Review: Baldi stars, EURONICS pair deny Dornieden in Esports WTCR OSCARO
Hungarian Gergo Baldi converted pole position into Esports WTCR OSCARO victory number one with a dominant performance at a virtual Nürburging Nordschleife on Sunday evening.
Kuba Brzezinski (Poland) finished the first of two top server races in second place with Germany’s Moritz Löhner third.
However, team work was crucial in the second race as the EURONICS Gaming duo of Florian Hasse and Julian Kunze combined to demote their fellow German Alexander Dornieden on the Döttinger Höhe straight on the final lap (pictured) with Hasse winning to become the first Esports WTCR OSCARO driver to triumph more than once in 2019.
Brzezinski now leads the ESPORTS WTCR Multiplayer Championship, while real-life WTCR / OSCARO racer Niels Langeveld won in server two in controversial circumstances following contact with Slovakian David Nemcek.
Qualifying recap: No slowing Baldi
Having gone quickest in pre-qualifying, M1RA Esports Hyundai i30 N TCR driver Baldi was on form again to take the pole position, albeit less than 0.2s ahead of Williams Esports‘ CUPRA TCR driver Kuba Brzezinski (Poland) and German Moritz Löhner, who competes in an Audi RS 3 LMS.
Race One recap: Go, go, Gergo
From the moment he sped into the lead from the start, Baldi was never threatened, building an impressive four-second cushion over this closest rivals to take victory. Löhner initially passed Brzezinski, while fellow Williams Audi driver Jack Keithley (Great Britain) had to start from the back after failing to set a time in qualifying.
As Baldi cruised away at the front, the Williams trio of Löhner, Brzezinski and Nikodem Wisniewski (Poland) became embroiled in a tight fight for second. Brzezinski overtook Löhner on lap two, while behind them, reigning champion Bence Bánki (Slovakia) was gradually coming under pressure from M1RA Esports driver David Nagy.
Slipstreaming proved to be crucial, especially on the final lap in the battle for P10, which determines the pole for race two. EURONICS Gaming pair Hasse and Kunze teamed up to perfection with Kunze passing Jaroslav Honzik on the long Döttinger Höhe straight to complete the top 10 and claim pole for the second race.
Baldi took the win ahead of Brzezinski and Löhner as Wisniewski, Nagy, Bánki, Tim Jarschel, Alexander Dornieden, Hasse and Kunze completed the top 10. Red Bull Racing Esports‘ Nestor Garcia crashed out on lap two in the Hatzenbach.
Race 2 recap: Perfect timing for EURONICS pair
With Tim Jarschel (Germany) quickly demoting FA Racing Lynk & Co driver Dornieden, the EURONICS Gaming CUPRAs filled the first three positions, as Wisniewski dropped back following contact with Bánki at the first corner.
Despite falling to fourth, Dornieden stayed with the EURONICS trio, eventually passing Jarschel for third at the first corner on lap two. Dornieden got ahead of Kunze and Hasse on the Grand Prix loop on the final lap after slight contact. Jarschel fell behind Nagy, while Bánki lost out to Löhner and Brzezinski.
Dornieden’s lead wouldn’t last, however, with Hasse and Kunze combining to bump-draft the Lynk & Co driver on the last lap. By winning Hasse becomes the only Esports WTCR OSCARO to win more than once in 2019. Nagy took fourth behind Dornieden, with Jarschel, Löhner, Brzezinski, Bánki, Baldi and Jarschel next up.
Langeveld takes controversial first Esports WTCR OSCARO win, Saussey triumphs
In the second server, which features 30 drivers, real-life racer Niels Langeveld finally took his first Esports WTCR OSCARO race win, but it was not without drama.
French driver Aenore Cavillon (s56design.fr) put his Lynk & Co on pole, but Langeveld moved straight into the lead from the start, with Jesper Eriksson (CUPRA) following him into second.
A leading quartet of Langeveld, Eriksson, Cavillon and Cyrille Saussey (GoldTR Esport / Audi) was edging clear of the field, but into the Hohenrain-Chicane on the first lap, both Langeveld and Cavillon went off, with Cavillon being forced to retire.
Eriksson was now under pressure, and in a hard-fought battle, Saussey managed to pass for his first Esports WTCR victory, ahead of Eriksson and Guillaume Vigneron (GTR3 Esports / Audi)
Race 2 was even more dramatic. Hungarian Sandor Kenez led initially before he went off at Aremberg in his Audi. His misfortune gifted David Nemcek first place, while behind him, Langeveld and Jesper Eriksson demoted the Audis of Franz Christian Andreas and Nicolas Claes.
Nemcek continued to lead on the final lap, but at Wehrseifen, Langeveld went into the back of his Golf, spinning him down the order.
Langeveld still had to survive the attacks of Eriksson, but he managed to cross the line in first as Nicolas Claes (Racing Team 93 e-sport) took third.
How the Esports WTCR OSCARO title fight stands?
Kuba Brzezinski boosted his chances of taking part in the grand ESPORTS WTCR OSCARO finale in Malaysia by moving 34 points ahead of Florian Hasse. Defending champion Bence Bánki is 12 behind Hasse. Wisniewski, Baldi, Dornieden, Kunze and Keithley round out the top eight, meaning they have provisionally qualified for the Malaysia decider with three events remaining.
Watch the action again from the Nürburgring Nordschleife
Re-live the Esports WTCR OSCARO action by clicking here.
Season two of Esports WTCR OSCARO continues at Suzuka on 29 September.