Gilles Magnus dominant for Belgium in first Motorsport Games race
Belgium’s Gilles Magnus won the Qualification Race for the Motorsport Games Touring Car Cup at Paul Ricard to put himself on pole for the medal-awarding Main Race.
The Comtoyou Racing driver had a lights-to-flag run in the first race of the weekend and led a one-two for the team as team-mate Tom Coronel finished second place representing the Netherlands.
Coronel started from the front row and cut across to the inside on the run to the first corner to hold back Ireland’s ALM Motorsport-run Jack Young. He was then unchallenged in second place, and will start there for the Main Race later in the day.
Young initially had to look in his mirrors at Sweden’s Andreas Bäckman, but he took to the pits to retire halfway through the race due to issues with his Audi RS 3 LMS. He was not the only Comtotyou driver hamstrung by car problems, as Ukraine’s Pavlo Chabanov did not get off the grid and Canada’s Travis Hill had to retire in the pitlane.
However Bäckman’s retirement did not make Young’s route to third any easier, as he soon picked up a five-second penalty for track limits abuse. That provisionally dropped him behind the battling Teddy Clairet (France) and Isidro Callejas (Spain).
To get to Clairet, Callejas had to make a forceful pass on Argentina’s Ignacio Montenegro on lap three and then spend the next five laps hunting down the Frenchman. Once he reached him there was some side-by-side action before he made a move, but only a few corners later Clairet got back past at the chicane in the Mistral straight.
A panel-bashing move on lap 11 of 13 brought Callejas back past Clairet, and his robust defence of fourth place after that enabled Young to extend his gap over the pair to beyond five seconds.
There was another twist on the final lap as Callejas was given a five-second penalty for causing a collision, and it meant Young secured third place by 2.312s ahead of Clairet.
Montenegro moved back up to fifth following Callejas’s penalty, and there was no further action taken on his clash with Callejas, and Latvia’s Valters Zviedris finished seventh.
Andy Yan was eighth, and Switzerland’ Ganriel Lusquiños came ninth after Venezuela’s Sergio Lopez passed him at Signes but then spun around the front of him on the run to Beausset moments later.
The last-placed finisher was Italy’s Giacomo Ghermandi in 14th after he was handed a five-second penalty for track limits.
Brazil’s Raphael Reis twice faced his car not launching away, on the formation lap and on the grid, and ended up not starting the race.
The main race starts at 14:30 CET.