Audi wins Spa GT Esports race, Vergne disqualified

Lorenzo Marcucci led an Audi one-two in the second SRO GT Series Esports event at a virtual Spa while wildcard entry Jean-Eric Vergne was disqualified for dangerous driving.

Marcucci, who finished 13th in the opening race at Silverstone, dominated qualifying to take his first pole position by 0.699 seconds ahead of fellow Audi driver Ivan Pareras.

Italian racer Marcucci led every lap of the one-hour race to hand Audi its maiden victory in the esports series, with real-life Silver Cup GT driver Pareras completing a one-two for the German manufacturer.

Ferrari’s Nicolas Hillebrand was running in second before he crashed at the top of Raidillon 10 minutes into the race, a fate shared a few laps by another Audi driver, Simone di Luca.

Their misfortunes left Aston Martin’s Luigi di Lorenzo to take the final spot on the podium, while the top five was completed by experienced Formula 2 drivers Louis Deletraz (Porsche) and Luca Ghiotto (Aston Martin).

Haas F1 tester Deletraz was promoted to fourth following a collision at La Source between Albert Costa and Matteo Cairoli with just over 20 minutes to go.

Lamborghini driver Costa had charged from 16th on the grid to fifth place, but when he attempted to overtake FIA World Endurance Championship regular Cairoli for fourth place, he spun Cairoli’s Porsche and earned himself a drive-through penalty.

This was one of many penalties to be handed out during the race, but among those most affected was 2018/19 Formula E champion Vergne.

Vergne was caught up in a multi-car collision at the start of the race and whilst attempting to get to the pitlane for repairs, he ended up blocking the pitlane. He reversed to get his Ferrari to face the right way, but was disqualified from the race for reversing in the pitlane.

Formula 1 champion Jenson Button was another driver to hit trouble early on, and he picked up a 30-second penalty after causing a collision at the start of the race.

Another ex-F1 driver, Vitantonio Liuzzi, started half a lap down in the pitlane and failed to finish.

Bentley factory driver and Silverstone winner Jordan Pepper was also involved in the opening lap chaos at Spa and retired.

Di Lorenzo’s second consecutive top-four finish position hands him the championship lead ahead of Pepper and Pareras.

The third round of the championship will take place next weekend at a virtual Nurburgring.

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