Joshua Rogers wins the first Rennsport Esports event | FOS Future Lab
ESL R1 and Rennsport might be the newest names in Esports and sim racing, but a familiar face has come away from the showcase opening live event in Katowice, Poland, leading the championship.
Joshua Rogers (Porsche) and Maximilian Benecke (Mouz) took the race wins in rounds one and two of the brand-new championship – using the new, unreleased Rennsport platform – with Rogers heading the table as the series now moves into its online rounds.
The first round of the series took place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and it wasn’t long before the first major incident. In the first knockout race, Bono Huis (Mercedes) ended up facing the wrong way on the Kemmel Straight after being sideswiped by Yuri Kasdorp (Mouz).
Jeffrey Reitveld (Redline) converted his pole position to a race win with some ease, followed by Marcell Csincsik (R8G), Jamie Fluke (Apex), Dennis Schoeniger (Williams), and Joni Tormala (G2) in the same order they started. Mikkel Gade (Heroic) took the final spot, charging up from tenth on the grid. Dayne Warren (Porsche) took pole in QF2 with the fastest lap of the quarters, but after an entertaining opening lap battle he crashed three laps from home. Luke Bennett (Redline) won the race from Moritz Lohner (Mouz) and Robbie Stapleford (G2), with Erhan Jajovski (R8G), Kevin Ellis Jr (Apex) and Jeff Giassi (Furia) in the final qualifying spots.
Benecke had no trouble in QF3, qualifying on pole from James Baldwin (Mercedes) and streaking clear as Baldwin and Nikodem Wisniewski (Williams) tangled over second. Tommy Ostgaard earned a jump start penalty, leaving Jiri Toman (R8G), Nils Naujoks (BMW), and Peter Berryman (Apex) to qualify.
Rogers was another driver having a trouble-free quarter-final, leading from lights to flag from Enzo Bonito (Mercedes). Patrick Holzmann (Mous) had third all race long but dropped behind Yoann Harth (Apex) and Risto Kappet (R8G) on the last lap, with Isaac Price (G2) rounding out the six.
Audi dominated the semi-finals, as Lohner took SF1 pole from Jajovski and then Csincsik. They’d finish in that order ahead of Bennett in the anomalous BMW ahead of Fluke and Ellis; Rietveld was a surprise elimination.
Toman was perhaps a surprise pole-sitter in SF2 ahead of Benecke and Harth, all in Audis, and they’d be joined in the final by Wisniewski, Bonito, Rogers, and Price, as Baldwin was penalised for causing a crash between Bonito and Holzmann.
Benecke took pole position for the final with the fastest lap of the day as Audis lined up in all of the top six spots, and streaked a second clear of Toman and Csincsik almost immediately. He’d hold that gap right through the race to take the first ever ESL R1 win.
Round 1 Results
1. Maximilian Benecke (Mous) – Audi R8 – 9 laps
2. Jiri Toman (R8G) - Audi R8 – +0.776
3. Marcell Csincsik (R8G) – Audi R8 – +1.312
For round two, the racing moved to Hockenheim, but results initially stayed the same. Rietveld again set the fastest lap for QF1, ahead of Csincsik, and the duo would finish 1-2 to advance untroubled. They’d be joined by Phil Denes (BMW), Huis, Lohner, and Bakkum.
Warren was again on pole position for QF2, ahead of Jajovski, but made a more comfortable start than at Spa to take a lights-to-flag win. In fact the top six positions never changed as Baldwin would come third ahead of Bonito, Eamonn Murphy (G2), and Ellis.
All the drama was saved for QF3, although Tim Jarschel (FaZe) converted his pole position to a win with relative comfort after Felipe Baptista (Furia) caused a five-car collision that took Bennett, Holzmann, and Naujoks out of the running. Berryman would take second from Toman, DeJong (Porsche), Carroll (Mercedes) and Price.
After a bad Saturday, Kevin Siggy took pole in QF4 from Rogers, but Rogers would take the lead at the hairpin on lap seven. Tormala, Daire McCormack (Williams), Marko Pejic (Mercedes) and Benecke were the final qualifiers.
Rietveld went back-to-back with another lights-to-flag win in the first semi-final. Jajovski had qualified second, but got a poor start and ended up being spun by Warren after the Porsche took too much kerb – in part trying to avoid Lohner – in the first turn. Csincsik would therefore again come second behind Rietveld, with Lohner, Bonito, Baldwin, and Ellis rounding out the six.
In SF2 Rogers took pole from Benecke and converted it into the most dominant victory of the weekend in coming home four seconds clear. Toman, Pejic, Siggy, and McCormack were best of the rest to earn finals spots.
Rogers once again topped the order in final qualifying, this time ahead of Lohner as Siggy, Benecke, and Rietveld were all well off their fastest times of the day. That couldn’t be said of Rogers who made the best start to build a small gap which he’d hold right through to the chequered flag. Lohner and Csincsik would bring their Audis home in qualifying order.
Round 2 Results
1. Joshua Rogers (Porsche) – Porsche 911 – 13 laps
2. Moritz Lohner (Mous) – Audi R8 – +0.468
3. Marcell Csincsik (R8G) – Audi R8 – +1.571
Sebastian Job won his fifth straight Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB race, but saw his streak broken in the latest races at Snetterton.
Job again secured pole position and the victory in the first race, with the fastest lap as well to complete a grand slam. However a collision in the opening stages of the reversed-grid race with his nearest championship rival Will Chadwick saw the 2021 champion finish a lowly 14th.
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