Stefanko holds off Smidl to win first Virtual GP race

Martin Stefanko (Republic of Gamers) continued his impressive start to the Thrustmaster Virtual GP season by picking up his first win in the second round at the Nurburgring. Michal Smidl (Big Shock) and Jaroslav Honzik (Thrustmaster) completed the podium with the reigning champion only two seconds behind Stefanko at the chequered flag.

It was an exciting start to the race, with Stefanko on pole and Smidl in second. The pair led away and left the chasing pack behind. Meanwhile at the back Daniel Liscak, deputising for Andrej Chlebec in this round, span at turn one and was demoted to the back of the pack.

It wasn’t just Liscak however, as Richard Chlad also spun but at turn three instead. It was all happening in the midfield pack, Michal Blazek, Jan Sykora and Jan Frajbis all fighting it out.

Stefanko and Smidl were always ahead of the chasing pack. With Honzik in doing his best to keep hold of third place.

Zoubek came third at Imola last time out, but he went from hero to zero here as he tried to pass Blazek in the BenQ car. His first attempt saw him cut the final chicane, giving the place back to Blazek.

However Zoubek tried again on lap 15, but he hit Blazekand span him out, with both pitting straight after. Vojtech Polesny had a great race, finishing fourth, but it could so easily have been a podium as he was fighting with Honzik throughout.

When Polesny rejoined from his pit stop, Honzik managed to pass him in a courageous move around the outside.

Zoubek’s poor race continued as when trying to pass Sykora at turn three, he collided with him and put his car in the wall, getting a drive through penalty in the process. He’d eventually finish a lap down on the leaders.

It was an enthralling race throughout, with little battles throughout the pack. Polesny and Honzik were the next to enjoy a fight. Polesny tried to pass into turn one, he made slight contact with Honzik but he couldn’t get past. However he attempted the ‘divebomb’ into turn one, he got past but lost traction on the way out of the corner and Honzik regained third place.

Stefanko went on to win the race with Smidl close behind. The Republic of Gamers driver is staking his claim as Smidl’s main challenger, and with round three being at Spa, can he keep up his challenge for the BigShock driver’s crown?

Aaron Irwin

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