9 August 2023
Tan vs the BMWs as Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series heads to Kyalami
With just two races remaining in this year’s Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series, this Wednesday’s fourth round at Kyalami could well prove decisive in the title chase, especially if nobody can topple Dillan Tan.
The reigning series champion once again sits at the head of the Pro class points for Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Legion of Racers and has a second straight championship firmly in his sights. However, the combined efforts of BMW M Team BS+Competition’s Ferris Stanley and Philippa Boquida mean Tan hasn’t had everything his own way. Both drivers are still squarely in the title picture, but one of them has to strike soon to keep it that way.
This year’s Silver category has been superb so far, with a different driver securing victory in each of the three races so far. Russel Reyes’ breakthrough win at Bathurst last time out has put the JMX Phantom BMW driver on top, but only just as five drivers are still in with a shot at the crown.
All Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series races are held on the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform, with races being staged in partnership with AK Esports.
Tan the target man heading into the penultimate round
With two wins from the three rounds this year, it’s easy to suggest that things have been relatively straightforward for reigning champion Dillan Tan, but there’s been more than one bump in the road so far.
A tricky second outing at Donington Park left Tan just fourth, and opened the door for Ferris Stanley to break his stranglehold on the top step, firing himself into championship contention. That round was a dream for the BMW brigade, with Philippa Boquida following her team-mate through to score a one-two and set the tone for what would quickly become a three-way fight for honours.
Tan struck back with another win at Bathurst last time out to resume the points lead, but with both Stanley and Boquida still within the top six, just 12 points separate Tan and Stanley, with Boquida a further 12 back. With 35pts on offer for a race victory and a further point awarded for pole, the chances are slim that Tan can wrap up a second crown early at Kyalami, but equally Stanley and Boquida’s title hopes could well hinge on a strong score in South Africa.
Sota Muto runs fourth for Williams Esports Mercedes-AMG and needs a miracle to have any chance at the title, ditto for Tan’s LoR team-mate Andika Rama Maulana. Despite bouncing back to form at Bathurst, two tough opening rounds have put last year’s championship runner-up pretty much out of the title race this season.
There’s still a load of talent to watch beside the championship challengers, such as Daffa Nabiel (JMX Phantom BMW), Fadhli Rachmat (Tarmac Works Honda NSX), Zachary Smith (Alpha Venturi Racing Aston Martin), Moreno Pratama (Tarmac Works Honda) and Kobe Chan (REVOLT PuiPuiRacing BMW).
Thrilling Silver show set to stun again
This year’s fight for silver honours seems to have swung with every race, making picking a winner near impossible from any of the previous rounds this year. So far each has featured a different driver on top, leading to a tight five-way championship fight.
Russel Reyes secured his first win of the year at Bathurst to catapult himself into the points lead aboard the JMX Phantom BMW. With two third-place finishes already in his pocket, Reyes’ consistency will be key to his title bid, provided he makes no errors at Kyalami.
KuiSheng Huang runs second but has yet to register a win this year, instead a pair of second places and an astute ability to stay clear of trouble has paid off, keeping the Full Pace Racing Porsche driver just 11pts down on Reyes.
Rialto Ristofani won at Donington and is just four points further back in third for MPRGP BMW, while early season pace-setter Luke Addison will be eyeing a return to form after he was caught in a huge early tangle at Bathurst that cost the Genisus Esports BMW driver any hope of improving back to the top of the points table in Australia. Addison is still in this, thanks to his win and second from the first two rounds, but with 21 points to make up to catch Reyes, the pressure is firmly on.
Shuning Gong is the last driver in realistic contention, with the DriveJustBoyz Racing Team Audi man running fifth having just scored his best result of the year – third at Bathurst.
Others to watch for include Damario Haznam (MPRGP BMW), Matthew Lamb (Privateer Porsche), Paul Britt (PB McLaren), Bruno Gallo (Laundry House Racing Porsche) and Daffa Boediharjo, who has shown some superb pace aboard the SOLOX BMW this year, but hasn’t had the fortune around the pit stops to capitalise on it so far.
Action for the fourth round of the Mobileye GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series at Kyalami gets underway with free practice at 16:30HKT (10:30CEST) ahead of qualifying and the race start at 18:00HKT (12:00CEST). The race will feature live coverage on the GT World YouTube channel.