Kevin Ellis in double Porsche Esports victories | FOS Future Lab
The UK’s Kevin Ellis Jr. scored an unusual double win this weekend as two separate Porsche Esports championships got underway for 2021.
First to wave the green flag was the international Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, starting again barely two months after Sebastian Job took the 2020 title. However the Brits had to play second fiddle to Australian dominance in the early stages.
The champion of 2019 Josh Rogers took the first pole position of the season, in the sprint race at the Interlagos circuit – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace – in Brazil, with countryman, team-mate, and the man who deposed him as V8 Supercars champion last year Dayne Warren right alongside him. Defending champion Job could only place 12th, one spot ahead of Ellis.
A relatively well-behaved race saw the top three finish just how they qualified, with Rogers winning from Warren and Norway’s Tommy Ostgaard in third. In fact, but for Mitchell DeJong slipping past Martin Kronke, the top six were almost unchanged. The man on the move though was Ellis, who made his way up into seventh at the end of the ten lap race, with last year’s third-place driver Alejandro Sanchez just behind him.
That put Sanchez on pole from Ellis for the reverse grid feature race, worth more points now as one of the rule changes for 2021 – 50 points for the win compared to 25 points for the sprint race.
Ellis hit the front with a calculated move through the Senna S on lap five, eventually securing the lead into turn four, dropping Sanchez back into the clutches of Rogers and debutant Charlie Collins. Drama was soon to strike though, as Rogers attempted to pass Sanchez. The Australian switched back onto the inside at Ferradura, but clipped the inside kerb. That launched his car into the unlucky Sanchez, dropping both cars back down the grid. Job too was having issues. Having been only 12th in race one but now ahead of his major title rivals in the feature race, Job was struck by technical issues with his simulator and also dropped out of the running.
At the front though, Ellis was having no problems and controlled the pace to take the chequered flag for his first Porsche Esports Supercup win in two seasons. Just behind him Max Benecke pipped Mitchell DeJong at the line, with Zac Campbell under a tenth further back in fourth. That all results in Ellis leading the championship on 64 points, just four points fromDeJong, and Kronke six further back on 54 points.
There was more Porsche action on Sunday, with the Porsche Carrera Cup GB making its debut. This event, for drivers from the UK, saw some familiar names in action again, including Job, Ellis, and Graham Carroll. It wasn’t much of a surprise to see the trio at the sharp end, with Job on pole position at Silverstone, but it wasn’t quite as expected to see Peter Berryman alongside him; Carroll and Ellis had to settle for the second row.
Free from the issues of the previous day, Job was able to claim a lights-to-flag win, but Berryman kept in touch to finish second by just 0.5 seconds. Carroll and Ellis also held station to finish where they had started.
The reverse grid race saw Jamie Moone take pole courtesy of his sixth-place finish in race one, from Josh Thompson, but neither stayed there long. A hard-charging Ellis swept past both on the opening lap, beating Thompson off the line before almost taking the lead from Moone through Luffield. He eventually made sure of it through Stowe. Meanwhile, Job was heading in the other direction, having fluffed his lines on the grid and dropped back into the pack. Carroll repeated the move – this time on Thompson – four laps later, but Ellis had simply built up too big a lead, taking the win and championship lead. Berryman crossed the line in third for his second successive podium, while Job had to settle for fifth, behind Thompson, after a recovery drive through the field.
Although not racing this weekend, Formula E has announced its esports plans for 2021, with the Accelerate series. This will see all 12 official teams represented by real-world Formula E drivers, influencers and qualifying drivers from an online competition.
If you fancy taking part you don’t have much time. The qualifying event runs through to only 13th January, using the rFactor 2 simulator, but at least the top three drivers are guaranteed a spot on this season’s grid. There’s a £90,000 prize pool on offer and, if that weren’t tempting enough, one driver will win a real-world test of a Gen.2 Formula E car during an official race weekend.
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