Madpanda bags the points as Nesov wins opening Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series round at Monza
Alexey Nesov produced a thrilling drive in the opening Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series event at Monza today to secure top spot for Madpanda Motorsport in an Assetto Corsa Competizione race that featured a cliff-hanger twist.
Marius Zug had looked set to win for Winward Racing, but a costly penalty for an incorrect pit stop set him back to second, opening the door for the charging Nesov to score big.
Sandy Mitchell had put the K-Pax Lamborghini on pole ahead of both Zug and Nesov, but lost ground right at the start and was swamped into Prima Variante, with Zug getting a run down the inside and then Nesov pulling off a nice move around the outside to grab second.
Mitchell slowly fell back, and then lost a chunk of time when he was caught in a multi-car tangle that severely delayed the Lamborghini, leaving Mitchell 13th at the finish.
Up front, Nesov set his sights on Zug, closed the gap and made a great move for the lead into Parabolica to snatch the lead. That established the order for much of the first half of the race, but there would be drama during the pit window.
Nesov was first to pit and rejoined down in ninth, but when Zug came in his stop was much shorter. It worked out that his car hadn’t had the mandatory 1-litre of fuel added, so while Zug rejoined and re-took the race lead, a penalty was heading his way.
Nesov pulled off some stunning overtakes to make his way back up the order, including coming out on top of a superb battle with Laurin Heinrich’s Rutronik Racing Porsche. While Nesov crossed the line second, a 15-second penalty awarded to Zug’s Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG handed Madpanda the victory.
It wasn’t all bad news for Zug, as the penalty only dropped him to second overall, and he was still a comfortable winner in the Gold class. Jordan Pepper came home third overall to win the Pro class for Iron Lynx Lamborghini, with Heinrich just a few seconds behind.
Dries Vanthoor was fifth in the Team WRT BMW M4 GT3, with Mattia Drudi bringing his Tresor Orange 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II home sixth. Alex Aka beat a drive-through penalty to grab seventh and second in Silver for Tresor Attempto as Ayhancan Güven (Dinamic GT Huber Racing), Roee Meyuhas (Boutsen VDS) and Charlie Fagg (Optimum Motorsport) rounded out the top 10.
The next round of the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard over the weekend of June 2-4.