Mercedes Formula 1 reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez extended his Pro Cup lead in the third round of The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones, as he and Aidan Millward shared the wins.
The two races were held on the rFactor 2 version of Dutch Grand Prix venue Zandvoort, featuring the new banking at the Hugenholz and Arie Luyendijk corners.
Ex-Sauber and Haas F1 driver Gutierrez was just 0.041s clear of BTCC ace Tom Ingram in qualifying but established a comfortable lead in the opening laps after seeing off Ingram with a better getaway off the line.
He was over three seconds clear at the halfway point in the 10-lap race, aided by Ingram coming under pressure from Williams Esports driver Agustin Canapino, of Super TC2000 fame.
The gap remained stable for the second half of the race, with Gutierrez in control and Ingram fighting Canapino hard until the chequered flag.
Canapino launched an attack around the outside of the Tarzan corner on the final tour, drawing side by side only for Ingram to run him out of room. The Argentine Williams man then lined up another overtaking attempt exiting the banked Arie Luyendijk corner, and he and Ingram collided on the run down to the finish line, with Ingram just staying ahead.
Hyundai’s Bradley Smith passed Nicki Thiim for fourth on the opening lap and remained in position for the rest of the race despite never managing to break away from the Aston Martin driver.
While Thiim himself came under pressure from round two race winner Job van Uitert, he was given breathing room when van Uitert collided with Tom Dillmann. The pair would recover to finish eighth and 10th respectively, sandwiched by Thiim’s Aston Martin stablemate Charlie Eastwood.
Seb Priaulx benefitted from the clash to bag a sixth-place finish, while Canapino’s Williams team-mate Jack Aitken – who is the reserve driver for the Grove-based F1 team – claimed a season-best seventh place.
Under the new reverse-grid rule, which meant only the top 32 from qualifying flipped for the second race, Millward and BMW driver Beitske Visser made up the front row, only to clash at the Tarzan corner after the start.
Visser was sent spinning while Millward continued on in second, with Correa having swept into the lead around the outside of Tarzan.
But Correa was unable to break away from Millward, and on lap seven of 10 he lost control of his car at the Hugenholz corner, allowing Millward through despite a collision between the pair.
BMW’s Bruno Spengler caught right up to them as a result, having passed James Pull at Tarzan for third earlier, but though he got ahead of Correa he came up just short of Millward, who led him over the line at the chequered flag.
Correa held on to third ahead of Bentley driver Morris, Pull and Tom Ingram – who drove a spectacular race from 31st on the grid and moved up from eighth to sixth on the final lap thanks to a collision between Yifei Ye and Tristan Vautier.
Gutierrez was only 20th in the reverse-grid race, but now leads Thiim by 16 points and Eastwood by 28 in the Pro Cup title battle.
His Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports outfit is two points clear of Aston Martin in the teams’ championship.