GT: Team Germany takes dominant victory in opening qualifying race

GT: Team Germany takes dominant victory in opening qualifying race

Team Germany secured a dominant victory in Friday's opening GT qualifying race at Circuit Paul Ricard, confirming Valentin Pierburg and Fabian Schiller as favourites to secure the gold tomorrow afternoon. 

The top four finishers came home in the same position they started, but that does not tell the story of the first competitive track action 2022 FIA Motorsport Games. Positions two through four were shuffled during the 60-minute contest, which saw plenty of drama on the 5.8 km circuit.

It was a Mercedes-AMG one-two-three from the word go. Pierburg made a solid getaway to hold his advantage, while Ian Loggie (Team UK) leapt from third to second by passing Eric Debard (Team France). The reigning British GT champion briefly had a look at Pierburg, but the German held firm. 

Once clear of the Team UK car Pierburg was able to stretch his legs to tremendous effect, pulling well clear of the chasing pack to lead by more than 15 seconds by the time the mid-race pit window opened. He handed over to Schiller, who was able to cruise home without taking any risks. 

There was plenty of action behind. Sam Neary took over the Team UK car in second spot, but Simon Gachet was quickly on his rear in the Team France machine. The local driver has a considerable experience advantage around Circuit Paul Ricard and made it count, passing Neary and easing away to secure runner-up spot. 

Neary took third, an impressive showing from a driver who was only given the nod to race this morning after Chris Froggatt fell ill. Team Poland was fourth despite a fraught opening stint for Marcin Jedlinski, which included an opening lap spin and later contact with Hong Kong China. 

Karol Basz took over for the second stint and made rapid progress, ultimately passing Team Puerto Rico to return the Team Poland Audi to its starting position. The Puerto Rican Ferrari was a strong fifth, followed by Team Brazil (Mercedes-AMG), Switzerland (Mercedes-AMG) and Lithuania (Audi). 

A second qualifying race will run tomorrow at 11:10. This will be combined with the result from this evening's contest to set the grid for the medal-deicing final, which rolls off at 14:15 CEST tomorrow afternoon. All of the action will be broadcast live on the FIA Motorsport Games YouTube channel.

> Qualifying Race 1 Result