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Olympic Esports Series: Kylian Drumont wins gold for France in Singapore

The Olympics have never had an easy relationship with esports. Be it bad advertising, inadequate formats, or the more understandable commitment to family-friendly gaming, it hardly ever wows the masses.

Luckily, despite the noise, you can always count on sim racing being a highlight alongside the also car-based Rocket League. Gran Turismo reacted quickly and secured its place as the official platform for such a competition.

This led to the Olympic Virtual Series two years ago, which eventual Nations Cup winner Valerio Gallo won.

This time, Gran Turismo is only functioning as part of the larger Olympic Esports Series.

Held live in Singapore, the fastest qualifiers competed in a single hot lap followed by a 42-lap race at Deep Forest Raceway. Is the price at stake? A gold trophy befitting the occasion.

qualifying

Angel Inostroza narrowly missed out on the 2022 Nations Cup title, and at that point has successfully spread his wings alongside other offerings in the simracing world.

The Chilean had a chance to start his 2023 Gran Turismo season in style after securing pole position ahead of Kylian Drumont. Drumont, who was given a second chance to qualify after a problem during his hot lap, was initially on course for pole position but was content with the outside pole.

Will Murdoch marked his rising star with a third place finish, relegating Adriano Carrazza to the front of the second row. José Serrano completed the top five of the twelve drivers.

race

Inostroza’s strategy was clear. As the only runner to start on the soft-compound tire, he would attempt to break away from the chasing pack and gain a sizeable lead before defending himself in the second half of the race.

The first few laps were crucial so it was okay to pull out a one second lead on the third go, but it didn’t do much for confidence.

The fall of Carrazza on the back of Murdoch worried Serrano, knowing full well that the Briton, and indeed Drumont in front of him, were following the same strategy as himself. A move had to be made and it was done thanks to an impressive performance at turn 14.

Just a few laps later, the Brazilian was threatened with losing another place. Giorgio Mangano had qualified poorly, although his race speed was the best on the middle course. He would also secure fifth place at Turn 14.

After extending his lead to just under five seconds, it was time for Inostroza to make his way to the pit lane. With 11 laps under his belt, the medium compound was next on his entry list and offered a huge advantage over those who chose the hard compound for their second stints.

Drumont was next on another four tours of the circuit. He shattered predictions by matching Inostroza’s middle call but still had work to do to make up what was now six seconds between the two.

As the first pit stop phase came to an end, Mangano’s incredible opening run became evident. Also en route to the Mediums he managed to pass Serrano who not only chose the hard compound route but also ran into traffic.

Overtaking was ultimately inevitable, but the Italian would drop back to sixth place in the medium term; Carrazza and Benjámin Hencsei enjoyed life on the soft terrain and were allowed to pass without much fuss.

The race director was there for the last time on lap 28, although a problem was looming. Unlike his second stint, where he enjoyed plenty of open air, Angel was faced with immediate traffic from Kaj de Bruin. Meanwhile, Drumont was flying and would be happy to hear that the Dutchman didn’t let Inostroza through. Soft tires were put on for the final 12-lap sprint and the deficit was just three seconds away.

As it turned out, Serrano was ready to finish after just one stop. Once again, this would come at the expense of Inostroza, who was bottlenecked in the first sector of lap 34.

Drumont floated toward the two, but for a moment it looked as if that progress would be halted. Inostroza had passed Serrano and the Frenchman had to retire on the exit of Turn 14.

His confidence was undeterred and in one of the maneuvers of the year Drumont shot past the inside of both cars at Turn 1. The double overtake earned a deserved round of applause from the live audience and meant a frustrating end to the competition for the pole sitter. At first, Serrano was ahead again, which required a second overtaking.

Murdoch was on the up, however, finding it far easier to bypass Serrano and take out Inostroza. With just two laps to go, the Brit made a bold run around the outside of Turn 1. Angel held as best he could but a touch on corner exit threw his machine off balance. He made an excellent save, although he was now definitely third.

From now on no one would deny Drumont his trophy. An excellent strategy and a determined drive had earned him the nickname “Olympic Champion of the Esports Series”.

RESULTS

  1. Kylian Drumont – 54’04.181
  2. Will Murdoch – +5,624
  3. Angel Inostroza – +7,876
  4. Adriano Carrazza – +12.701
  5. Giorgio Mangano – +13,777
  6. Karl Etyemezian – +14.808
  7. Yusuke Goto – +18,711
  8. Benjamin Hencsei – +19,678
  9. Jose Serrano – +21.326
  10. And from Bruin – +31.210

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