ESL R1: Rogers heads Porsche Coanda one-two at Spa

Ross McGregor
Porsche Coanda Esports’ Joshua Rogers eased to victory ahead of team-mate Mitchell deJong in Round 7 of ESL R1’s Spring Season from Spa-Francorchamps.
ESL R1: Rogers heads Porsche Coanda one-two at Spa

The complexion of ESL R1’s regular season standings had changed massively after Round 6, with R8G Esports replaced by Team Redline at the head of the Teams’ standings, with Luke Bennett – also of Team Redline -grabbing the lead in the Drivers’ championship. 

The turnaround was also framed by the emergence of the Mercedes-AMG-powered teams – Mercedes-AMG Williams Esports and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports – as front-runners, seeing as they shared the last three victories between them

With only two rounds left for drivers to secure themselves a top 24 championship spot and qualification for the ESL R1 Spring Major in Munich, those on the cusp would need to raise their game. 

Quarter-finals 

The first quarter-final saw an intense battle for the sixth-place qualifying spot, as James Baldwin and Sebastian Job, two of the biggest talents in sim racing esports right now, faced off. After some paint-swapping Baldwin emerged ahead, but was later penalised, gifting Job the crucial position. 

There was drama again in quarter-final 2, as championship front-runner Marcell Csincsik looked to be out of the picture for qualification until Bono Huis misjudged an out-braking manoeuvre, sending him straight into Jack Keithley’s Williams Esports car. Huis was penalised and Csincsik progressed. 

It was disaster for erstwhile championship leader Jiri Toman in quarter-final 4, however, as the Czech driver served a slow-down penalty among a gaggle of cars, causing havoc. Summing up the reversal in fortunes for our championship protagonists, all four of Redline’s drivers had qualified for the semi-finals. 

ESL R1, Rennsport, Spa-Francorchamps

Semi-final 1 

Sebastian Job and Dayne Warren got off the line quickest in semi-final 1, but Luke Bennett was able to shuffle through into second place before the lap was out. 

Behind, Csincsik was shielded from the attack on his sixth position by team-mate Erhan Jajovski, who was hedging his bets after forcing Moritz Löhner off-track, eventually succumbing to a slow-down penalty. Job won from Bennett, with Warren, Mitchell deJong, Enzo Bonito and Csincsik making it through to the final. 

ESL R1, Rennsport, Spa-Francorchamps

Semi-final 2 

But what of Joshua Rogers? The Australian has been at the sharp end in the championship points since Katowice, making quiet progress throughout Round 7 – taking pole position for semi-final 2. 

And so it continued in the race, as he held firm to take a steady victory. Further behind, the crucial sixth-place battle between Ibraheem Khan and Jeffrey Rietveld was eventually decided by a slow-down penalty for Khan after being deemed to be too aggressive in his defence. 

Joni Törmälä finished second for G2 Sim Racing, followed by Kevin Ellis Jr., Mikkel Gade, Caique Oliveira and Rietveld in the qualifying places. 

ESL R1, Rennsport, Spa-Francorchamps
Kevin Siggy spins

Final 

Rogers’ dominance continued as he claimed pole position, the top seven separated by less than a tenth of a second. Off the line, Rogers was under pressure from Bonito with deJong snatching second from the Redline driver on lap one, creating a Porsche Coanda Esports one-two. 

ESL R1, Rennsport, Spa-Francorchamps
Disaster for Ellis Jr. (left)

Ellis Jr. Was sent around at Turn 1, ending the Scotsman’s hopes after an otherwise impressive display for Apex Racing Team. Warren and Oliveira engaged in an entertaining battle for seventh place but the top six remained static for the rest of the race, with Bennett’s sixth-place finish enough to maintain his lead in the championship. 

Rogers finished the job to win Round 7 from deJong, with Bonito consolidating third for Redline, The result extends Redline’s Teams’ championship lead to 72 points over R8G Esports, with Rogers closing to within four points of Bennett at the top of the Spring Season Drivers’ table. 

ESL R1, Rennsport, Spa-Francorchamps

ESL R1, SPRING SEASON, ROUND 7 FINAL RESULTS  

  1. Joshua Rogers – Porsche 911 GT3R (992) – Porsche Coanda Esports 15:52.321 
  2. Mitchell deJong – Porsche 911 GT3R (992) – Porsche Coanda Esports +0.565s 
  3. Enzo Bonito – BMW M4 GT3 – Team Redline +1.961s 
  4. Mikkel Gade – Porsche 911 GT3R (992) – HEROIC + 2.567s 
  5. Marcell Csincsik – Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II – R8G Esports +2.682s 
  6. Luke Bennett – BMW M4 GT3 – Team Redline + 3.970s 
  7. Caique Oliveira – BMW M4 GT3 – FURIA +4.624s 
  8. Dayne Warren – Porsche 911 GT3R (992) – Porsche Coanda Esports +5.983s 
  9. Jeffrey Rietveld – BMW M4 GT3, Team Redline +7.900s 
  10. Sebastian Job – BMW M4 GT3 – G2 Sim Racing +8.050s 
  11. Kevin Ellis Jr. – Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II – Apex Racing Team +9.820s 
  12. Joni Törmälä – BMW M4 GT3 – G2 Sim Racing +13.778s 

ESL R1, SPRING SEASON, DRIVER STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 7  

  1. Luke Bennett – BMW M4 GT3 – Team Redline, 239 points  
  2. Josh Rogers – Porsche 911 GT3R (992) – Porsche Coanda Esports, 235 points  
  3. Marcell Csincsik – Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II – R8G Esports, 218 points   
  4. Jiri Toman – Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II – R8G Esports, 190 points   
  5. Erhan Jajovski – Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II – R8G Esports, 177 points 

ESL R1, SPRING SEASON, TEAM STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 7

  1. Team Redline, 683 points  
  2. R8G Esports, 611 points  
  3. Porsche Coanda, 504 points  
  4. Mercedes-AMG Williams Esports, 448 points  
  5. MOUZ, 444 points  

ESL R1 2023, SPRING SEASON – UPDATED SCHEDULE   

  • Round 1, IEM Expo Katowice, Poland, ESL Pro Tour – 11th February 2023   
  • Round 2, IEM Expo Katowice, Poland, ESL Pro Tour – 12th February 2023   
  • Round 3, online – 13th March 2023   
  • Round 4, online – 27th March 2023   
  • Round 5, online – 10th April 2023   
  • Round 6, online – 17th April 2023   
  • Round 7, online – 24th April 2023   
  • Round 8, online – 15th May 2023 (updated)  
  • ESL R1 Spring Major, Rennsport Summit, Munich, Germany – 3rd-4th June 2023 (updated)  

Images courtesy of ESL R1

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