Penultimate-lap drama sees Optimum Motorsport’s Team Morocco McLaren DNF at Circuit Paul Ricard
Michael Benyahia found himself nursing a puncture as Team France’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 turns in on the McLaren on the penultimate lap of the FIA Motorsport Games’ 60-minute sprint race.
The weekend began with a pair of 30-minute practice sessions, which were followed by qualifying a little after midday. Lining up ninth on the grid, Michael lost places on the opening lap but quickly regained track position as he passed Baptista in the Team Brazil Mercedes-AMG and Chen in the Chinese entered Ferrari.
The first quarter of the race complete and it was a hunt for a mid-field position as the Moroccan driver started to catch those out in front.
Michael moved up to eighth as just thirty minutes remained and with a top-five finish insight, it was game on to the chequered flag.
Taking time out of Juncadella, Michael was gaining on the Brazilian entrant lap after lap and within eight tenths as the race began to draw to a close.
Passing the Team Brazil Mercedes-AMG (who also received a five-second time penalty for track limit violations), Michael found himself sitting in seventh with two further Mercedes and a Porsche to contend with.
It was down to the final two laps and the pressure was on as the battle for fifth place was split between three cars all within one second of each other.
As he looked to make the move on the inside, Michael fell victim to the Team France Mercedes-AMG, seeing the McLaren suffer a puncture and ultimately, retire out on track in the penultimate lap of the race.
On course to claim a top-five finish as well as crossing the line as the highest placed Silver driver, the DNF doesn’t take away from the phenomenal efforts of both the team and driver. Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, later that evening announced the third instalment of the FIA Motorsport Games is to be held at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia in 2024 - we look forward to the prospect of returning to the event in two year’s time.