Esports News | Marko Pejic takes maiden ESL R1 victory | FOS Future Lab

18th April 2023
Andrew Evans

Mercedes-AMG became the fifth different team to win in six ESL R1 rounds thus far, with Croatian driver Marko Pejic taking his first victory in a team one-two with James Baldwin.


As has been a hallmark of ESL R1, there were some big names to fall in Friday’s quarter-finals – and none were bigger than Daire McCormack (Williams). The Irish driver was coming off back-to-back victories in the fourth and fifth rounds, but a poor qualifying session saw him mired in scraps at the back of the pack. He ultimately finished 11th and was eliminated.

There were no such issues for the other three previous winners, with Joshua Rogers (Coanda) just pipping series debutant Sebastian Job (G2) for victory in the second quarter final – a race that also saw Maximilian Benecke (Mouz) squeak through in sixth – and Luke Bennett (Redline) following Dayne Warren (Coanda) home in the first quarter-final.

Other major casualties included the usually consistent Marcell Csincsik (R8G), who started and finished his quarter-final in last after a stewards’ investigation into several incidents including a three-car crash on the penultimate lap, and Kevin Ellis Jr. (ART) who saw his quarter-final end when collected by a sliding Nils Naujoks (BS+).

Tommy Ostgaard (Heroic) continued his recent good form by winning the third quarter-final – joined by championship leader Jiri Toman (R8G) – with Eamonn Murphy (G2) grabbing victory in the remaining race.

Bennett was in great form in qualifying for the first semi-final, heading off fellow race-winner Rogers by under four-hundredths of a second, but their races went in very different directions as soon as the lights went out. While Bennett got a great start, Rogers and his Coanda team-mate Warren appeared briefly stuck on the line – earning a jump start penalty in Rogers’ case – causing some chaos as the entire grid had to avoid them.

That left Bennett in clear air, with Baldwin seemingly content to stay behind as they drew away from Tuomas Tahtela (Heroic) before a gentlemanly tussle towards the chequered flag with the race in the bag. Job, in fourth, qualified for his first final at the first attempt, with Benecke and Erhan Jajovski (R8G) joining them.

The second semi-final hinged on a major error from Coanda’s Mack Bakkum, who missed his braking point into Turn One by more than a couple of car lengths and collected Toman and Kevin Siggy (Redline). That caused a knock-on collision that resulted in Toman facing the wrong way and ultimately eliminated – along with Bakkum who picked up a penalty as a result. Yuri Kasdorp (Mouz) would win the race, just ahead of Pejic.

Job then upset the form book in the final, by securing pole position – by less than a hundredth of a second – from Pejic, but then he too was hit by a false start penalty after clearly jumping the gun. That gifted the lead to Pejic, with Baldwin and Bennett right behind him.

Despite Bennett’s Nürburgring expertise – four wins in five races before now – he wasn’t able to get past Baldwin who was running a rear-gunner team race for Pejic ahead, with Jajovski also lurking to pounce on any errors.

The two Mercedes came home as they started to take the team’s first win of the season and the first team one-two for anyone. In the championship standings, Bennett’s podium is enough to vault him into the championship lead, by ten points from Toman, while his Team Redline outfit also overhauls R8G to lead by just four points.

Round 6 Final Results

  1. Marko Pejic (Mercedes-AMG - Mercedes-AMG GT3) - 8 laps
  2. James Baldwin (Mercedes-AMG - Mercedes-AMG GT3) +0.903
  3. Luke Bennett (Team Redline - BMW M4 GT3) +1.421

Sebastian Job claims Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB title


Sebastian Job clinched the Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB in this weekend’s races at Donington Park, taking back the title he won in 2021 and with three races to spare.

Job started the seventh round just as he had the previous six, once again securing pole position, with his only rival Will Chadwick having a poor session to qualify in tenth.

Having already won every main race this season, Job was clearly in no mood to break that streak and quickly dragged a second clear of Am driver Luke Pennington in second. From there he controlled the pace before pulling away yet further in the closing stages to take the win – his tenth of the season – by almost five seconds, and with it the title.

Race 13 Results

  1. Sebastian Job (Red Bull Esports) - 17 laps
  2. Jack Sedgwick (Inex Racing) +4.726
  3. Luke Pennington (Jamestan Engineering) +5.024

The reversed-grid second race threw up an interesting twist with real-world Carrera Cup GB driver Josh Malin on pole position courtesy of his sixth-place finish in the first race, ahead of Jamie Moone.

Chadwick was able to get past Moone on the penultimate lap, all but securing second in the championship, but Malin held on to become the first Porsche Carrera Cup GB driver to win a Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB race.

With Pennington having to serve an early slow-down penalty, Gareth Higgins took the Am class victory to close the title race in that category up to just two points behind Leo Gariboli, with one round remaining.

Race 14 Results

  1. Josh Malin (Independent) - 17 laps
  2. William Chadwick (Altus Esports) +0.427
  3. Matt Emery (Independent) +3.001
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