Australia claims gold in Digital Cup

2 November 2019

Cody Nikola Latkovski claimed a historic first-ever gold medal in the Digital Cup category at the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games.

Fellow FIA-certified Gran Turismo World Championships regular Bernal Valverde claimed silver for Costa Rica, with local ace Stefano Conte bagging bronze for the host nation Italy.

The action kicked off with the semi-finals, followed by a repechage heat and the Grand Final that the determined the medallists of the competition.

Semi-final races were held at Interlagos with Fittipaldi EF7 sportscar in use. Mikail Hizal dominated the semi-final A. The German had a good initial getaway from pole position, settled into the lead and from then on sailed untroubled towards the victory to finish ahead Team Hungary’ Benjámin Báder and Marcin Świderek of Poland.

Hungary vs Poland was indeed the story of the race. Świderek put Báder under an immense pressure for second early in the race and finally found his way through to take second.

However, in the closing stages of the race Báder launched a successful counterattack at Świderek and retook the place. At that stage, the two were running third and fourth, behind Robin Noborg of Sweden who took on a strategy gamble and did two stints on medium tyres, before pitting for the mandatory hard compound on the last lap. As a result, Noborg crossed the line in fourth, having stared fifth.

In semi-final B, Cody Nikola Latkovski took a lights to flag victory, leading Norway’s Tommy Østgaard and Chou Yi-Teng representing Chinese Taipei.

Semi-final C turned out to be the most eventful one out of the three, with Costa Rican Valverde pulling off a strategic masterstroke, finishing on a medium tyre (as opposed to his rivals) and passing Italy’s Stefano Conte to secure a victory with just a handful of corners remaining in the race. UK’s James Baldwin completed the podium.

The repechangerace, being effectivly as last chance to qualify for the fianl, meant a scenery change with the action moving from Brazil to rainy Austria, and Pagani Zonda R replacing the Fittipaldi sportscar.

Polesitter Noborg lead from fellow front row starter Dutchman Leon Ackerman. Early on Malaysia’s Mior Hafiz was on the move, advancing to third, having started fifth. Ackerman then moved up to the lead and went on to win the race ahead of Noborg and Hafiz.

For the Grand Final, the action returned to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the racers taking on a 19-lap encounter behind the wheel of the Red Bull X2019 prototype.

Polesitter Hizal was challenged hard by fellow front-row starter Latkovski. The two went through the sequence the first sequence of corners side by side with the Australian finally coming out on top.

A lap later Hizal retook the lead. This wasn’t for long, though, as a spin buried his chances of a good result. At the same time, Latkovski took on a tyre gamble that paid off, leaving the mandatory medium and hard tyres until the very last opportunity.

On the penultimate lap, Latkovski pitted but leader Valverde lost ground as a result of a spin and found himself in second. Latkovski went on to clinch the historic, first ever gold medal, with the silver going to Valverde and bronze to local ace Conte.

Result file