Klim Gavrilov moved Russia to the top of FIA Motorsport Games’ medal table ahead of the final event after converting his overnight points’ advantage into Touring Car Cup gold. Race 2 victory for Gilles Magnus helped Belgium claim their second silver medal of this year’s competition while Mato Homola took bronze for Slovakia.
Two Safety Car periods and light drizzle played their part in an entertaining medal showdown at Vallelunga where Magnus’ straightforward lights-to-flag victory left Gavrilov with no choice but to finish second.
He did, but only just.
Startline contact between Enrico Bettera’s stalled Audi and an unsighted Luca Engstler meant just 17 minutes remained once racing began in earnest. Gavrilov, who maintained second at the restart, initially rebuffed Tom Coronel’s numerous advances after the Dutchman passed Homola around the outside at the final corner.
And having successfully seen off the Honda, the Russian was able to establish a two second advantage as the race ticked towards its conclusion.
Just three minutes remained when a second Safety Car intervention was required to retrieve Team China’s MG, which set-up a breathless one-lap medal dash.
While Magnus initially sprinted clear, Gavrilov was left to contend with a reinvigorated Coronel, Homola and Rory Butcher (United Kingdom), who’d fought his way through from 10th on the grid. Classic tin-top action ensued as Coronel – now aided by Magnus deliberately backing up Gavrilov – tried every trick in the book to find a way into second.
They continued battling all the way to the chequered flag where Gavrilov finally sealed gold by just 0.1s.
Butcher was a similar margin behind in fourth while Homola’s third and fifth places across the two races helped Slovakia claim their first medal of the championships.
John Filippi capped off a solid weekend with sixth in Race 2 and fourth overall for France after beating a charging Jessica Backman (Sweden) and Lithuania’s Julius Adomavicius.
Klim Gavrilov: “It’s a great feeling to win a gold medal for Russia! This is a big and important event so I’m delighted to have won and helped the team in the medal table. It was very close at the end – Tom [Coronel] was pushing me really hard – but I just managed to hold on.”
Gilles Magnus: “It feels good to finish second, although winning was our aim when we arrived. We had a bad Q1, which compromised our Race 1 chances, but I still managed to end up P3 after starting P6. I couldn’t have done any more than win Race 2 but it wasn’t enough to get the gold medal. Klim did a good job this weekend and I would like to congratulate him.”
Mato Homola: “It was a really good weekend, competing with a new team – BRC – and I would like to thank them for the amazing job they’ve done. We were the fastest Hyundai on the grid and managed to end up with a Bronze medal. I would have obviously loved to go for gold but this wasn’t the easiest with the competition that we’ve got this weekend, and especially with the Audis. We achieved the maximum during Race 1 and the second was really tricky.”