Marcucci Heads 1 – 2 For Audi In E-Sport GT Series Pro Race At Spa (10.05.20)

Lorenzo Marcucci, in the #188 Audi, took the Pro Series victory at Spa-Francorchamps, the first of the Belgian double-header in Round Two of the 2020 E-Sport GT Series at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Marcucci, at the wheel of the #188 LP Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo, started the 60-minute race from pole position, having lapped the 7.004km iconic circuit in 2:16.134 in qualifying, .699 seconds ahead of Iván Pareras in the Phoenix Racing Audi. Jordan Pepper, winner of the opening round, started from 27th on the grid.

Marcucci got away cleanly and led Pareras through Eau Rouge and Radillon before Nicolas Hillebrand, in the Buttler-Pal Motorsport Ferrari F488 GT3, passed the 19-year-old Spanish driver for second.

At the end of Lap One the Audi pilot was nearly a second clear of Hillebrand in second while Raffaele Marciello, piloting the Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, had dropped to tenth place and was quickly passed by Michael O’Brien, the Italian having a disappointing start to the race.

After 11 minutes of racing, Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, driving the Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3, was given a 30-second penalty for causing a collision at the Bus Stop.

Wildcard entry Jean-Eric Vergne was disqualified for driving the wrong way down the pit lane while Marciello remained stationary outside his garage, possibly due to a hardware issue in his home set up.

Hillebrand, meanwhile, had an off-track moment at Radillon that dropped the German driver down to 11th and promoted Pareras in the Phoenix Racing Audi back into second. Luigi Di Lorenzo in the Modena Kart ASD Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was third, just under two and a half seconds behind the Spaniard. Hillebrand later reported via chat that his car ‘randomly lost grip at the rear’.

At the halfway point, Marcucci in the Audi had pulled out a gap of over eight seconds to Pareras with Di Lorenzo just under two seconds back in third.

A number of pilots fell foul at Eau Rouge with Mikael Grenier losing the rear of his Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo as he chased down Miguel Molina in the #71 Ferrari for 20th place.

Alberto Costa Balboa was continuing his progress up the field after starting 16th and, after 17 laps, was in fifth place before contact with Geneva-based Louis Delatraz in the GP Extreme Porsche 991 GT3 R in an ill-judged pass at La Source. Costa was handed a drive–through penalty as a result, allowing Delatraz to regain fourth place.

As the race entered the final quarter, the closest on-track battle was between Chris Froggatt in the Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 and David Fumanelli for 10th place, Froggatt just half a second behind the red-liveries Ferrari. The British driver, however, was carrying a drive-through penalty and pitted with ten minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked down, Di Lorenzo in the Modena Kart ASD Aston Martin was pushing Pareras hard for second and by the final minute was just over 1.5 seconds behind.

At the chequered flag, it was Marcucci who crossed the line just over 15.5 seconds ahead of Pareras with Di Lorenzo taking the final podium position.

Di Lorenzo’s third place means, however, that the Italian driver now takes the lead in the championship standings on 27 points with Jordan Pepper in second on 25.   

Round Three of the 2020 E-Sport GT Series takes place at the Nürburgring on  May 17.