Rogers takes Porsche Supercup esports lead | FOS Future Lab
Australia’s Joshua Rogers has hit the front in the Porsche Esports Supercup title race after victory in the feature race at Imola.
Defending champion Sebastian Job proved the fastest man of all around the Italian circuit in the 911 GT3 Cup cars, setting a pole position time almost two-tenths ahead of Rogers for the sprint race, while incumbent series leader Mitchell DeJong could only place in 15th – only four-tenths further back.
The sprint race initially followed the format we’ve been getting used to this season, with very little change in the top ten across the opening laps. It looked like a typical Job performance would lead to a lights-to-flag win, but Rogers made a move into Villeneuve on lap eight that saw the VRS driver take the lead.
A rather robust challenge from Job through Piratella re-take the lead and gain just enough of a gap over Rogers to effectively break the slipstream – and put Zac Campbell into his mirrors. Max Benecke also managed to slip past Alejandro Sanchez, who then lost two more places as he made a mistake on the final trip through Variante Alta.
That put Sanchez on pole for the feature race, but as he, Kevin Ellis, and Charlie Collins kept their noses clean at the front there was drama just behind. While attempting to follow Rogers through past Campbell, Job unwisely tried to go two wide through Villeneuve. The British driver took too tight a line, making contact with the American, and span off. Third-place man Collins made a mistake on his own at the same corner the following lap, hitting the inside kerb too hard and taking a small trip to the gravel. However it was enough to drop him to tenth and create a gap between the front two and Yohann Harth, now in third.
Rogers was the man on the move however. Making short work of Harth and Benecke, the 2019 champion set about closing the 1.7-second gap ahead of him to Ellis. It didn’t take long, as Rogers first passed Ellis and then followed that with a move on Sanchez, both at Tamburello on success laps, to lead with half the race remaining.
However getting away from the duo wasn’t quite as easy, with the three cars running practically line-astern right to the flag. Even though Rogers made a mistake braking into Tosa, Sanchez wasn’t able to capitalise, and they reached the finish separated by less than three-quarters of a second.
With the extra points from the feature race, Rogers now leads DeJong by 37 points, with Dayne Warren running third ahead of Benecke, Ellis, Sanchez and Job in seventh, heading into next week’s races from Silverstone.
Job had better fortunes in Sunday’s Porsche Carrera Cup GB races, taking a clean sweep in the Snetterton round. After setting pole position, by just 0.069 seconds, ahead of Jamie Fluke, Job lost out to Fluke courtesy of a small slide through Nelson.
The championship leader got the corner right two laps later though, getting alongside Fluke and eventually taking the lead onto the main straight. With his corner exit compromised, Fluke then tumbled down to fifth as Kevin Ellis, Josh Thompson, and Graham Carroll all streamed past.
Job seemed to simply maintain the gap to Ellis behind him and take the win by 1.2 seconds, with Carroll claiming yet another podium.
Jack Sedgwick took the reverse grid pole, but threw the advantage away with a solo spin in the Montreal corner. That put Fluke to the front again, with Thompson in second and Carroll and Job in the Red Bull cars just behind. Thompson couldn’t hold out for long though, as Carroll made his move through Riches, allowing Job to follow under braking for Montreal. Fluke almost fell victim to the same tag-team overtake two laps later, but in defending the first pass found himself out of position in Montreal and allowing not only the Red Bulls past but also team-mate Ellis – while Job was able to jump Carroll in the process. Things went from bad to worse for Fluke as another compromised exit in Murrays put Thompson and Bart Horsten on his rear wing. Thompson, defending from Horsten, missed his braking for Riches, putting both himself and Fluke off the track.
The final laps descended into chaos which will surely invite some further attention from the stewards. Carroll ended up being turned round in Nelson after locking up and being rear-ended by Ellis. Having inherited third, Horsten was then collected by Jon Robertson in Murrays on the same lap. There was no drama for Job though, completing the race double with a healthy 3.5-second lead from provisional podium sitters Ellis and Robertson.
Erhan Jajovski took the first win in the new Formula E Accelerate esports championship, with a controlled lights-to-flag victory. Despite an early challenge from Manuel Biancolilla, Jajovski was able to cover off all comers, even finishing with battery power to spare while his rivals all ended on zero per cent charge. A time penalty saw Graham Carroll end up relegated from second to 13th, with fastest lap setter Kevin Siggy Rebernak promoted to third.
NASCAR has also announced this week that its pro-driver esports series will return this year. Staged on ten Wednesday evenings across the season, the Pro Invitational will see the real Cup Series drivers go head to head in iRacing.
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