Rogers does the double at Road Atlanta | FOS Future Lab

22nd February 2021
Andrew Evans

Australia’s Joshua Rogers has taken a double-win in round five of the Porsche Esports Supercup to stretch his championship advantage to 89 points at the season’s half way mark.

After qualifying for the sprint race at Road Atlanta, Rogers was only in second as rookie Charlie Collins took his first pole position of the season, by just three-hundredths of a second. Collins couldn’t hold off the 2019 champion for long though, with Rogers getting the better run out of turn seven and onto the long, curving straight down to the turn ten chicane.

The sprint races this season have proven to be more about consolidation, with drivers looking to bank points or grid position ahead of the feature race, and it was the case again here. But for a move from Dayne Warren, passing Collins in turn ten with three laps to go, the top ten held position throughout the race. That meant 2020 champion Sebastian Job made little progress, starting and finishing 12th after losing out to and then regaining his place from Maximilian Benecke.

With an eighth place in the first race, Tommy Ostgaard started on pole in the feature race, but all the action was happening behind the Norwegian driver. First it was last season’s third-place driver Alejandro Sanchez spinning off, and Job joined him shortly after, appearing to tangle with Jeff Giassi.

Warren was the next driver to take an early bath, as Ostgaard, Kevin Ellis and Mitchell DeJong scrapped for the lead. Ellis had managed to nip past Ostgaard on lap seven at the turn ten chicane, but Ostgaard returned the favour on the following lap. DeJong found himself right on Ellis’s rear bumper and Warren lightly contacted the British driver, only to find himself rear-ended by David Williams behind, which lifted the Australian’s 911 clean off the ground and unceremoniously shovelled off the circuit.

That mild dose of chaos allowed Rogers up into fourth, with Collins and Benecke behind, with half of the race still to run. As the front three scrapped for position – Ellis eventually hitting the head of the field – the chasing three closed up to make a close pack of six covered by barely a second.

Heading into the final lap it was DeJong leading from Ellis courtesy of another turn ten overtake, with Rogers in close attendance behind, before the race erupted once again in turn ten. DeJong went defensive early for the chicane, forcing Ellis to the outside of the left-hander. Running two-wide into the right-hander wasn’t likely to end well, and it was the American driver who ended up being tipped into a spin. Rogers got the best run through the chicane and pulled alongside Ellis for the final right-hander, but the British driver tripped over Rogers and ended up being spat off the circuit to the left. That left Rogers to take the win, with Ostgaard in second and, surprisingly, Ellis in third despite being in the wall, thanks to the placement of the finish line.

The double-win puts Rogers 89 points clear of DeJong in second, with Collins a further 37 points back in third in a VRS 1-2-3.

Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB returned to Donington Park this week, and the National Circuit. After the mayhem of the Le Mans round, there was very much a return to normal in the opening stages of this round, as Job took pole position and a routine lights-to-flag win ahead of team-mate Graham Carroll.

The reverse grid race though was far from routine, as Job, tussling for fifth with main championship rival Ellis, ended up being turned round on the first lap in Coppice by Jon Robertson, and dumped to the back of the field. Instead, it was Job’s team-mate Carroll who was the man on the move, making his way up to third in the opening stages before setting off after Jamie Fluke and Jack Sedgwick. The pressure of Carroll closing in seemed to get to Sedgwick, who threw the car off at the Esses, but managed to recover into fifth.

Carroll hit the front with a daring move into Redgate that Fluke didn’t seem to anticipate, hitting the brakes late to take the inside line through Craner. Ellis followed through later in the lap, as team-mate Fluke was slow out of Coppice and allowed Ellis the run. That would be how the front three would finish, earning Carroll his first win of the season after being stripped of last week’s victory at Le Mans.

Further back, Job managed an impressive recovery drive to come home in seventh – pending any penalty for fifth-place Robertson – to get some points on the board, as well as grabbing the fastest lap. It means that the cars head into the final two rounds, at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, with Ellis leading Job by just three points, and Carroll 56 points further back in third.

The first VCO Cup of Nations Pro saw Team Australia claim overall victory, as professional racing drivers from 14 nations competed in a variety of virtual motorsport disciplines. As with last year’s VCO Cup of Nations, which featured only sim racers, the format was a little unusual. The 14 nations – though three were unable to join – were placed into three groups for the qualifying stages, however all participated in all races, scoring points in their group for their overall finishing position.

The USA’s Phil Denes took the win in the first race, using Audi R8 GT3s at Spa, before Matt Campbell scored a home win for Australia in the Holden V8 Supercars at the Long Beach circuit in California – with Denes in second.

That took the drivers to Hell, in Norway, for a rallycross round, which saw Denes win again in the Subaru WRX, with Campbell in second place, and guaranteed Team USA pole position for the first of the three finals races.

After such dominance in the qualifying stages, it fell apart for the Americans come the finals. Team Australia won two of the three races, with Bart Horsten winning the Le Mans round in the Audi GT3s ahead of team-mate Campbell, and Campbell taking the win at Indianapolis in the Dallara IR18 with Horsten in third. Denes did manage to take one win, in the Williams FW31s at Monza, but Horsten’s fifth place was more than enough to secure the title.

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