Jose Serrano Takes a First Nations Cup Win in World Series Round 3

Jose Serrano has made it four new winners from four races in the 2022 Gran Turismo World Series Nations Cup, taking victory in the thrilling Round 3 online event.

Qualifying went to the Spaniard, with a 1’24.2 lap of the redesigned Deep Forest Raceway in the peaky Nissan Skyline Silhouette racer, with Ryota Kokubun, Kanata Kawakami, and Valerio Gallo all just over a tenth of a second further back.

Points leader Igor Fraga could only place eighth, while the three previous race winners — Kylian Drumont, Angel Inostroza, and Lucas Bonelli — were in fifth, seventh, and tenth respectively.

A combination of the rolling start and the soft tires with high wear rate meant that the opening few laps were on the quiet side, with drivers looking mainly to stay in the race rather than win it in the first few corners.

The top five ran almost line astern to gradually pull a three-second gap to sixth — now held by Inostroza after a rare early pass on Yamanaka — through the first third of the race. However it wasn’t long before the fight for the all-important podium spots began.

Gallo feinted a move on Kokubun, which made the Japanese driver go defensive into the first turn and run wide. That allowed the defending champion to move up into second place and onto Serrano’s tail. Meanwhile Drumont and Kawakami were battling over fourth, which gave the front three some breathing room.

Just past half distance, the lead three came into the first turn three abreast. Serrano would just be able to keep his lead down the inside, while Kokubun ran wide on corner exit to slot back in behind Gallo. However that brought Drumont and Kawakami right back into the picture, with the French driver snatching third from the momentarily slowed Kokubun.

That was the cue for a battle that would last the remainder of the race, with the front five virtually attached by bungee cords.

Drumont would slip into second past Gallo at the top hairpin, only to find the Italian driver right alongside him — and Serrano — down the straight and into turn one. Somehow though, Serrano would always come out of the corner ahead.

The fighting up front brought Inostroza right back into contention too. After being almost three seconds down, the Chilean driver who’d come out victorious last time round gained every bit of it back and left Yamanaka wondering where he’d gone.

That left Inostroza as the beneficiary of an overly optimistic move from Kawakami into the top hairpin, shouldering Kokubun and Drumont out wide while Inostroza sneaked up the inside. He’d have to slot into fourth behind the French rookie, but took the spot back next time round by using his slightly less worn tires to run round the outside of the hairpin.

All eyes were on the fight for the lead though and, try as he might, Gallo just couldn’t get the job done on Serrano who put on an excellent defensive showing. He’d end up taking a lights-to-flag win, though that hardly reflected the race!

Inostroza just held on to keep third ahead of Drumont, with Kokubun and Kawakami fifth and sixth; the six drivers crossed the line only 1.2 seconds apart.

The result means that all four races this season have been won by a different driver and in each case it has been a series first victory for the driver in question. It also means that the field is very tightly packed, with Igor Fraga still leading by just one point from Drumont, and the top seven is covered by just three points.

Current Standings (After Four Rounds):

  1. Igor Fraga (Brazil) – 7 points
  2. Kylian Drumont (France) – 6 points
  3. Jose Serrano (Spain) – 5 points
  4. Ryota Kokubun (Japan) – 5 points
  5. Angel Inostroza (Chile) – 4 points
  6. Lucas Bonelli (Brazil) – 4 points
  7. Valerio Gallo (Italy) – 4 points
  8. Baptiste Beauvois (France) – 3 points
  9. Takuma Miyazono (Japan) – 1 point

The 12 drivers from the Showdown, Round 2, and Round 3 will now head into the World Final later this month, where they’ll be joined by the top 18 qualifiers from the Online Season 2 to fight for the title in a live event to be held in Monaco.

Whoever scores the most World Series points across all five events will be crowned the 2022 champion and, as things stand, that could still go to anybody.

See more articles on .

About the Author