Review: Keithley, Kunze share Esports WTCR OSCARO wins
Jack Keithley (Great Britain) and Julian Kunze (Germany) shared the wins as the second Esports WTCR OSCARO season began in spectacular fashion at a virtual Hungaroring yesterday evening.
Qualifying for the opening Multiplayer Championship event gave a clear indication that a title battle would be in store. Jack Keithley (Audi / Williams Esports) set a 1m50.748s on his first attempt, a performance that would be good enough for pole position. Defending champion Bence Bánki (Honda / SDL eSports) was just half a tenth behind him as less than one second separated the top 26.
Race One recap: Keithley wins from the front
With so many successful simracers on the grid, a frantic scrap for honours was expected.
Keithley converted his pole position into the lead ahead of Bánki (Slovakia), who came under pressure from Germany’s Tim Jarschel (Cupra / EURONICS Gaming) at the start and finish of the race.
Unable to get ahead, Jarschel settled for third with Spanish newcomer Nestor Garcia (Audi / Red Bull Racing Esports) a strong fourth and Germany Florian Hasse (Cupra / EURONICS Gaming) rounding out the top five.
SDL eSports driver Redoine Messaoud (France) was next up ahead of fellow Hyundai drivers, Hungarians David Nagy and Gergo Baldi from M1RA Esports.
The battle for P10 and reverse grid pole was decided in controversial fashion. Indonesian Andika Rama Maulana (GT-Sim.ID / Honda) was running P10 for the majority of the race, but three laps before the finish, German Julian Kunze (EURONICS Gaming / Cupra) launched an attack into turn one. As Maulana moved to the inside in the braking zone, Kunze moved over even further and lost the rear under braking. The two made contact and Kunze took the position, which resulted in pole for Race Two.
Race Two recap: Kunze converts pole into victory
While Julian Kunze raced away from pole, a bad start from second-placed starter Nikodem Wisniewski (Poland) dropped the Williams Esports / CUPRA driver a few positions.
Despite pressure from the M1RA Hyundais of Gergo Baldi and David Nagy, Kunze remained resolute in front and duly took his maiden Esports WTCR OSCARO victory.
Baldi’s hopes of a podium were dashed when he was a handed a slow-down penalty for corner cutting. He recovered to sixth with a beautiful outside move on Garcia.
M1RA’s dreams of a home victory faded when Wisniewski overtook Nagy with a dive into Turn 1 to finish second with Nagy third.
Jack Keithley, meanwhile, was on a charge from P10 and was in fifth when, with five minutes remaining, he tried to switch lines heading into Turn 2, only to inadvertently clip Redoine Messaoud into a spin. It dropped the Frenchman outside the top 10 with the incident set for a stewards’ review.
Second server recap: Kurbanov wins in Alfa Romeo
The second server races were largely dominated by an Alfa Romeo – a car which was completely absent from server one. Elmar Kurbanov (Russia) secured pole position, victory in Race One and second place in Race Two behind German Klaus Schulze (Audi / Impact Racing Team).
How the Esports WTCR OSCARO title fight stands?
With these results, Jack Keithley provisionally leads the Multiplayer Championship ahead of Bence Bánki and Nestor Garcia, with a three-way tie for fourth between Julian Kunze, David Nagy and Tim Jarschel.
Relive the action