FIA Motorsport Games: Gavrilov Takes Touring Car Gold in Rome

The Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi played host to the first-ever running of the FIA Motorsport Games, which saw six different types of Motorsport take place with the aim of allowing different countries to go head to head for the prize of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Amongst these different types of Motorsport disciplines was the Touring Car Cup, which was run to TCR regulations and included the current Balance of Performance that is used globally.

You can find out all the details regarding the format of the Touring Car Cup in my previous article that relates to how the event takes place and how the Drivers/Nations score to win their medals here.

Qualifying One – Saturday Touring Car Cup grid

Luca Engstler / Team Germany. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

Overnight rain ensured a wet start to the day’s first track action. But despite the surface appearing to dry over the course of the half-hour session, it was Luca Engstler’s early time of 1m56.941s – 16s shy of yesterday’s dry pace – that earned Germany provisional pole.

However, a subsequent engine change would drop the Hyundai to the back of the grid for race one and hand Russia’s Klim Gavrilov pole position. The Audi started alongside Mato Homola’s Hyundai after both drivers also set their fastest times early in the session.

A post-practice engine change also ensured Ka To Jim’s fourth quickest time counted for nothing. Instead, the United Kingdom’s Rory Butcher would start third, two places ahead of where he qualified, while the Netherlands’ Tom Coronel lines up alongside the Scottish driver.

John Filippi’s Team France Cupra joined Audi, Hyundai, MG and Honda in the top-five, while Gilles Magnus (Belgium) started sixth. Kouril Jr of the Czech Republic, Zviedris for Team Latvia, Norbert Kiss from Team Hungary and Enrico Bettera from Team Italy completed the top ten places on the grid.

Qualifying Two – Sunday Touring Car Cup grid

Gilles Magnus / Team Belgium. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

Russia came within less than a minute of claiming two pole positions before Gilles Magnus’ late flyer handed Team Belgium top spot for tomorrow’s Touring Car Cup race.

Klim Gavrilov spent much of the 30-minute session on top of the pile after twice lowering the provisional pole time. However, it was Magnus – who’d remained his main rival throughout – that ultimately topped the times courtesy of the fastest time of the weekend: 1m40.235s.

Gavrilov finished 0.495s behind but, with medals decided on the basis of points scored in both races, will be content with a second front row start.

Tom Coronel added third to his earlier fourth place to also keep the Netherlands firmly in gold medal contention after knocking Slovakia’s Mato Homola down to fourth, while Faine Kahia (New Zealand) and Jessica Backmann (Sweden) saved their best qualifying performances for the second session.

John Filippi of France, Jim Ka To from Team Hong Kong, Enrico Bettera for Italy and Rory Butcher for Team UK completed the top ten places on the grid for the second race.

Saturday Touring Car Cup Race

The Saturday Touring Car Cup Race. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

Klim Gavrilov made the perfect start to Team Russia’s Touring Car Cup assault by claiming a comfortable victory and maximum 25 points in Race 1 earlier today.

The regulation lights-to-flag win by five seconds from Mato Homola (Slovakia) was in stark contrast to the battle raging behind where Gilles Magnus’ bold moves helped the Belgian rise from sixth to third.

One of those came at the expense of Rory Butcher whose poor getaway from third dropped the UK’s entry out of contention almost immediately. Instead, and following an early Safety Car period to remove Norway’s stricken Alfa Romeo, it was France’s John Filippi who held the final podium spot ahead of Tom Coronel.

The French and Dutch entries initially ran nose-to-tail before Magnus joined the party by sneaking his Audi down the inside. It wasn’t quite enough to dislodge Coronel at first but when the Belgian attempted to switch back underneath the Honda contact was inevitably made, which sent the Civic sliding wide.

Tom Coronel / Team Netherlands. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

Not that it concerned Magnus who then set his sights on passing Filippi. He was on the Cupra’s tail in no time and shot past at the fast Curva Grande sweeper with just under six minutes remaining.

Filippi spent the final moments fending off Dusan Kouril Jr (Czech Republic) who picked up two places en route to fifth. Faine Kahia (New Zealand) and Jessica Backman (Sweden) also made progress from 11th and 12th to finish ahead of Coronel, who somehow crabbed his way to eighth after the earlier clash with Magnus.

Italy’s Enrico Bettera finished ninth while Jim Ka To battled through from 19th to claim the final point for Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, Luca Engstler’s chances of winning a medal now appear to be over after an engine change prevented the German from taking up his pole position. And with the new unit still not installed before the race began, there was no chance to score even a handful of points.

But there was no denying Gavrilov who has another excellent chance of scoring big points on Sunday when he lines up second behind Magnus.

Indeed, the 30-minute race is worth 30 points to the winner, while points are scored all the way down to 15th.

Sunday Touring Car Cup Race

The Sunday Touring Car Cup Race. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

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 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.

Klim Gavrilov / Team Russia. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

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.

Rory Butcher / Team UK. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

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.

The 2019 Motorsport Games Touring Car Cup was hailed as a success with Klim Gavrilov/Team Russia securing the Gold Medal ahead of Gilles Magnus/Team Belgium winning the Silver Medal whilst Mat’o Homola/Team Slovakia claimed the Bronze Medal.

The 2019 FIA Motorsport Games Medal Podium. Credit: FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of FIA Motorsport Games / SRO Organisation unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

The 2019 FIA Motorsport Games – Touring Car Cup

In a bold new venture, with the idea of bringing together the best forms of motorsport for all to see, earlier this year the FIA created:

The FIA Motorsport Games

This will new venture takes place at the Vallelunga Circuit near the host city of Rome, over the weekend of 1-3 November 2019 where the following categories will compete:

Touring Car Cup
GT Cup
Digital Cup
Drifting Cup
Formula 4 Cup
Karting Slalom Cup

TCR Talk will be following The Touring Car Cup, which will be run to TCR Regulations with all competitors using homologated TCR Models. The only exception to this will be the MG6 TCR that has been used in TCR China under a special homologation certificate but does not score points. This model is subject to full homologation for this event.

The Vallelunga Circuit. Credit: Racingcircuits.info

The Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi circuit is located 32 km north of Rome, Italy, near Vallelunga of Campagnano and has seen plenty of Tintop action over the past decades since it opened back in 1959.

The 2019 FIA Motorsport Games – Touring Car Cup Entry List

Credit: FIA Motorsport Games

From the names on the entry list, it’s obvious that there is an equal mix of drivers who already have experience of driving TCR machines and those that have competed in other forms of Motorsport. That being said, picking a favourite from this lot will be difficult.

The organisers have already confirmed that the following drivers will be using the same cars that they have already campaigned in a TCR Series during 2019:

Luca Engstler, Klim Gavrilov, Gilles Magnus, Tom Coronel, Enrico Bettera, Zhendong Zhang, Valters Zviedris, Julius Adomavičius, Jessica Bäckman, John Filippi, Dušan Kouril, Mat’o Homola and Ka To Jim already and in most cases, the same teams that have run the cars already will be running the cars as well during this event.

British fans will notice that Team UK is represented by BTCC race winner Rory Butcher and that he will be at the wheel of an MG6 TCR. This will be run by AmD, who have run Butcher in the BTCC for the last two years. Hopefully, it shouldn’t take too long for the team to get used to the TCR machine they have…

If I had to pick a top three for this event, I would go with Engstler, Homola and Magnus, however, I’ll leave the racing to the experts and come Sunday afternoon we’ll know who has won Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The 2019 FIA Motorsport Games Touring Car Cup Format

Credit: TCR Europe / WSC Ltd

The competition will provide entrants with a total of three hours’ track time, split into two 30-minute practice sessions and two Qualifying sessions of the same length. The first Qualifying session will set the grid for race one whilst the second Qualifying session will set the grid for race two.

Race one will last at least 25 minutes + 1 lap, whilst Race two will run for at least 30 minutes + 1 lap. The top ten finishers from Race one will score points, with Race one the top fifteen finishers in Race two scoring points.

Points will be awarded to the top ten drivers in race one according to the following scale:
25 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 1.

Points will be awarded to the top fifteen drivers in race two according to the following scale:
30 – 22 – 16 – 13 – 11 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

The final winner will be determined as the driver who scores the most points from the two races.

Eight different brands will be represented on the grid, including Alfa Romeo, Audi, CUPRA, Honda, Hyundai, MG, Peugeot and Volkswagen.

The worldwide success of the TCR platform makes Touring Car Cup an accessible competition for drivers from all over the globe, allowing them to represent their country during this revolutionary motorsport initiative, while a wide variety of available brands will guarantee a strong and diverse entry.

All competing cars must comply with TCR Technical Regulations and each is approved by the FIA. Balance of Performance (BoP) will be published by the FIA in agreement with WSC.

Where can I watch it?

Livestreaming and Live Timing can be found at the link at the bottom of this section, with the action getting underway on Friday with two Free Practice sessions

Both Qualifying sessions will take place Saturday Morning, with Race one taking place on Saturday afternoon. Race Two will take place on Sunday Afternoon. Times to be confirmed.

FIA Motorsport Games – Touring Car Cup

Credit: TCR Europe / WSC Ltd

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of TCR Europe / WSC Ltd unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!