Virtual GP 2020: Štefanko victorious despite dangers of Belle Isle

The Mercedes-Benz Virtual GP 2020 season made its first-ever visit to the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit. And it delivered. Round 10 of the season proved to be one of the craziest races in the history of the series, with only half of the grid making it to the end.

But it is the experience that counts in such situations, that put Martin Štefanko (Benzina ORLEN) into the best position to win the race. And he did not disappoint. He was joined on the podium by David Přáda (Thrustmaster Next Level Racing FOR2A) and Daniel Pásztor (Lenovo Legion).

This very bumpy track proved to be dangerous and challenging in qualifying already. Yet, the championship leader Simon Kovačič from Logitech CZC.cz eSuba managed to take pole position ahead of Martin Štefanko racing for Benzina ORLEN. Kovačič’s biggest rival in the championship battle, Erik Vizi, qualified only in 5th place.

But the real hell began after the race had started. While the drivers managed to avoid collisions between each other, they did not find their way around barriers in Belle Isle and five drivers had to retire after crashing on their own in the first laps of the race already. Including Michal Blažek from MOGUL Racing, who had a very promising pace in the qualifying.

Meanwhile, Simon Kovačič was still in the lead, but then he struggled to overtake one of the backmarkers and he crashed into the wall. And unfortunately for him, the damage was terminal. Despite being in 15th place in the race results, he did not do 50% of the race distance to be eligible to score points.

Suddenly, the race lead went to the Benzina ORLEN team. Martin Štefanko showed that he is one of the most experienced drivers in the field and after probably one of his greatest drives in this series, he took a well-deserved victory, adding another success to his team. On the other hand, Erik Vizi also made a mistake, though he was able to score at least some points for the 10the place in the end,

It was also a good race for Přáda brothers, racing for Thrustmaster Next Level Racing FOR2A. David Přáda took another podium after finishing in 2nd place. His brother had a similar place, but he was amongst those who did not avoid barriers and he was classified in only 11th place. Daniel Pásztor from Lenovo Legion took the 3rd and final spot on the podium.

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It is also worth to mention Stanislav Sehnal from DEXFIN Racing, who finished in 4th place, ahead of Martin Koštialik from TP-Link in 5th and also Jan Sýkora from Autoškola NOBE in 6th position.

Despite the worst possible result, Simon Kovačič still leads the championship with a decent gap. After his win at Belle Isle, Martin Štefanko is now in 2nd place, 36 points behind Kovačič, while Erik Vizi dropped to the 3rd place.

However, there are substantial changes in the teams’ championship, with the Benzina ORLEN team taking the lead of 21 points ahead of Logitech CZC.cz eSuba. Also, the Thrustmaster Next Level Racing FOR2A team has scored lots of points and is now even closer to the Benzina ORLEN outfit.

Belle Isle hosted the Round 10 of the season. There are only two more races to go, with Round 11 taking place in just two weeks at the legendary Indianapolis track. And Simon Kovačič might finally win the Mercedes-Benz Virtual GP 2020 championship title there.

 

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