Baldi’s Esports WTCR rivals take their turn in the spotlight at virtual Slovakia Ring
There were three new winners and a whole heap of bad luck for Esteban Guerrieri when a virtual Slovakia Ring hosted the second event of the Esports WTCR Championship from RaceRoom this evening.
After Gergo Baldi dominated with a win triple at an online Hungaroring last weekend, Dávid Nagy, Bence Bánki and Florian Hasse shared the victories as Baldi’s title lead was cut to 13 points.
Meanwhile, for Guerrieri, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup frontrunner who was competing as a wildcard, it was a frustrating race night due to the onset of technical issues affecting the game.
Race 1 recap: Nagy closes the gap
It was business as usual for Gergo Baldi (M1RA Esports / Hyundai) with the Hungarian taking pole ahead of Florian Hasse (EURONICS Gaming / Honda) and Dávid Nagy (M1RA Esports / Audi).
But there was trouble when a number of drivers were unable to set a timed lap due issues with the timing system. Esteban Guerrieri was affected the worst to the extent he wasn’t able to record a lap time at all in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda.
Baldi converted pole position into an early lead with Nagy staking his claim for glory by passing Hasse, who lined up on the ‘dirty’ side of the track.
Hasse then became embroiled in a big battle with the Lynk & Co 03 TCRs of Bánki (Red Bull Racing Esports) and Kirill Antonov (LADA Sport ROSNEFT eRacing Team) as well as Adam Pinczes (Triple A Esports / CUPRA). This allowed Baldi and Nagy to pull a two-second gap on the other drivers.
Further back, Norbert Leitner (HM Engineering / Hyundai) crashed heavily exiting the high-speed Turn 2, as Guerrieri began his charge up the order.
Around the halfway mark, Bánki had made his way up to third, while Nagy was slowly starting to put pressure on Baldi.
While his initial attempts failed, Nagy didn’t give up and went for another move on the inside of Baldi at Turn 1 at the start of the final lap. The two drivers remained side by side for more than half of the lap, changing places several times, before Nagy made the decisive move at Turn 10, securing the victory ahead of Baldi, Bánki, Antonov and Pinczes.
Guerrieri recovered to P17 from P26 on the grid, while team-mate Néstor Girolami was P24 following an off-track excursion.
Race 2 recap: Bánki wins at ‘home’
Slovakia-based Bánki made the most of his track knowledge to take pole ahead of Baldi and Tim Jarschel (EURONICS Gaming / CUPRA), while Guerrieri was hit by a repeat of the timing issue that blighted his first qualifying and was forced to start from the back of the grid.
There were no such problems for Bánki who remained in front as Jarschel quickly moved up to second place with Baldi running in third but coming under attack from Nagy.
Nagy attempted to get ahead at Turn 3 on lap six when Baldi went wide, but he ended up losing out to Hasse and Zoltán Csuti (M1RA Esports / Audi) in the process.
In the battle for first place, Jarschel had been playing the waiting game. He got close on the final lap but touched the gravel off-line through Turn 9 and lost precious seconds, leaving Bánki to take his first victory of the season, ahead of Jarschel, Baldi, Hasse and Nagy, with Gianmarco Fiduci (Absolute Motorsport / Lynk & Co) a strong sixth.
Guerrieri finished P15, scoring a point after passing Esports WTCR race winner Nikodem Wisniewski (Williams Esports / Audi) in the closing stages. Girolami was P17.
Race 3 recap: Shock win for Hasse
Although there were more technical problems for Guerrieri, it was a different story for Nagy who set pole ahead of Bánki, Hasse and Baldi, as Martin Barna (Triple A Esports / Audi) took a surprise fifth spot on the grid.
Bánki defended fiercely at the start to keep his second place ahead of Hasse, as Barna got ahead of Baldi.
On lap four, Bánki attempted a move for the lead which resulted in Nagy coming out on top after going three-wide with Bánki and Hasse.
Hasse then surprised Bánki in Turn 8, diving up the inside and moving into second as Bánki switched his focus to defending from Barna. Baldi was struggling to match the leading pace as he worked to keep Pinczes at bay.
The race was decided on the final lap with Hasse making a decisive move stick on the charge into Turn 2. Nagy had once again taken the outside line through Turn 1 but Hasse was able to brake later, pulled alongside and was through at the next corner, becoming the fourth different winner of the season and handing Honda its first triumph. Nagy finished second ahead of Bánki, Barna and Gergo Baldi.
Girolami, also competing as a wildcard, scored his first points of the season in a solid P14 although Guerrieri’s challenge was done on lap three when he retired. Nikodem Wisniewski also went no further than lap three, while Rasmus Salo (Absolute Motorsport / Hyundai) impressed by running inside the top 10 on his championship debut.
Baldi heads to Aragón in front
Baldi will start next Sunday’s MotorLand Aragón (19h00 CET, November 1) event with a 13-point advantage over Nagy with Bánki six points furthr back. Hasse is fourth, but 44 points down on Bánki. Jarschel is fifth followed by Pinczes and Moritz Löhner (Williams Esports / Alfa Romeo) who missed the Slovakia Ring event but will return for Aragón. Antonov, Csuti and Fiduci complete the top 10.
Watch the Slovakia Ring Esports WTCR action again
Follow this link to catch up on all the action:
English stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LxqH0y3PWU
German stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mb2C2q_siU