Lukáš Přáda dramatized the end of the race, but the victory narrowly escaped him
The Mercedes-Benz Virtual GP 2023 started with the long-awaited race in Bathurst, Australia, which was marked by duels between the favoured teams of Tomáš Enge SIM Racing and Entropiq.
The demanding Mount Panorama circuit, which is more than six kilometres long, was included in the calendar of the most prestigious Czech-Slovak virtual series for the first time, but the drivers’ performance was not affected. Most of them had trained to the max. The pilots of the two leading teams had already made their mark in qualifying, taking the first two rows on the grid. Lukáš Přáda jumped to 2nd place with his final attempt, but he was still a bit short of Martin Kadlečík’s best time. The second driver of the Tomáš Enge SIM Racing line-up, Adam Pilo, started from 4th place next to another Entropiq driver Martin Sirotek.
The fleeting start to the 55-minute race was tactically better handled by the Entropiq pair, and so Lukáš Přáda had to work hard to hold on to 2nd place. Qualifying winner Martin Kadlecik was able to build a lead that oscillated around 2 seconds. Lukáš Přáda kept ahead of Martin Sirotek, but was unable to break away. Adam Pilo rode alone in 4th position, the rest of the field behind him had a bigger gap. All the favourites delayed the mandatory pit stop until late in the race and completed it almost simultaneously. Lukáš Přáda made the most of it and his pitstop went very well. He reduced the gap to Kadlecik to about a second and with a crushing finish he was closing in at lightning speed. At the end of the race he was the king of the Australian circuit, he got a bonus point for the fastest lap, but he didn’t get to the real attack. He crossed the finish line 187 thousandths of a second later than the winning Kadlecik. Adam Pilo finished his debut Virtual GP event in 4th place.
Lukáš Přáda: “I’m not completely satisfied because I made a driving mistake in the run-up to the last lap. I braked and was too far away at the point where I wanted to attack. Then I couldn’t think of anything. We’ve had good training, but our rivals are very strong. As you can see, we still have room for improvement.”
Adam Pilo: “I felt up to the box, but at first I was bound by nerves. I was too cautious, trying to avoid any contact with the barrier. By the time I got up to speed, it was actually decided. The gaps in front and behind me were so big that I could only maintain 4th place. Next time I’ll go right from the start.”
Drivers – 1. Martin Kadlecik (Entropiq) 35, 2. Lukáš Přáda (Tomáš Enge SIM Racing) 26, 3. Martin Sirotek (Entropiq) 20, 4. Adam Pilo (Tomáš Enge SIM Racing) 18, 5. Petr Hermoch (Big Shock!) 16, 6. Zdeněk Kaška (JD simracing) 14, Teams – 1. Entropiq 55, 2. Tomáš Enge SIM Racing 44, 3. Big Shock! 28, 4. JD simracing 22, 5. Lenovo Legion 15, 6. Janík Motorsport/JJRT 6.