Germany’s Mikail Hizal has shown remarkable speed all weekend and clinched the victory in dominant fashion, with Australia’s Cody Nikola of Australia and Takuma Miyazono of Japan rounding out the podium.
The general qualifying round on Friday pared the 36 drivers—hailing from 18 territories/countries—down to 12 finalists. These drivers then began from a clean slate on Sunday, starting with qualifying, followed by four races.
The final race was held at the Autodromo de Interlagos in Brazil, with the drivers behind the wheel of the Red Bull X2019 Competition machine in a 22-lap showdown.
Unlike the first three races, the drivers were required to use all three compound tires for a minimum of six laps, meaning at least two pit stops were required.
Hizal led the pack around the first corner when the green flag dropped. Daniel Solis of the US took advantage of his soft-compound tires and worked his way up from eighth to third place in the span of three laps. By Lap 4, Hizal’s plan was working perfectly as he had already built a four-second lead on the rest of the field.
The German was on an alternative strategy to most of his opponents, staying out when the majority of the pack pitted. He then went on to dominate the final race, leading nearly every lap.
“I feel relieved because this is potentially my last World Finals [event]. Just in case I can’t return because of my studies, I wanted to give it my best this year.
“I was very anxious today, not wanting to make any mistakes, but things went really well. I just can’t believe it. This was the main goal for me this year, and now that I’ve achieved it, I’m so happy,” concluded the German ace.
Toyota takes Manufacturer Series honors
Mercedes-Benz looked to put the crowning glory on a brilliant year that resulted in two World Tour event victories in New York and Salzburg for the Manufacturer.
It all came down to the very final event of the year to decide which team would be crowned in the Manufacture Series. With the points worth double for the Grand Final, the likes of BMW, Lexus, Alfa Romeo, and Aston Martin still had a chance to steal the title away from Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, which sat atop the leaderboard with 22 points each.
The final encounter of the season took place at Tokyo Expressway – South Inner Loop, with both favorites Mercedes-Benz and Toyota adopting different tire strategies on the tight and twisty street course.
Mercedes-Benz driver Cody Nikola Latkovski to started the race in the AMG GT3 on soft-compound tires, while Team Toyota went with Tomoaki Yamanaka of Japan in the GR Supra Racing Concept on the slowest hard-compound rubber.
The Japanese manufacturer, with Yamanaka, joined by Rayan Derrouiche and Igor Fraga, came out on top finishing ahead of Mercedes and Chevrolet teams that rounded out the podium.
After the final points had been tallied up, Toyota had won the 2019 FIA GT Manufacturer Series title, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo.