GT Sprint: Team Australia seals first gold, Italy takes silver to top medal table

GT Sprint: Team Australia seals first gold, Italy takes silver to top medal table

Team Australia secured the final gold medal of the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games by winning Sunday afternoon's GT Sprint race, while a runner-up finish for Team Italy was enough to ensure that they ended the event's second edition on top of the medal table.

Matt Campbell was at the wheel of a Grove Motorsport-run Porsche 911 GT3-R for the one-day contest. It began with a pair of 30-minute practice sessions, which were followed by qualifying a little after midday. Dries Vanthoor put the Team Belgium Audi on pole by three tenths of a second, but any hopes of any easy win were dashed at the start. 

Lining up alongside the Belgian entry, Campbell got a lightning launch, while the pole-sitting Audi was swallowed by the pack. Ayhancan Güven moved the Team Türkiye Porsche into second spot, followed by the fast-starting Mirko Bortolotti in the Team Italy Lamborghini. 

At first it seemed that Güven might be able to fight his fellow Porsche factory driver, but the Team Türkiye challenge faded as quickly as it began. Within a few minutes Bortolotti was swarming all over the rear of the the red-liveried 911 and had forced his way past within a lap. 

Unfortunately for Bortolotti the scuffle with Güven had given Campbell a chance to escape. The Aussie entry was now five seconds up the road and, while the Italian Lamborghini made gains over the subsequent laps, this would prove crucial.  

Bortolotti was soon joined in his pursuit of Campbell by the recovering Vanthoor, who overhauled Güven shortly after the Italian. The two ran at the same pace as they chipped away at the lead, with no more than a second covering them throughout.  

Bortolotti ultimately got within two seconds of Campbell, but with a few minutes left on the clock his pace faded and his attention switched to defending second from Vanthoor. This left Campbell free to take the gold, Team Australia's first of the 2022 event.

Team Italy took a vital silver thanks to Bortolotti, a result that broke a tie with France at the top of the medal table. As such, the Italian contingent has provisionally won the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games. Vanthoor took bronze for Team Belgium to ensure that his nation finished third in the medal table. 

Bruno Baptista took the award for the best silver-graded driver in today's race. The Team Brazil entrant was sixth at the chequered flag, close behind the fading Güven and the fourth-placed Team Germany Mercedes-AMG of Luca Stolz.