Review: Brzezinski wins as Cihan is denied in Slovakia Ring Esports WTCR OSCARO
The second event of the 2019 Esports WTCR OSCARO season from RaceRoom delivered action and drama aplenty at a virtual Slovakia Ring on Sunday evening.
While Poland’s Kuba Brzezinski (pictured leading) won Race One for Williams Esports, there was late heartbreak for Emre Cihan in Race Two when the Turkish driver came off worse following contact with eventual winner Alexander Dornieden from Germany, dropping from first to P11 on the final lap.
Qualifying recap: Garcia takes pole for Red Bull Racing Esports by 0.009s
What will go down as the tightest qualifying on RaceRoom resulted in pole position for Spaniard Nestor Garcia (Red Bull Racing Esports / Audi) with Kuba Brzezinski 0.009s behind. And to further underline the evenly-matched nature of Esports WTCR OSCARO, Hungaroring winner Julian Kunze was 0.3s from pole down in P18.
Race One recap: Brzezinski takes last-lap victory
Nestor Garcia converted pole into the lead while Germany’s Michael Raechl (EURONICS Gaming / CUPRA) jumped Brzezinski off the line for second. And with Slovakia’s defending champion Bence Bánki (SDL eSports by Logitech G / Honda) fourth, a lead group soon formed, as the battles behind intensified.
Pole Nikodem Wisniewski was hit by his Williams Esports team-mate Moritz Löhner, while contact between Hungarian Gergo Baldi and Germany’s Tim Jarschel ended with Baldi in a Slovakia Ring gravel trap.
Title leader Jack Keithley was up to fifth only for an uncharacteristic mistake to drop the Briton down to ninth, as German pair Alexander Dornieden – in his Lynk & Co – and Julian Kunze began charging through the field.
Behind leader Garcia, who was producing a fine defensive drive, Brzezinski got ahead of Raechl for second with Bánki also seizing his opportunity to move into third. And second would become first for Brzezinski on a dramatic final lap.
When Garcia ran slightly wide entering Turn 1, Brzezinski took the inside line with Bánki making it a three-car battle exiting Turn 2. Brzezinski made his move stick for the lead, while Bánki lost out in the braking zone and fell behind Raechl with Garcia finishing second behind Brzezinski. For Garcia and Raechl it was their first Esports WTCR OSCARO podiums.
Dornieden, meanwhile, was a strong fifth on his first appearance of 2019. Florian Hasse, Jarschel, Kunze, Keithley and Cihan completed the top 10 with Cihan’s result handing him pole for the reverse-grid Race 2.
Race Two recap: Cihan denied following last-gasp contact
Emre Cihan capitalised on his pole position to lead ahead of Keithley who, having been subjected to pressure from Tim Jarschel, got a tap on the right rear braking for the final corner. Jarschel continued in second only for Alexander Dornieden to get ahead at Turn 2, with Jarschel dropping behind Florian Hasse after he made contact with Cihan trying to retake the position he’d lost to Dornieden.
That contact left Cihan – driving his best race so far – in Dornieden’s clutches. The German tried to pass but Cihan was resolute in is defence until the final lap when contact from the rear dropped the Turkish racer out of the top 10, while Dornieden took the win from Hasse, Jarschel, Kunze, Brzezinski, Bánki, Wisniewski, Löhner, Jack Keithley and Adam Pinczes. Cihan finished P11 but his performance was a clear statement of intent.
Baldi, Raechl and Garcia’s hopes ended when the Spaniard misjudged his braking and hit his two rivals during the opening laps.
Server 2 recap: Langeveld strong, but Impact Racing Team takes the wins
The second server race could have been mistaken for a server one counter, given the quality of the entries.
Frenchman Alexandre Vromant (SDL eSports by Logitech G / Volkswagen) took pole, but he was beaten in the race by Jan Stange (Impact Racing Team / Lynk & Co) with Vromant’s team-mate Guillaume Theot rounding out the podium.
Niels Langeveld, a racer for real with Comtoyou Team Audi Sport in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, finished Race One in ninth to take a front-row start for Race Two but he would soon drop back amid some robust driving by some of his rivals.
It was left to Klaus Schulze and Sandor Kenez to take a one-two in their Audis. Jan Stange placed third with Langeveld fourth.
How the Esports WTCR OSCARO title fight stands?
With several incidents reported to the Esports WTCR OSCARO officials the standings remain provisional. Bence Bánki leads Tim Jarschel by seven points with Jarschel’s EURONICS Gaming team-mate Florian Hasse in third. Nestor Garcia and Jack Keithley complete the top five.
A virtual Circuit Zandvoort in The Netherlands is next up on 8 September with qualifying underway at this link: http://game.raceroom.com/competitions/942/leaderboard