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SRO SIM Pro Series: Pepper wins the first LAN event for HRT and Unicorns of Love

The inaugural event took place in Monza after a successful attempt at last year’s 24 Hours of Spa.

Mercedes-AMG dominated qualifying, with Tobias Gronewald on pole for Unicorns of Love in front of Dominik Blajer, Bastian Richter, Dennis Schöniger, Tobias Pfeffer and Dáire McCormack completing the top 6 lockout for the Affalterbach sports car.

The first non-AMG in the Assetto Corsa Competizione field was David Tonizza in the Lamborghini in seventh place.

As the hour-long race began, the Mercedes septet charged down to the variant del Rettifilo and not all made it out the other side.

Contact with a group of cars had a domino effect as McCormack shoved Williams team-mate Schoniger into a spin in front of the pack, only to be caught by Chris Harteveld’s Ferrari and then Gregor Schill’s BMW. Several cars escaped by either cutting the chicane or driving through the gravel.

Gronewald has made it and is in the lead, ahead of Blajer, Richter and Pfeffer, with Schöniger out through damage and McCormack in 10th place.

That meant the best non-AMG was still Tonizza’s Huracán in fifth place, followed by teammate Luca Losio in sixth place.

Only on the second lap, when Gronewald escaped, did three AMGs battle it out, and contact between all three at the Della Roggia variant saw Pfeffer jump from fourth to second place.

Tonizza would try to get through, but a lateral contact saw Richter fly into the gravel between the two Lesmos. The Lamborghini driver would receive a drive-through penalty

SRO SIM Pro Series 2023, Monza, Tobias Gronewald Unicorns of love

The Unicorns of Love’s driver’s day went from bad to worse 10 minutes later when an off-camera incident at the second chicane saw him drop to 20th place.

Meanwhile, McCormack harnessed the power of his AMG and clawed his way back to fourth within the first 10 percent of the race.

As halftime approached, former Ferrari Esports Series champion Kamil Pawlowski had struggled through the chaos and was the best of the rest.

SRO SIM Pro Series 2023, Monza, Fanatec Arena

When the mandatory pit stop window opened, the leading four stayed out the longest, with McCormack blinking first. Blajer followed shortly after, before Gronewald and Pfeffer pitted a lap later.

After being shaken out, Gronewald was still in the lead, but only 2.5 seconds behind Pfeffer. On the next lap, that gap was reduced to just 0.5 seconds.

Flash Axle Sports’ Ar Muhammad Aleef, who pitted earlier than most, was just behind Pawlowski in contention for best non-AMG. However, the ITB Sainteloc Racing driver would receive a five-second penalty for an earlier indiscretion, which would see the Ferrari 296 GT3 finish fifth after the race.

SRO Esports Sim Pro Series Tobias Pfeffer Unicorns of Love Team HRT

With 21 minutes to go, Pfeffer took the lead and dived inside another Tobias in the first corner in a clean overtake. It would be a position he would hold onto until the checkered flag and complete a Mercedes-AMG walkover.

Four more rounds of the SRO SIM Pro Series will follow over the course of the season.

SRO SIM Pro Series 2023 Round 1 Monza Results

  1. Tobias Pfeffer – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG Esports Team HRT by UOL – 1:01:28.102
  2. Tobias Gronewald – Mercedes-AMG Esports Team Unicorns of Love – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo +2,054
  3. Dominik Blajer – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo – Williams Esports +16,861
  4. Dáire McCormack – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo – Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports +32.016
  5. Ar Muhammad Aleef – Ferrari 296 GT3 – Flash Axle Sports +33.275
  6. Kamil Pawlowski – Audi R8 LMS Evo II – ITB Sainteloc Racing +34.141
  7. Chris Harteveld – Ferrari 296 GT3 – Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team +36.737
  8. Dario Iemmulo – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 – VS Racing by Ballas eSport +37.455
  9. Daniel Savini – Porsche 992 GT3 R – Jean Alesi Esports Team +44.799
  10. Arthur Kammerer – BMW M4 GT3 – BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION +49.304
  11. Luke Whitehead – McLaren Veloce – McLaren 720s GT3 +56.752
  12. Danilo Santoro – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 – Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team +57.077
  13. Jordan Sherratt – Ferrari 296 GT3 – Scuderia Ferrari Esports Team +1:02.297
  14. Luca Losio – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 – Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team +1:16.340
  15. Tristan Bollwinkel – Ferrari 296 GT3 – Grid Finder Racing +1:21.029
  16. Kieran Prendergast – Ferrari 296 GT3 – Brabham Esports Powered by O-Rouge +1:31.229
  17. Michael Romanidis – Porsche 992 GT3 R – VRS Coanda Esports +1:33.834
  18. David Tonizza – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 – Automobili Lamborghini Esports Team +1:38.897
  19. Bastian Richter – Mercedes-AMG Esports Team Unicorns of Love – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo +1 lap
  20. Leonardo Porco – Monza On-Site Qualification – BMW M4 GT3 +1 lap
  21. Gregor Schill – BMW M4 GT3 BMW M Team BS+COMPETITION +1 lap
  22. Ricardo Castro Ledo – Porsche 992 GT3 R – VRS Coanda Esports +2 laps
  23. Dennis Schoeniger – Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo – Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports – DNF
  24. Matteo Cinotti – Ferrari 296 GT3 – SPQRacing Team – DNF

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