The second meeting of the inaugural season zero E1 Championship saw GT Radial Eurasia Motorsport competing in a virtual environment at Shanghai, China. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best of days in the simulator environment, with damage triggering two significant spins that subsequently eliminated hopes of further podium positions.
Following the success off the opening two rounds in Malaysia, GT Radial Eurasia Motorsport had high hopes of further improving on its fourth position in the championship. Despite the best efforts of the team and it’s two young chargers, Inigo Anton and Joaquin Garrido, the team now prepare for the next round in Dubai having finished outside of the top ten in both Chinese rounds.
There was plenty of potential, especially from Anton who once again showed great pace, despite the extra 12 kilos of ballast into the e-sports races. The first race saw him start in fourth position, lose ground initially before fighting his way back up the order. However, his #11 FRX17 entry had sustained damage in those opening laps and this resulted in a spin, dropping the Filipino into eighth position.
A further moment saw Anton drop further down the order, but to his credit, he battled on in less than ideal conditions to earn a hard-fought 12th position at the chequered flag. With a little good fortune, this turned into pole position for the second, longer, 30-minute race. He made best use of the track position to lead the opening lap of the race, extending his margin over the field to 3.5-seconds by lap two.
However, with Naquib Azlan on the move through the field, he found himself under pressure from the Stratos Motorsports driver. Clearly down on straight line-speed with his rival taking advantage of DRS, Anton was powerless to defend his race lead on lap six. It was a similar story when Ayman Aqeem got into the tow two-laps later, making the pass for second position. The pivotal moment came just seconds later at the start of lap nine when Anton lost the rear of the car heading into the first turn, effectively ending his day on the spot.
Teammate Garrido also had an eventful 45-minutes of racing, finishing the first race in 11th position. Starting the next round second on the grid, he found himself forced wide at the first turn by the pack, losing his initial momentum and picking up steering damage as a result. Garrido battled on to eventually finish in 12th position taking nine points, with Anton on six.
While it wasn’t the team’s lucky day, 61 points on the board sees GT Radial Eurasia Motorsport heading to Dubai next week in fifth position in the championship.
Mark Goddard, GT Radial Eurasia Motorsport Team Principal
“In the first race, Inigo suffered damage early on which made the car very difficult to control and the subsequent spin lost a lot of time. He did well to get the car to the end. Joaquin also suffered damage and a steering problem.
“Race two was great for Inigo, leading so many laps. However, all the tyres were flat-spotted and punctured in the spin and that was the cause of his retirement. Joaquin was on for a top ten finish until he spun but he did well with flat spots to finish the race. It’s not been our lucky day, but now we need to focus on next week’s challenge in Dubai.”