Drama followed the four Porsche Coanda Esports Racing drivers at the second outing of the ESL_R1 sim racing series at the Nürburgring. American Mitchell de Jong was eliminated in the quarter-finals. The two Australians Joshua Rogers and Dayne Warren as well as Dutchman Mack Bakkum failed to make it past the semi-finals.
The fight for victory at round six of the new ESL_R1 series on the virtual Nürburgring was contested without the four drivers from the Porsche Coanda Esports Team. Only the quarter-finals, which are held three days earlier, ran according to plan for the most part. Australia’s Dayne Warren and Joshua Rogers advanced to the semi-finals after winning their respective qualifying events. Securing third in his quarter-final, their Dutch teammate Mack Bakkum also reached the semi-finals. Mitchell de Jong from the USA, however, did not make it past the preliminaries.
For the first semi-final, Rogers’ qualified on P2, while his teammate Warren tackled the eight-lap sprint from fifth. However, both Porsche drivers botched the start. After a jump start, Rogers was handed a drive-through penalty and fell to the back of the field. Warren almost stalled at the start and ended up finishing a lowly eleventh. As a result, both missed out on the final, which is reserved for the top six finishers. After six rounds, Joshua Rogers retains his third overall ranking and still has chances in his bid for the title.
Luck was not with Mack Bakkum either on the Grand-Prix loop of the Nürburgring. The Dutchman managed to improve from sixth on the grid to fifth place in his semi-final. However, the race stewards judged a critical overtaking move as too aggressive and imposed a penalty on him: Bakkum had to reduce his virtual speed to 60 km/h for ten seconds. This shuffled him down the field to ninth place and he watched the finale as a spectator along with his teammates.
The only driver of a Porsche 911 GT3 R to reach the final was Tuomas Tähtelä. Racing for the privateer team Heroic, the Finn crossed the finish line in sixth place.
The newly created ESL_R1 series of the Electronic Sports League (ESL) is primarily aimed at factory teams and major esports organisations. It is based on the new sim racing platform “Rennsport”. The world premiere took place in mid-February as a doubleheader event at the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland, in front of spectators. The Spa-Francorchamps Formula 1 circuit hosts the next round on 24 April 2023, again only online. Spectators can watch the Spring Major Finale on 3 and 4 June at the Rennsport Summit in Munich.