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26 Apr 2021 ------

McLaren Shadow and Williams clash in scintilating contest

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Two of Group B's best outfits went head-to-head in Round 3, but which one came out on top?

The first match of Round 3 is the clash between McLaren Shadow Esports and Williams Esports. Both teams are aiming to be the best in Group B, but will have to improve upon their results in Round 2. McLaren Shadow drew 2-2 with Fordzilla, while Williams were dominated by BMW.

This is a huge match-up for how the qualifying race will play out in Group B. Let's see how the two British outfits got on!

Mesmeric Monza

McLaren Shadow Esports: James Baldwin, Isaac Gillissen & Elvin Smith

Williams Esports: Kuba Brzezinski, Martin Stefanko & Nikodem Wisniewski

The Italian circuit Monza hosted the first of this two-legged affair. We began with the relay race, where McLaren Shadow's James Baldwin started on pole and Kuba Brzezinski sat in P2 on the grid. Baldwin got the perfect getaway, but Brzezinski sat in his slipstream.

Baldwin continued on for a second lap, with Brzezinski diving into the pits for the first driver change of the race. Martin Stefanko took over the Williams, as Baldwin pitted at the end of Lap 2 of 4 to let Isaac Gillissen take over the McLaren.

It was Elvin Smith v Nikodem Wisniewski, in the final lap, but Smith had an over two-second gap advantage when he re-joined the circuit.

Wisniewski reduced the gap, but it wasn't enough, as McLaren Shadow drew first blood in this contest to lead 1-0.

McLaren Shadow rapid off the line

Baldwin started on pole for the five laps of the team race, but had all three Williams cars directly behind him. That didn't faze Smith nor Gillissen though, as they both got perfect launches to climb to P4 and P5 after Turn 1, despite contact between Wisniewski and Gillissen.

Sensationally, though, Baldwin made a mistake at the Rettifilio and handed the lead to Brzezinski.

Isaac Gillissen was let through by Smith into P4 and justified why on Lap 2, when he flew past Martin Stefanko into third. At the back, Smith ran Wisniewski off the road in the Rettifilio. McLaren was really asserting themselves, and Baldwin was all over the back of Brzezinski for the lead on Lap 3.

However, Baldwin would make a crucial error at the Ascari chicane and fell back. Baldwin did his best to catch up, but Brzezinski won and Stefanko's P4 sealed the point for Williams. The contest was now tied 1-1.

Sensational Silverstone

The second leg of this exciting contest took us to the UK and the Silverstone Circuit. Williams' Brzezinski started on pole, but Baldwin was just behind.

Baldwin jumped the Williams off the line, but the two went wheel-to-wheel through Village and Farm. It took until Luffield for a decisive move, with Baldwin taking the lead.

Brzezinski pitted at the end of Lap 1, as Baldwin continued, mirroring the Monza relay race. Baldwin pitted at the end of Lap 2, as did Wisniewski. It would be down to Smith and Stefanko on the final lap for the victory again.

Smith emerged ahead, but only by just over a second. Stefanko was quicker, but Smith had a big enough advantage to convert the win for McLaren Shadow as they took the lead 2-1.

Last lap drama in the team race

It was all down to the team race at Silverstone. Baldwin started on pole and Gillssen again got a great start to jump into P2, but he couldn't hold it, dropping behind Stefanko through Village. Brzezinski also passed Gillissen, despite an arm-full of opposite lock through Brooklands.

At the back, Wisniewski would make a huge error of judgement, as he broke too late and hit the back of Smith. Baldwin still led on Lap 4, so the only thing that could change the outcome of this race was Wisniewski overtaking Gillissen for P4.

Gillissen attempted to get P3, but was instead put under pressure for fourth, as he and Wisniewski raced side-by-side through the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel section. The Dutchman remained fourth, but the pressure was firmly on.

Gillissen and Wisniewski came to blows at the final corner, and while Wisniewski crossed the line ahead, the stewards penalised the Williams driver forcing his opponent off the track. That handed a third, and crucial, point to McLaren, who take the tie 3-1.

In the Group B standings, Williams draw level with BMW at the top on six points. McLaren Shadow climb to third, just one point behind Williams but with a race in hand.

Williams sit out Round 4, so they'll be back in two weeks' time to take on Fordzilla. McLaren Shadow will race against BMW in Round 4, a huge match-up in the Group stage!

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