SRO Esports - 2021 SRO E-Sport

21 August 2023

Tan puts one hand on Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series title with Kyalami victory

Legion of Racers’ Dillan Tan proved a class apart at Kyalami, almost cruising to a third win of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series season during a dominant display in South Africa.

Reigning champion Tan showed once again why he is the series' benchmark driver with a masterful performance, during which he took a clean sweep of pole position, led every lap and even bagged fastest lap on his way to an extended championship lead. With the Mercedes-AMG driver on such form, the pressure fell on BMW M Team BS+Competition’s Ferris Stanley to simply keep the title fight alive by finishing inside the top five, a feat he achieved after a cagey race-long battle. 

While Tan is running away with the Pro class, this year’s Silver fight continues to go from strength to strength, with KuiSheng Huang scoring his first win of the year, and in doing so the Full Pace Racing Porsche driver became the fourth different winner in as many races to set up a grandstand finish at Suzuka next month.

As far as the fight for overall victory went, the writing was on the wall when Tan put his Tarmac Works AMG on pole ahead of Kobe Chan’s REVOLT PuiPuiRacing BMW, and then claimed the lead at the start as his team-mate Andika Rama Maulana snuck past Chan to make it a Legion of Racers one-two just a few turns into the contest.

With Rama Maulana acting a rear ginner behind, Tan simply cruised clear up front, was over four second up by the time he made his pit stop, executed it perfectly, and that was the last anybody saw of him as he took the chequered flag over seven seconds clear. Job done. 

With Tan gone, the championship interest rested with Stanley, who would have to finish inside the top five to keep the contest alive. He’d qualified fifth, and then faced a tense struggle with Zachary Smith’s Alpha Venturi Racing Aston Martin, Chan and his team-mate Philippa Boquida.

Smith enjoyed by far his best race of the season, settling into an early fourth before using an early pit stop to undercut Chan for third, and only just failing to depose Rama Maulana from second in the process. While Rama Maulana defended well to hold onto second, Smith’s evening wasn’t finished as he’d have to endure a nervy final few laps with Stanley crawling all over him in a desperate search for extra points.

Having also deposed Chan after the stops, Stanley was released into a clear fourth when Boquida got things wrong through Cheetah corner, clipped the inside kerb and suffered a huge slide that led to a whack with the barrier. The incident would end her own title hopes, leaving the #326 BMW down in seventh in class at the flag.

Still, Stanley needed any points he could get and crawled all over the rear of Smith’s Vantage, but fell just short. His fourth place means Tan holds a commanding 27-point lead heading to the final round next month.

Chan was fifth, with Sota Muto completing the top six in his Williams Esports Mercedes-AMG. 

The Silver class continues to be the highlight of the season, with Huang’s breakthrough win leaving the title fight on a knife edge. Despite qualifying on class pole, Daffa Boediharjo lost his shot at victory when he was handed a time penalty for aggressive driving during an early exchange with Boquida. Then it looked like Rialto Ristofani was set to score big, until he had a huge moment through the Esses, running off track and only just managing to hold onto his MPRGP BMW when he rejoined. That opened the door for Huang to strike and put the Porsche out front.

Ristofani held on to second, while championship leader Russel Reyes fought back from a tough qualifying to finish third in the JMX Phantom BMW. That result means the top three are covered by just 10 points, with Huang trailing Reyes by a single point heading to Suzuka.