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Steve Whitfield

Motorsport Games: Italy tops medal table as final day goes down to the wire

Home nation France led the way with a treble gold-haul on Saturday, but were not able to add to their tally, while Belgium and Germany joined Italy in having a successful final day.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli scored Italy’s third gold in Sunday morning’s F4 Cup race. The Mercedes Formula 1 junior dominated after an early safety car period despite struggling with pain from a wrist injury sustained in a qualifying incident. Portugal’s Manuel Espirito Santo finished second ahead of Spain’s Bruno Del Pino Ventos.

France were denied a fourth gold in the Junior Karting final, with Jules Caranta losing an on-the-road win after being handed a post-race penalty, with Peru’s Andreas Cardenas awarded victory. The Senior final was disrupted by a chaotic opening lap, where 11 of the starting 30 drivers crashed out. With leading contenders Nacho Tunon (Spain) and Joel Bergstom (Sweden) among the retirees in a clash over second, Ellie Goldstein took a comfortable victory from pole for Belgium.

That gave Belgium its second gold of the games and, having secured pole for both the Touring Car and GT Sprint races, it looked likely to challenge France and Italy at the top of the medal table.

#16 Belgium Audi RS3 LMS: Gilles Magnus, Touring Car (Photo by: SRO)

But, crucially, it was not able to translate either pole into a further triumph. Things went awry in the Touring Car event, with Giles Magnus retiring from the lead as he completed the opening lap of the main race, suffering a repeat of the driveshaft issues experienced by other Audi drivers over the weekend.

That handed the lead to Tom Coronel, who controlled the remainder of the encounter to seal a second gold for Team Netherlands. Ireland’s Jack Young finished second on the road, but a five-second penalty for an earlier incident with France’s Teddy Clairet demoted him to third, handing Spain’s Isidro Callejas Gomez silver.

Team United Kingdom’s Chris Smiley recovered from a difficult qualifying to move up to 10th in the qualifying race, and made up a further two places in the main race to finish eighth in a Honda Civic.

Belgium's Dries Vanthoor slipped from first to fifth at the start of the GT Sprint, as Matt Campbell snatched a lead he would not relinquish to secure Australia’s first gold. Vanthoor recovered to finish third behind Mirko Bortolotti, whose second place enabled Italy to edge France on silver-medal countback as the games drew to a close.

#4 Australia Porsche 911 GT3 R: Matt Campbell, GT Sprint Cup (Photo by: SRO)

Team Germany scored a double-gold haul in the slalom events to finish the games tied in fourth with the Netherlands. Its pairing of Marcel Hellberg and Claire Schonborn were untouchable at the wheel of an electric Opel Corsa e-Rally, defeating Slovakia’s Michaela Dorcik and David Nemcek in the Auto Slalom final.

The karting equivalent was won by Annika Spielberger and Sebastian Romberg, who were up against Belgium’s Romy De Groot and Dario Pemov in the final.

The UK finished sixth overall in the medal table, thanks to a gold for James Baldwin (Esports) and a bronze for Ian Loggie and Sam Neary (GT Cup) on Saturday.

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