GRR

Virtual Spa 24 Hour Esports red flagged after tech issues

20th June 2022
Andrew Evans

The second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Series, the 24 Hours of Spa, has been red-flagged after three hours in bizarre circumstances.

It all started off in a relatively expected manner. James Baldwin took pole position for the Veloce Esports team McLaren, although he had the Silver class Honda NSX of Rocket Simsport, driven by Elvin Smith, alongside him for the start.

Championship leader Lamborghini – the brand’s official Esports squad – could only qualify in 26th, with the defending champions of the European Endurance series Ferrari – also an official marque Esports team – in tenth.

The early race exchanges were largely good-natured. GT World Challenge Europe championship leader Daire McCormack sent the Williams Mercedes past the Yas Heat McLaren into third and eventually took second from Smith. 

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David Tonizza in the Ferrari was slipping back though, after being brought to a halt in the Bus Stop following a minor incident ahead.

Baldwin built a decent advantage at the front, but a huge crash at Raidillon for Eamonn Murphy shortly after he took over the car saw the team slip down the order. Jakub Brzezinski, who took over from McCormack, also had two incidents at Raidillon, resulting in Yas Heat taking the lead with Maciej Malinowski.

However, the race abruptly ended just before the three-hour mark, with a “large server issue” – in essence the computer to which all the drivers around the world were connected stopped working – effectively halting the event in its tracks.

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With the issue apparently resolved, a restart was attempted with 20 hours remaining on the clock. That lasted 30 minutes before the same thing happened, resulting in the meeting being abandoned.

While not officially stated by SRO Esports, a number of teams and drivers took to social media stating that the server had been subjected to external “DDOS” (distributed denial-of-service) attacks – deliberately overwhelmed with irrelevant data to disrupt its operation – leading to the issues.

It’s the second time this season that connection issues have caused the cancellation of a race, with the first round of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports facing a re-run earlier in the year. 

SRO Esports has yet to announce if and when the 24 Hours of Spa will be re-staged or if the results at four hours will stand.

Week 3 of V10 R-League saw victories for Aston Martin, R8G, Team Redline, and Williams

Redline was dominant in the win over Fordzilla, winning all four points in the match. One controversial moment came in the relay at Spa, with Kevin Siggy and Shaun Arnold colliding and sending Arnold’s Fordzilla machine cartwheeling down the Kemmel Straight. 

Emre Cihan was able to break the Redline stranglehold with a second place in the sprint at Silverstone, but Redline placed 1-3-4 to take the point.

Neither Red Bull nor Aston Martin had a match win yet, and their head-to-head started off with more controversy. A mad dive from Yuri Kasdorp in Spa’s final Bus Stop initially scored Red Bull the race win, but the stewards reversed the original call to give Aston Martin the point. The team backed  that up with the sprint point, as Manuel Biancolilla won the race.

Mugello’s leg was more or less a carbon copy, with Weigang taking the relay win – this time on track – to score a third point and secure a match win. Biancolilla again won the sprint and, despite a Red Bull 2-3 for Tormala and Liam Parnell, it was enough for a 4-0 whitewash for Aston.

Suzuki’s Jean Alesi Esports Academy (JAESA) team sprung a surprise last week in beating defending champions BMW, and took the lead in this week’s match against R8G. Jiri Toman made an error in the pits, gifting a relatively comfortable win to JAESA. However R8G came back to tie it up – and take its first point this season – with a 1-2-3 in the sprint.

R8G made no mistake in the Mugello relay, to take the point and the match lead, and backed that up with a 1-2 in the sprint – Marcell Csincsik winning from Toman – to record its first match win this year.

That left Williams and BMW, both of which lost their first match 3-1, and it was Williams who dominated. An error from BMW’s Ibraheem Khan allowed a comfortable relay win for Williams at Monza, with a chaotic sprint race won by Martin Stefanko to take a 2-0 lead.

Silverstone proved to be no different, as Williams won the relay at a canter before taking a 1-2 in the sprint race to secure a 4-0 win.

The results mean Yas Heat still tops Group A, by one point from Williams, with JAESA third, R8G fourth and BMW bottom. Redline meanwhile takes over the lead of Group B, having raced one more match than Mercedes, with Aston Martin third, Red Bull fourth, and Fordzilla bottom and yet to score.

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