Daire McCormack wins ESL R1 at Spa | FOS Future Lab

27th March 2023
Andrew Evans

Williams driver Daire McCormack became the fourth different winner in four rounds of ESLR1, claiming victory in the online round at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It’s the second time the championship has visited Spa, with the circuit hosting the first round in the inaugural live event in Poland. However the team behind the Rennsport simulator had updated the track, and the venue change meant it was difficult to judge form.

Friday’s quarter-final rounds saw the first big upset as Jeffrey Rietveld (Redline), who won his Spa quarter-final last month, was eliminated in QF1. All of February’s other quarter-final winners came through unscathed, with R1 champion Maximilian Benecke (Mouz) coming second behind Marcell Csincsik (R8G), and Joshua Rogers (Coanda) and Luke Bennett (Redline) qualifying in first and second in QF3.

Nils Naujoks (BS+) and Kevin Siggy (Redline) would win the other two quarter-finals, with Siggy banishing the memories of his elimination at Spa six weeks back. Erhan Jajovski (R8G) and Nikodem Wisniewski (Williams), both finalists last time the event raced here, were eliminated in their heats – Jajovski on the receiving end of a clumsy move from Bono Huis (Mercedes). Other championship front-runners safely through to the Monday semi-finals included Kevin Ellis Jr (ART), Moritz Lohner (Mouz), Enzo Bonito (Redline), and the consistent Jiri Toman (R8G).

The first semi-final brought more shocks, though the front three in qualifying – Bonito, Naujoks, and Csincsik – came as little surprise. Indeed after a clean start for all three, they’d finish as they started with little challenge from McCormack (Williams) and Oliveira behind.

Instead the major action all centred on that vital sixth place, which would eventually go to newcomer Lasse Sorensen (Furia) but only after an incident on lap four essentially eliminated Joni Tormala (G2) after an entertaining battle. That was precipitated by Ellis who missed his braking point at Rivage by a country mile, spinning Tormala and Jakub Brzezinski (Williams) in the resulting collision.

With an additional drive-through penalty, Ellis would be eliminated and miss a final for the very first time. Joining him would be Benecke who had a relatively poor qualifying – on a grid where just three-tenths separated first from last – and was never able to recover.

R3 winner Luke Bennett (Redline) was the form driver of the second semi-final, setting the fastest qualifying time of the weekend so far and taking a lights-to-flag win ahead of team-mate Siggy.

However the race hinged on a lap one incident at the Bus Stop, with Marko Pejic (Mercedes) piling into the rear of Rogers and spinning the Porsche driver to almost the back of the pack. Rogers had been trying to take sixth off Lohner at the time, and the incident created an insurmountable gap between the top six and the best of the rest.

After good but unremarkable results throughout, McCormack suddenly brought a burst of pace to the final and set the fastest time of the event to qualify on pole position.

Siggy beat Toman off the line to latch onto McCormack’s rear wing, and made a play for the lead into Les Combes, but McCormack held firm and soon Siggy was dropping back into the clutches of Toman. Toman though was content to bide his time, and waited until the penultimate lap to take his place back.

That scrap allowed McCormack to escape just a little too far down the road, and the Williams driver took the flag for his first ESL R1 victory. Second place for Toman was enough to see him leap to the top of the driver standings, 23 points clear of team-mate Csincsik, while Redline closed the gap to R8G in the teams’ championship to 69 points.

Round 4 Final Results

  1. Daire McCormack (Williams) - Mercedes-AMG GT3 - 7 laps
  2. Jiri Toman (R8G) - Audi R8 GT3 - +0.493s
  3. Kevin Siggy (Redline) - BMW M4 GT3 - +2.066s

Slovakia’s Bence Banki wrapped up the Esports WTCR championship with one race to spare following an entertaining evening at his home circuit of Slovakiaring.

Banki claimed his second title in typical form, scoring his fourth pole position in the five rounds and taking a lights-to-flag win from Alessandro Ottaviani in a race notable more for its bad-tempered scrap between Florian Hasse, Peter Pliska, and Gianmarco Fiduci.

That boiled over in the second race, with Pliska and team-mate Juan Manuel Gomez both taken out of contention by a pincer movement on Hasse that saw the Fordzilla cars both exit on lap one. However Fiduci would take his first ever win to claim second in the overall standings from team-mate Ottaviani.

Round 5 Race 1 Results

1 - Bence Banki (Dorr Esports) - Audi RS3 TCR - 13 laps

2 - Alessandro Ottaviani (Veloce Esports) - Cupra Leon TCR - +1.563s

3 - Alexander Dornieden (Dorr Esports) - Hyundai Elantra N TCR - +2.305s

Round 5 Race 2 Results

1 - Gianmarco Fiduci (Veloce Esports) - Cupra Leon TCR - 13 laps

2 - Florian Hasse (Dorr Esports) - Cupra Leon TCR - +0.376s

3 - Max Pfeifer (Dorr Esports) - Audi RS3 TCR - +0.847s

With two rounds of the Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB championship remaining, Sebastian Job looks to have one hand on the title with a double-win at the Silverstone National Circuit.

Job took his fifth pole position from five and cruised to a six-second victory in race one, and came through a chaotic second race that saw him bounced off-track at Luffield by his nearest rival, William Chadwick, but recover to finish second. 

Post-race penalties for Chadwick and race winner Jamie Moone gave Job the win and a 42-point lead with four rounds, and 48 points, remaining.

Round 5 Race 1 Results

1 - Sebastian Job (Red Bull Racing Esports) - 28 laps

2 - Matthew Emery (-) - +6.521s

3 - William Chadwick (Altus Esports) - +6.717s

Round 5 Race 2 Results (amended for penalties)

1 - Sebastian Job (Red Bull Racing Esports) - 27 laps

2 - Matthew Emery (-) - +1.143s

3 - Leon Penn (Beef Central) - +1.341s

  • esports

  • FOS Future Lab

  • ESL R1

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