as he sent him around Hoyer at Turn 1, with the German being firm but fair in his defense but ultimately unable to stop the Macedonian from to take the lead.

rFactor 2, GT Challenge, Lime Rock Park, GT3sHoyer leads into Turn 1

Drama ensued as Simončič pitted to serve a penalty – presumably for not being in the right position early in the race – and moving everyone behind them up a position, including championship rivals Siebel and Jordan.

incidents

A quarter of the way into the race, Ercan and Silva were engaged in a bitter battle for third place, resulting in an unfortunate contact and ending Ercan’s podium hopes in the uphill chicane. As a result, Jordan outplayed his teammate and took aim at Silva.

rFactor 2, GT Challenge, Lime Rock Park, GT3sErcan clashes with Silva

The incident put the pack behind it, resulting in Jake Denehan running Jimi Nisula through the final corner. His Audi bounced unfavorably off the inside edge, catching the McLaren and causing the Irishman’s immediate retirement. Nisula would continue, albeit with significant damage.

A few laps later, on the same corner, Jordan robustly passed Silva, letting two other cars through, including a grateful Siebel.

With a few minutes to go, Siebel and Jordan swapped positions when Jordan was unexpectedly obstructed by slow traffic heading towards the pit lane. He lost the position to his teammates, but things could have been much worse for the German. The Ferrari duo finished down the race line in third and fourth place, almost 10 seconds behind the leading pair Andonovski and Hoyer.

rFactor 2, GT Challenge, Lime Rock Park, GT3sDenehan tagged Nisula

And it was Andonovski who held on to Hoyer’s win, impressively handling the Burst Esport rider’s race-long pressure. Siebel and Jordan consolidated their second and first places in the championship, respectively, with Arda Ercan finishing fifth and Jernej Simončič taking an inspired sixth place after a rousing comeback.

With one lap to go on the street circuit at Daytona International Speedway, the championship looks to be in the hands of Dennis Jordan and the Scuderia Ferrari Esports team. Can someone stop her?

rFactor 2, GT Challenge, Lime Rock Park, GT3sAndonovski held off a stubborn attack from Hoyer

GT Challenge 2023 Round 5 Lime Rock Park Results

  1. Timothy Andonovski
  2. Michi Hoyer
  3. Alex Siebel
  4. Dennis Jordan
  5. Arda Ercan
  6. Jernej Simoncic
  7. Fabian Baklle
  8. Diogo Silva
  9. Remy Delorme
  10. Remko Major

GT Challenge 2023 driver standings after round 5

  1. Dennis Jordan – 638 points
  2. Alex Siebel – 623 points
  3. Michi Hoyer – 615 points
  4. Jernej Simončič – 606 points
  5. Timothy Andonovski – 602 points
  6. Daniel Stepkowski – 602 points
  7. Arda Ercan – 588 points
  8. Jimi Nisula – 583 points
  9. Fabian Ball – 572 points
  10. Michael Le Roux – 560 points

GT Challenge 2023 calendar

  • Qualification | February 21 – March 19
  • Rd1 – Long Beach – March 27th
  • Rd2 – Sebring – April 3rd
  • Rd3 – Laguna Seca – April 10th
  • Rd4 – Indianapolis – April 17th
  • Rd5 – Lime Rock Park – April 24th
  • Rd6 – Daytona – May 1st

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