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GT Challenge: Nisula triumphs as Jordan wins the championship

Ahead of the final race of the 2023 GT Challenge competition, Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team’s Dennis Jordan had the championship firmly under control.

Thanks to consistency rather than blinding speed, the German held a commanding 15-point lead over teammate Alex Seibel, with Burst Esports duo Michi Hoyer and Jernej Simončič a further eight and 17 points adrift, respectively.

Simončič has set the benchmark in terms of pace this season: the Slovenian has notched up three wins so far. Despite being unlucky in three events, his pace was never in question and he can describe himself as unfortunate not to be leading the series.

However, the Ferrari trio of Jordan, Seibel and new teammate Timotej Andonovski played the team game perfectly and adopted a pragmatic approach to racing, with Andonovski the most confident of the three thanks to his surefire win at Lime Rock Park.

qualification

The final lap was set to take place on the street circuit at Daytona International Speedway, with Jimi Nisula taking a surprise pole position in his older McLaren 650S GT3.

Mickael Le Roux would join him on the front row while Jordan slipped to third, giving him a great opportunity to claim the crown. However, Simončič started alongside, while the other World Championship protagonists Seibel and Hoyer ended up further down in seventh and a disappointed 14th place respectively.

With the prospect of a 90-minute race including a mandatory pit stop, those who qualified further down the grid could at least plan an alternative race strategy.

Simončič beats Le Roux to Nisula at the rolling start

race

Jernej Simončič’s strategy on the line was perfectly clear. The Slovenian bump pulled Le Roux past Nisula while Simončič slid inside at Horseshoe and finished second. Nisula had a good run on Simončič soon after and took second place before catching up with leader Le Roux.

Behind them, Jordan was closing in on Simončič’s back, both deciding to work together so anxious were they to join the leadership battle. However, Simončič acted as a cork in the bottle at this point, with Fabian Balle benefiting by diving through the interior of Jordan at Turn 1.

Nisula launches another attack on Le Roux

At the front, Nisula had launched attack after attack at Le Roux, with the Mercedes-AMG driver holding up impressively. Until Nisula took advantage of a superlative through Turn 7 towards the Le Mans chicane and took the lead before the pit stop phase.

With 42 minutes to go, Nisula made his mandatory stop as Le Roux pitted a lap later. Surprisingly, Le Roux managed the overcut work and emerged in front of Nisula, who faced the prospect of another convoluted overtaking to claim victory.

One more lap later, Jordan, Simončič and Andonovski made their stops and it became clear that Simončič had made a brave strategic decision to either change just two tires or do a quick refueling. Regardless, he jumped to the front of the field with it, gaining at least eight seconds over the leading pair.

After the pit stop phase, Simončič took the lead

head to head

Nisula made a quick move on Le Roux and was right behind Simončič while Jordan pushed Le Roux forward to join the fun. Due to the excess speed, however, the race was now a clear battle between Nisula and Simončič for victory.

Both drivers pushed so hard that Simončič overbraked himself at Turn 1 under pressure from Nisula with about 13 minutes to go. Contact was made and Nisula’s McLaren deservedly took the lead.

Simončič meets Nisula at Turn 1

The run to the checkered flag on the final lap was equally exciting, with Simončič staying in Nisula’s slipstream for a final shot at first position. As he rolled through the final banked corner, Simončič made his move, the pair head-to-head across the line.

Nisula took the win by just nine-thousandths of a second. Le Roux took a respectable third place, with new GT Challenge champion Jordan fourth.

The run to the line

Despite not winning a race all season, Jordan’s extremely consistent performances earned him a deserved GT Challenge championship, helped by successful performances from his Ferrari teammates – Siebel and Andonovski finished second and fifth overall.

Burst Esports pair Hoyer and Simončič finished third and fourth respectively, with Simončič struggling at Long Beach and Sebring that would undoubtedly have made him a contender for the series.

GT Challenge, rFactor 2, Daytona International SpeedwayNisula ended a mixed season with a well-deserved win

2023 GT Challenge Results, Round 6, Daytona International Speedway Road Course

  1. Jimi Nisula
  2. Jernej Simoncic
  3. Michael Leroux
  4. Dennis Jordan
  5. Fabian Balle
  6. Timothy Andonovski
  7. Alex Siebel
  8. Henri Sinik
  9. Remko Major
  10. Michi Hoyer

GT Challenge 2023 Final Drivers Championship

  1. Dennis Jordan – 725 points
  2. Alex Siebel – 707 points
  3. Michi Hoyer – 697 points
  4. Jernej Simončič – 694 points
  5. Timothy Andonovski – 688 points
  6. Jimi Nisula – 679 points
  7. Daniel Stepkowski – 666 points
  8. Arda Ercan – 661 ​​points
  9. Fabian Bale – 660 points
  10. Michael Le Roux – 650 points

GT Challenge: Nisula triumphs as Jordan wins the championshipJordan was fourth consistently but ended up GT Challenge Champion

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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