The seventh and final round took the virtual action to Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, for two races that would decide the destination of the esports crown. In principle, any one of seven drivers – all of whom had won at least one race this season – could take the title. Ehrlacher and Michelisz were in prime position, with Mikel Azcona, Mato Homola, and Esteban Guerrieri, who’s been active in esports across several disciplines this summer, all within 30 points of the lead.
It was Guerrieri who drew first blood, taking pole position for the race in his Civic Type R, but alongside him on the front row was Ehrlacher’s Lynk & Co 03. However Guerrieri got the perfect start and with compatriot and team-mate Nestor Girolami making the turn one pass for second, Ehrlacher was soon down to third.
However the action further back would prove crucial in deciding the championship’s destination. Michelisz and fellow Hungarian Attila Tassi came into contact while battling for fourth. That saw both swamped by the chasing pack and importantly dropped Michelisz – who was originally a sim-racer before entering real-world motorsports – back to a lowly tenth place.
While Michelisz was eventually able to pass Tiago Monteiro and Bence Boldizs to finish seventh, this left Ehrlacher with an enormous points advantage for the second race.
Neither Guerrieri nor Michelisz – the only two remaining drivers who could overhaul Ehrlacher – were willing to settle for that, and despite the reverse grid format they stormed to the front in race two. The Hungarian almost immediately took the lead as Aurelien Comte in the Peugeot 308 ran wide. Guerrieri took a little longer, taking two bites to get past Homola before chasing down Michelisz.
Further back, Ehrlacher was in the wars, falling from sixth to 11th in the early tussles, knowing that a top-ten finish would be enough to win the title. Soon enough he was back in the top ten, and took advantage of other incidents to creep back up to seventh.
That meant that, despite another race win for Michelisz, and nearly the perfect weekend for Guerrieri, Ehrlacher took the drivers’ title for his Cyan Racing team by a slender five-point margin from the Hungarian’s Hyundai, with Guerrieri third in the Civic just one point further back.
WTCR resumes its real world season on September 12th in Salzburg, with Michelisz looking to defend his 2019 championship.
The penultimate round of Lamborghini’s The Real Race event also took place this weekend. This series sees sim racers attempting to qualify via five online races for a live final at Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese for a prize that includes a driving experience with a Lamborghini race car.
This latest race took drivers to the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Despite setting the fastest time in qualifying for the event, Giovanni de Salvo could only manage sixth on the grid for the race itself. However the Italian, who drives for the Jean Alesi eSports Academy, benefitted from some incidents ahead of him to finish second and qualify. Firstly Gianfranco Gigloli and Alberto Garcia came together in a turn one accident to relegate both out of the running, then Amir Hosseini and Jordan Sherratt both seemed unwilling to give each other space and ended up taking each other out in the S Curves.
Pole sitter Jesus Sicilia Sanchez had no such dramas, and simply showed the field a clean set of tail lights. Though de Salvo caught up near the end, the two were a full eight seconds clear of the rest and took their qualification spots at a canter.
There’s one more event to go and three qualification spots remaining, as the action shifts to Laguna Seca in two weeks.
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