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Adam Baldwin gains dramatic promotion to GT Pro

Deuces Motorsport Club’s Adam Baldwin  has taken a GT Pro spot for Season Five in dramatic fashion. The final race at Indianapolis had six drivers in contention for an automatic promotion spot, however only five could make it through. EEWC driver Jimi Nisula was one of these alongside Baldwin, but with a 21-point advantage going into the last 45 minutes of the season, things were looking comfortable for him.

Things were even less comfortable for Baldwin, after managing ninth in a poor qualifying, as he had his work cut out in the Sprint Race. From here he only gained one position, to the expense of Satellite Racing’s Henri Sinik, meaning he would lose six points to Turkka Hakkinen. The Nitor Velox driver put in a solid drive of his own and even got teammate assistance in the form of Christian Michel to finish the race in fourth, gaining six points on Baldwin. Going into the final race, it was between Hakkinen and Baldwin for the all important fifth place, with 10 points separating the duo.

Race Two started badly for Hakkinen. He was pushed out wide by a combination of Henri Sinik and Phillip Drayss, forcing him to go across the grass. As he rejoined, he collided with Jimi Nisula and they both went spinning off the circuit. It was already a disaster for the Finish pair, but things were made even worse as Adam Baldwin took the lead on the opening lap. At this point, Hakkinen needed to gain eight positions in the remainder of the race to gain automatic promotion.

Phillip Drayss and Erhan Jajovski were having solid rounds, so they were safe for promotion. Christian Michel had already clinched the overall title and was also safe. Hakkinen wouldn’t be able to put 11 positions between himself and Jimi Nisula to elimate the Satellite driver, so that was out of the question too. The automatic promotion spots were rapidly running out for the former GT Pro driver, and so was time remaining in the race. After nearly half an hour he was 14th, but none of this mattered if Baldwin still won the race.

There was hope for Hakkinen in the form of Jajovski and Michel, who managed to pass Phillip Drayss for second with seven minutes to go. And with two laps to go, they were on the back of the Deuces Motorsports Club McLaren. Jajovski made three attempts to get through, but he was pushed wide on all three occasions by Baldwin. Christian Michel also made an attempt with two corners to go, but neither driver could pass him thereby giving Adam Baldwin an automatic promotion to GT Pro for Season Five.

Despite his valiant effort, Turkka Hakkinen will have to go through the Playoff Race to become a GT Pro driver for the second time. He will join two EEWC drivers in this race, with Zoltan Varkonyi and Henri Sinik making it to the race. The latter could give Satellite Racing a boost of two cars in the next season of GT Pro if he is promoted, and it would be a great story since he only made it through to the race by four points. Varkonyi was in the action at Indianapolis but he started the day in a very safe position, and so finished the season in an expected seventh.

GT Challenge is now over for Season Four. The series will make a return in 2022 along with GT Pro, and the all important Playoff Race.

Image © Deuces Motorsports Club Facebook page

About The Author

Ewan O'Leary
Key-commentator on the GTR24H Sprint Series.
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