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The Williams esports driver led by staggering margins throughout
Round 2 of the Battle of the Cities GT sport was held at Suzuka, and this time around Armaan Ibrahim himself had descended into the fray, along with new faces in the form of Ankur Agarwal, Ashvin Lakhwani and Aditya Patnaik joining regular attendees Shameem Fahath, Pradyumna Prakash, Aditya Bakshi, Ravikiran and Prateek Benya. Also in attendance was the winner of the first round, Hungarian professional e-racer Patrik Blazsan, from the Williams Esports racing team.
As always, the round consisted of two races. The grid position for the first 10-lap race was decided via a qualifying session, while the grid for the second race was decided by the finish places in the first race. As before, the pitstop strategy played a big part, as tyre wear had been set to four times, and fuel depletion to seven times the normal speed.
As was a surprise to precisely nobody, it was Blazsan who set the fastest time, close to three seconds ahead of Ashvin Lakhwani, with Prateek Benya in third place. The timings for the qualifying lap were as under:
Patrik got massive lead from the get go, with Shameem Fahath in second place and Ravikiran in third. After the first few corners, Ishaan Dodhiwala went wide and dropped to eighth, followed by Ravikiran going wide in the chicane, losing his spot to Pradyumna Prakash, who was now in P5, having come up three places from the starting grid.
In the second lap, Ravikiran makes move on Pradyumna, and grabbed P4. The grid then went unchanged till Lap 4, when Armaan (P9) got passed by Ashvin Lakhwani, but then regained his lead, only to make a mistake in Degner (Corner 8), and going off track, handing over the spot to Ashvin. Armaan, now (P10) was 23 seconds behind leader Patrik.
Lap 5 saw Ravi (P4), now 12 seconds behind the leader, catching Shameem who had so far been a consistent third behind Prateek Benya. The next lap the front-runners (except leader Patrik) go into the pits. When they emerged, Aditya Bakshi, now P2, was 23 seconds behind Patrik, with Prateek in third place and Shameem in fourth.
Meanwhile, Patrik continued for one more lap, and entered the pits in Lap 7, when his fuel level was blinking red. Along with a half tank of fuel, he underwent a tyre change, and yet came out of the pits 16 seconds ahead of the competition.
With 1 lap to go, Aditya Patnaik, Shameem and Ravikiran were just half second apart from each other. Shameem came up to second, but then got punted off the track by Prateek and dropped to 4th. Meanwhile Prateek also went off track and dropped to 5th.
As the last lap started, Patrik was in the lead, followed by Shameem, Ravikiran and Pradyumna. The order stayed unchanged for the remainder of the lap, with Patrik winning the race with a solid 33-second lead over Shameem, with Ravikiran (both Mumbai teammates) rounding off the grid.
After race 1, Mumbai hauled in the points, keeping Pradyumna Prakash flying the Chennai flag, at bay. Mumbai was just 2 points behind Chennai after the last race, and the strong showing this time around seemed to change the fortunes.
As always, the second race was a full reverse grid, with Ishaan Dodhiwala in the lead, followed by Ashvin Lakhwani, Dillon Zacharia, Prateek Benya, and Ravikiran. As the racers shot off the line, Patrik, who started dead last, was already in P9 within the first sector of Lap 1, and was soon in P6, chasing down Pradyumna before the lap ended.
Going into Lap 2, Kunal Vinod and Dillon Zacharia made up two places, going up to P2 and P3 respectively, while Patrik also went up to P5. Coming out of the start-finish straight, Aditya Patnaik was able to make his way up to P3, and push Kunal Vinod down to P6. Soon enough, Patnaik went wide coming out of the esses, which pushed Pradyumna to third place. At the same time Patrik, too, moved up, now pushing himself to P4.
Going into Lap 3, Patrik was now P3, about 2 seconds behind Pradyumna and about 4 seconds off the leader Ishaan’s pace. It took Patrik the duration of the lap to make up, and he was leading the grid by the end of the lap
For his part, Pradyumna too was holding on to his pace, and was P2 by the time he was just past the chicane. Down the grid, after trying a particularly aggressive manoeuvre, Shameem lost traction and went into the wall, falling down to the last spot.
Halfway through the race, Patrik was in the lead, followed by Pradyumna and Ishaan, with Kunal in P4 and Dillon P5, fending off repeated attacks from Aditya Patnaik. Down the order Aditya Bakshi was also pushing Aditya Patnaik, his eyes on the P6 spot. By the end of the lap, Patrik had increased his lead up to almost 12 seconds on Pradyumna in P2.
Lap 7, and perhaps learning from Patrik’s one-stop strategy in the previous race, the racers placed second to seventh (Pradyumna, Aditya Patnaik, Kunal Vinod, Dillon, Ishaan and Aditya Bakshi) went into the pits, while Patrik, who’s fuel gauge was blinking red, went about the lap like all was OK.
Ravikiran had snatched P2 by the time the front-runners came out of the pits, with Dillon now P3. For his part, Patrik pitted in the next lap, secure in a 29-second lead over P2. Meanwhile the order of the succeeding racers had reshuffled, as Pradyumna was now P4, Kunal P5, Ishaan P6, Aditya Bakshi P7 and Aditya Patnaik P8. With four laps to go, Dillon made his way up to P2, followed by Pradyumna, and Aditya Bakshi in P4, while Ravikiran, previously in second place, had dropped to sixth.
With two laps remaining, Ravikiran made a big move, taking the inside line to pass Ishaan (who went off track as well) to snatch fifth place. Dillon pitted in the penultimate lap, pushing Pradyumna to second place.
Ultimately, it was Patrik Blazsan who took yet another win, followed by Pradyumna Prakash, and Dillon Zacharia rounding off the podium.