Esports: Gosia Rdest claims class victory in Creventic 12H of Monza
Polish Gosia Rdest made her competitive debut in simracing by taking a commanding class victory in the iRacing Creventic 12 Hours of Monza for team MRS GT Racing.
Creventic, the Dutch organizer of the popular 24H Series, has been the promoter of the first virtual Monza 12 Hours last Saturday, a highly competitive esport event contested on the iRacing platform with a 55 cars grid divided in the GT3, 911, GT4 and TCR categories.
The invitational event on the virtual Temple of Speed attracted the attention of some of the best GT teams and drivers on the planet; among them, it was Porsche specialists MRS GT Racing, lining up two cars in the 911 class. In the #989 car, Polish racer Gosia Rdest returned to the team after her experience in the Emirates earlier this year, when she was declared winner of a shortened 24 Hours of Dubai race after heavy rainfall.
Rdest teamed up with Jukka Honkavuori - also part of the Dubai-winning squad - and German simracer Niclas Laubisch. It was Gosia's first ever competitive experience in the virtual world, as the Polish lady prepares to enter the upcoming W Series Esports League.
"I am very pleased to be invited by MRS GT-Racing to participate in Esports 12h Monza" - commented Rdest before the event.
"It's a team I know well and I have extremely good memories of Dubai. I will have an extremely strong duo - together with Jukka we won the class this year in 24h Dubai, and Niclas is a top simracer. Although I drove the Porsche Cup 'in real life' and I have already competed in even longer races, I know that the 12h Monza will be a big challenge. However, I am sure that I will have a great time."
While it was Rdest's iRacing debut in an official event, it certainly wasn't her first contact with the simulative software, as she has been regularly training and streaming on her Twitch channel.
"I have been using simracing for a long time as a form of training. I already have my own simulator and I have been driving for hours almost every day for a week to be in a better shape before real-racing starts." - added Gosia.
"Of course, it's also a form of fun - I don't have to worry about the risk of injury or damage, and I always want to be first. I feel good on iRacing, especially when I am supported by the community gathered there! In addition, I have the opportunity to meet many other drivers from the real world, compete with them and talk."
After 385 laps around the iconic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the WRT eTeam secured a commaning 1-2 led by the #1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo driven by Mirko Bortolotti, Kenton Koch and Marcin Skrzypczak and followed by the sister #2 car of Kenneth Gulbrandsen, Fabrice Cornelis and Piotr Jagodzinski. With only under two minutes separating the leading pair, it was a widely competitive and challenging race throughout the field, with the crews closely fighting on the 5.793km racetrack.
The Optimum by SIMMSA Mercedes AMG GT3 was third at the finish line after leading in the opening hours. A contact with the Energy Driven TCR entry relegated the #66 car of Zoechling, Goodway, Foster, Azzam and Klawitter to the lowest podium place, when they were set to finish a strong second.
Other GT3 teams to hit trouble were the Red Camel Esports #98 entry - whose Rik Breukers crashed at Ascari around the mid-race distance and dropped out of the top five - and the ATLASBX Motorsports Ferrari, which started from pole and led part of the race before being hindered by a slow stop and a crash with the Fach Auto Tech team.
If the GT3 class provided plenty of action, the 911 class was utterly dominated by the #989 Porsche by MRS GT Racing: Laubisch took pole and his teammates Rdest and Honkavuori completed a faultess drive to secure victory after the 12 hours of racing.
The sister car of Glenn van Parijs, Ruben Van Buel, Gregory Vranckx and Mathias Detige started fourth but quickly climbed up the order to finish second in another 1-2 for the MRS team, despite a late scare with ten minutes to the chequered flag when the #980 Porsche suffered an off at Ascari.
NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing secured the final class podium, as the #991 car dropped back after a slow stop in the opening stages.
Luxembourg's DUWO by SimRC team celebrated victories in both the GT4 and the TCR categories, the first with the Marcel Fassbender/Tom Vallenthini/Charlie Collins/Mathias Schoger crew and the latter with Jürgen Frank/Felix Luding/Diogo Pinto at the wheel of the Audi RS3 TCR car.
It was a stunning simracing debut for Gosia Rdest, 9th overall and winner in the 911 class, despite a slightly unexpected issue with her steering wheel before the race:
"This was actually my first ever simracing experience if we're talking about racing" - said a very happy Gosia after the race. "It was my first ever [virtual] race but not the first one with MRS, as we had the chance to do the 24 Hours of Dubai with Jukka [Hunkavuori] and I really enjoyed it."
"The guys did an amazing job, both Jukka and Niclas. I was struggling a little bit with my sim just before the start of the race: my steering wheel stopped working, so I had to recalibrate everything from scratch, but I really liked it. The Porsche is a very tricky car to drive anyway, but it was just amazing, so thank you for the opportunity, thank you to MRS and of course to my teammates. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to another race."
The Polish racer will now focus on the all-female W Series virtual championship, starting on 11th June again on the Monza autodrome, as she awaits the start of her real-life racing schedule in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup later this year.