The Mercedes Benz Virtual GP has always given the viewers some incredible racing; year after year, the series has grown from strength to strength, and for the first time in VGPs history, the series travels to the Hockenheimring for the sixth instalment of the 2022 campaign, and the final round in the GT3 cars before VGP does its traditional swap to the single-seater segment of the championship. Martin Ŝtefanko, driving for the ESET team, has been in fine form this year, winning the last three races in a row, giving the 2017 champion a 15-point lead at the top of the table, with the Přáda pairing from the ERT Racing team currently second and third in the championship.
All is not well, however, following some questionable actions at the last round at Donington Park, in particular from ESETs Tomáš Korený, and MECA/ALL4SIMs Michal Limon. In a statement released by the organisers at VGP, here is the outcome of countless discussions between the stewarding teams, sponsors and organisers following the race:
Driver #52 Tomáš Korený has been excluded from the rest of the 2022 season for:
- Crashing into an opponent on purpose, trying to disable his car
- This driver had such an accident in the past as well, and he knew that another such thing would see him severely punished right away
- Inappropriate and harsh language towards drivers and stewards
- Disrespect towards stewards and their ruling
Driver #28 Michal Limon has been given a conditional exclusion until the end of the season, and he has also been given a pit lane start for the next race (Hockenheimring) and a qualifying ban from the following race (Silverstone) for:
- Inappropriate, harsh and brassy language towards drivers and stewards
- Very inappropriate language using the disallowed voice chat
- Violating the basic rule for general behaviour within the series
Korený will be replaced by another driver that has competed in VGP in the past, Josef Vaculčík, for Hockenheimring, with a longer-term replacement yet to be announced. Several other drivers were also giving warnings regarding verbal conduct, further demonstrating that the organisers will not tolerate disruptive behaviour from the participating drivers, which is clearly outlined in their rulebook that all drivers agree to abide by before the season began.
Korený has been a regular driver for several seasons with VGP, and whilst it is a shame to see a driver of his calibre sidelined for the rest of the season, racing conduct, both on and off track, is always of vital importance to be maintained to a high standard, especially when the driver’s position carries sponsorship branding with it. Lessons have undoubtedly been learnt from these events, and VGP looks ahead now to providing yet more excellent racing coverage for the 2022 season.
The English coverage of the race will be available on the VGP YouTube Channel on Thursday June 23rd.