until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Cannistraci and Weijer win penalty-filled GT Challenge race

by Matt Beer
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Deniele Cannistraci and Sido Weijer took their first race wins respectively in the GT Challenge championship, despite both being on the edge of relegation heading into the previous round.

The third round of the championship also marked the first race after the top five drivers from the second split were promoted into this top split.

That included former British Touring Car Championship driver Mike Epps, who qualified for the first race in 24th out of 29 drivers but he did have force feedback issues.

Cannistraci was the third fastest driver in qualifying, slower than only Vojta Polesny and pole-sitter Michal Sedlacek.

Cannistraci promptly moved up a position as he overtook Polesny at the first turn of the race.

A few minutes later he passed Sedlacek on the back straight to take first place.

On the second lap, Chris Shepherd tagged the back of Alex Siebel in an attempted overtake down the inside of the first corner.

Shepherd moved up to eighth, but Siebel’s car was sent spinning and he dropped down 12 places to 20th.

Shepherd made a further two overtakes on track and Alejandro Lopez Arjona and championship leader Michi Hoyer, before gaining one more place as Ilias Fernandez, running in fourth, was given a drive-through for too many corner cuts.

Cannistraci’s sprint race win meant he started the reverse grid main race in 10th place with Weijer starting the 45-minute race in first.

Williams JIM esports driver Kevin Rotting started in second but had to serve a drive-through penalty for an incident during the previous round at the Nurburgring.

Hoyer struggled to keep up with his Audi R8 in a field populated mainly by McLarens.

Shepherd, Cannistraci, Fernandez, Nico Barclay and newly promoted Matthew Beavis all overtook Hoyer before he dropped out of the top 10 entirely as he had to enter the pits and serve a penalty for too many off-track excursions.

Cannistraci Barclay GT Challenge 2020

Cannistraci quickly moved up from 10th to sixth place but made contact with Barclay into the left hook corner which sent Barclay spinning down from fifth to 14th.

Cannistraci was handed a drive-through penalty from the race stewards for the incident despite moving up to third place.

Barclay fought his way back up to fifth place but then got on the throttle too early at the slow speed Oak Tree corner and spun out for the second time in the main race.

Sedlacek overtook Beavis for sixth place at the end of the long back straight thanks to the slipstream effect.

The two swapped places two more times before the chequered flag waved but Sedlacek finished in fifth in front of Beavis.

Worse for Beavis was that he had a drive-through penalty for corner cuts handed to him on the final lap which meant he dropped down from sixth to ninth.

Weijer was slowly being caught up by Lorenzo Arisi but Weijer held on to win the main race with Siebel finishing in third, making up nine places from where he started.

Matt Richards in eighth place was the highest finishing newly promoted driver with fellow former split two driver Daniele Vidimari finishing in 10th.

The next round of the rFactor 2 GT Challenge Series will take place at the Imola circuit in two weeks time.

The GT Pro Series drivers will tackle the fearsome circuit first next Monday, which will be livestreamed on The Race’s YouTube channel.

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