GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint: Malinowski takes advantage of Tonizza and van der Velde’s collision

Williams Esports’ Tinko van der Velde claimed a comfortable win at the opening round of the 2023 GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint series at Monza, with Veloce’s George Boothby emerging as the youngest Dutchman’s closest challenger.

With reigning doubles champion James Baldwin dedicating more time to the ESL R1, the way was clear for a new champion in 2023, with perennial title contender David Tonizza particularly keen to fill the void.

And the tension rose even further on Lap 2 at Paul Ricard as David Toizza and Tinko van der Velde clashed towards the end of the race with Maciej Malinowski paving the way to victory for McLaren Veloce.


First blood went to Boothby in his Ferrari 296 GT3, who secured his second consecutive pole position. The Englishman was just 0.005s ahead of Tonizza, with the top eight runners in the Pro class less than a tenth behind.

On pole position in silver was Daniil Tylyk from SMP Racing. He finished ninth overall, more than three tenths ahead of round one winner Valentin Barrier and 13 spots better.


After the rolling start, Boothby mastered the first set of corners cleanly and held first place, followed by Tonizza. Behind, van der Velde was attacked by Maciej Malinowski’s Veloce McLaren and reclaimed third place down the long Mistral straight.

Williams Esports’ Dáire McCormack had also joined the leading group and nearly grabbed the slower 720S GT3 while fending off teammate Dennis Schöniger.

The top battle quickly turned into a tough duel as the top six cars went head-to-head in vehicular battles. Tonizza launched an aggressive attack on Boothby and took the lead with van der Velde also looking for a way through the game.

Assetto Corsa COMPetizione, Paul Ricard, SRO Esports Europe Sprint

Behind them, the two Mercedes-AMGs of McCormack and Schöniger tried to overtake Mikhail Statsenko’s Audi R8 LMS Evo II, with the Williams pair even rubbing the paint off in the process. The race heated up but unfortunately boiled over when the pit window opened and McCormack hit the Mistral’s anti-cuts, resulting in a high-speed spin.

Van der Velde, meanwhile, had also moved past Boothby into second, setting purple sectors as he chased Tonizza’s Automobili Lamborghini Squadra Corse Huracán GT3 Evo 2. Boothby and van der Velde boxed halfway, Tonizza pitted a lap later.

The pit exit action was exciting as Tonizza came out of the pit lane alongside van der Velde and the two ran side-by-side through Turn 1. A few corners later there was a light touch, Boothby and Malinowski watched and waited for Shreds.

Assetto Corsa COMPetizione, Paul Ricard, SRO Esports Europe Sprint

Van der Velde did well on the Mistral and had enough top speed to get back on the racing line in front of Signes but struggled to build a comfortable lead.

In Silver, YAS Heat’s Valentin Barrier impressively fought his way to the front of the field despite making his fifth start in his class, ahead of pole sitter Daniil Tylyk, who later received a post-race penalty and was eliminated from the standings.

However, in the battle for the pro podium, Boothby lost ground to the top duo while his Veloce teammate Malinowski caught up. In a selfless act of teamwork, Boothby let the VR-wearing Pole through and duly placed the lead pair.

Assetto Corsa COMPetizione, Paul Ricard, SRO Esports Europe Sprint

Speaking of which, the top fight should be physical. With about five minutes to go, Tonizza took the lead by displacing Signes, but in his attempt to retake position, van der Velde hit the Lamborghini’s rear left quarter, knocking it out of the race. Van der Velde was back in the lead but would there be a penalty?

It was a bizarrely careless maneuver and the Dutchman was penalized with a 30-second penalty shortly after, dropping him to 14th in the Pro class at the checkered flag. Tonizza rejoined the action and would finish fourth, but his chance for the win was gone.

Surprisingly, Malinowski decided not to wait for the official confirmation of van der Velde’s penalty, but launched an overtaking maneuver in the last corner, took the lead and built up an advantage. Boothby was close behind and made a Veloce sandwich out of it.

Assetto Corsa COMPetizione, Paul Ricard, SRO Esports Europe Sprint

After van der Velde’s penalty was converted, Mikhail Statsenko moved up to the third step of the podium while Tonizza took an injured fourth place. Fastest lap holder Grantas Kareckas finished fifth in another Veloce car, cementing the team’s recent win at the Bathurst Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Van der Velde lost the most to Paul Ricard, with Tonizza saving a decent haul of points in fourth, but Boothby emerged as the biggest winner; He secured his second consecutive second place finish and led the championship by 15 points.

Valentin Barrier clinched another Silver win and led by a maximum score of 70 points, but Williams Esports Fanatec’s Vojtech Fiala keeps him in second place after two podiums.

Assetto Corsa COMPetizione, Paul Ricard, SRO Esports Europe Sprint

2023 GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Round 2 – Paul Ricard – Pro Race Results

  1. Maciej Malinowski McLaren 720S GT3 McLaren Veloce 1:01:19.225
  2. George Boothby Ferrari 296 GT3 Veloce Esports +1.775
  3. Mikhail Statsenko Audi R8 LMS Evo II ITB Sainteloc Racing +3.071
  4. David Tonizza Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 Automobili Lamborghini Squadra Corse +3.462
  5. Grant Kareck McLaren 720S GT3 McLaren Veloce +7.411

2023 GT World Challenge Esports Europe Sprint Round 2 – Paul Ricard – Silver Race Results

  1. Valentin Barrier Ferrari 296 GT3 YAS Heat Esports +22,340
  2. Vojtech Fiala Porsche 992 GT3 R Williams Esports Fanatec +29.036
  3. Danila Cherepenin Mercedes-AMG GT3 2020 SMP Racing Esports +31,753
  4. Dario Iemmulo Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 VS Racing by Ballas +34,390
  5. Michael Romagnoli Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 Absolute Res-Tech by Acelith +35.670

Ranking of GT World Challenge Esports Europe Championship 2023

  1. George Boothby, Ferrari 296 GT3, Veloce Esports, 61 points
  2. David Tonizza, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, Automobili Lamborghini Squadra Corse, 46 points
  3. Mikhail Statsenko, Audi R8 LMS Evo II, ITB Sainteloc Racing, 43 points
  4. Maciej Malinowski, McLaren 720S GT3, McLaren Veloce, 39 points
  5. Tinko van der Velde, Ferrari 296 GT3, Williams Esports Razer, 38 points


  • May 3 – Monza
  • May 24th – Circuit Paul Ricard
  • 21 June – Spa Francorchamps
  • July 19 – Nurburgring
  • August 23 – Barcelona

Prize pool: €18,500

Images courtesy of Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS

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