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Team UK’s Baldwin wins Esports gold at FIA Motorsport Games

James Baldwin secured a maiden gold medal for Team United Kingdom at the FIA Motorsport Games with a lights-to-flag victory in the Esports final.

James Baldwin

Arriving as one of the pre-event favourites, Baldwin took a comfortable quarter-final triumph on Friday and then passed Team Brazil’s Igor Rodrigues to win Saturday's opening semi-final and earn pole position for the final.

The highly successful Esports star turned British GT racer prevailed in a three-wide battle at the rolling start with Chris Harteveld (Netherlands) and Martin Kadlecik (Czech Republic) to lead into the first corner.

Meanwhile Kadlecik spun after contact with Harteveld, and then was collected by Rodrigues, and there were several other incidents further down the order on the opening lap.

Harteveld remained on the tail of Baldwin for the first half of the hour-long contest, the front two pulling clear of Spain’s Alberto Garcia Gomez and Australia’s Phillippa Boquida.

After resisting the pressure Baldwin edged clear following his mandatory pitstop, eventually prevailing by 2.942 seconds, with Harteveld taking silver.

Having missed out on a medal at the very first Motorsport Games in Rome in 2019, Baldwin was relieved to come out on top.

“It was a really hard race because Chris was definitely faster in the first half an hour, so any mistake and he was through,” said Baldwin.

“I had a lower downforce setup so I could hold the lead on the straight, and in the final 10 minutes I had three track limits warnings, so if I had run wide again I would have got a penalty.

"There was quite high pressure, there were quite a lot of races, but I’m happy to finally come away with the win against some tough opposition.”

Gomez came out on top in the battle for the bronze medal with Boquida by 2s, while Kadlecik recovered from his lap one spin to finish fifth.

Harris Mitropoulos was sixth for Greece ahead of Singapore’s Ar Muhammed Aleef, and Japan's Sota Muto.

Indonesia’s Presley Martono was ninth, while Rodrigues pulled off a number of overtakes to recover from 17th to 10th.

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