Two races, two winners and plenty of tense Esports action
Two races, two different winners and plenty of action at the season-opening round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup (PESC).
The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup returned with a dramatic opener at Brazil’s Autódromo José Carlos Pace this weekend, and anyone watching was left in no doubt that virtual racing can be just as dramatic as its real-life equivalent.
Australia’s Joshua Rogers (VRS Coanda Simsport) dominated the sprint race over ten laps at the wheel of his virtual Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Meanwhile, Britain’s Kevin Ellis Jr. (Apex Racing Team) went on to clinch victory in the main race, which ran over more than double the distance.
The reigning champion Sebastian Job (Red Bull Racing Esports) experienced a patch of bad luck at the first round of the international Esports championship run on the iRacing simulation platform: after finishing the sprint race in 12th he had to retire from the main event early with technical woes.
Rogers, however, showed top form during Saturday’s qualifying, and was rewarded with the best time and pole position for the first race of the season. His teammate and fellow Aussie Dayne Warren turned the second-fastest lap, meaning the front grid row was firmly in Australian hands. With their VRS Coanda Simsport teammates Mitchell DeJong (USA), Norway’s Tommy Östgaard and the German Martin Krönke trailing closely behind, Rogers and Warren dominated the action and despite many thrilling tussles for positions and collisions, especially in the midfield, Rogers calmly brought home a convincing lights-to-flag victory.
When it came to the main race, and because of the new reverse grid line-up of the first eight starters, Alejandro Sánchez (MSI eSports) took up the race from the best position, with Rogers in eighth. The Australian gained several positions early on and was running in fourth after four laps, but a fierce duel with Sánchez ended in a collision and both drivers fell behind.
At one point, no fewer than three rookies were among the top ten but after a nail-biting fight between DeJong and Ellis Jr., the latter took the flag by a nose.
“The early phase was extremely turbulent with a lot of contact and incidents. Luckily, I remained unscathed and managed to set my pace at the front. Managing the tyre temperature is critical,” said Ellis Jr after the race. “At the end, things got really tight again and I had to pull out all stops. At the flag, it was a matter of millimetres – in my favour, fortunately.”
The action continues this coming weekend when the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup visits a digital version of Barcelona’s Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya on Saturday (16 January).