The VCO Esports Racing World Cup II continued to fall the way of Team Redline. A good first day at the office was followed by a day that could not have gone much better – winning in rFactor 2 whilst major rivals fell early on.
Though the table offered many outfits hope of a last-gasp dash to the finishing line, in reality only Unicorns of Love stood in the way of the reigning champions retaining its crown.
Of course, the difficulty lay primarily in defeating a trio of drivers famed for their iRacing expertise inside the sim itself driving one of the most difficult pieces of machinery available. Nevertheless, that was the challenge set and when the lights went out it was always worth remembering the wise words of Murray Walker.
Everything and anything could happen.
The Story So Far
That everything and anything did indeed happen across the heat and quarter-final stages. Unfortunately for those wishing Unicorns of Love well, it wasn’t to be. Despite navigating its way through a tricky lower bracket tie, Redline’s main rivals bowed out upon the conclusion of the semi-finals.
Their elimination left R8G Esports and TRITON Racing as the closest competition to reach the finals and contest Redline’s dominance.
Apex Racing Team also made it, looking to redeem themselves from a miserable week, with Arnage Competiton happy to be there. Williams Esports also rebounded well from a difficult second day, locking in a second finals appearance.
Certainly, hopes were high of a second showdown appearance as well thanks to Sota Muto’s pole position, the Lotus 79 clearly suiting the Japanese pilot well. He’d have support from the second row with Carl Jansson fourth although two Redlines were sandwiched in between the pair – Enzo Bonito and Diogo Pinto.
This, understandably, made both teams clear favourites to progress thanks in part to the narrow nature of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The twists and turns through a couple of nervy moments across the opening 4.5km but nobody came into strife.
It was all a bit predictable in the end as on the Arnage of Tamas Simon could hold onto the coattails of the leading four. With Redline and Williams heading to the showdown, it also meant that there was no further doubt. Team Redline was the Esports Racing World Cup II team triumphant.
Showdown – Race 1
Line astern for the starting grid of Race 1, Chris Lulham and Team Redline had pole position crucially.
Muto, who had slipped up a couple of times, on Saturday most notably, joined him on the front row briefly before losing out at the start. His chances of winning were finished after he ran wide and onto the grass at Doohan Corner.
Thankfully for he and Williams, Jansson was feeling inspired. Going side-by-side with Lulham into Miller Corner, the pair put on a masterclass in beautiful, fair racing before the Brit had to concede down the hill of Lukey Heights.
Muto, rather impressively, caught the back of the train and was duly let past by Moreno Sirica in an effort to secure fourth in time for the chequered flag. Unfortunately, Jansson was unable to hold the lead from a bold Lulham who charged down the inside of Doohan on the final lap.
More drama was yet to unfold, however. All of a sudden it felt very Adelaide on Phillip Island as Jansson’s attempt to retake first around the outside of Miller Corner ended up with Lulham sent skyward. Pinto did well to avoid the clash, swooping through without trouble as Lulham and Jansson untangled and got on their way.
So first blood was Redline’s. Yet, in a final twist, Jansson took his foot off the gas with seconds to spare; stealing the reverse grid pole position away from Bonito.
Showdown – Race 2
Jansson’s launch was sublime but there was to be a tough seven minutes ahead. Sirica’s early efforts to dislodge Pinto from fourth were unsuccessful and, thus, Muto was given the green light and his fifth place.
Life was made all the more difficult just a minute from the tactical switch. Bonito was confident and snatched away Jansson’s lead without much reply from the Swede.
The true excellence of Redline was in the successive corners, Lulham first catching out Jansson into Miller. Though remaining side-by-side, the Williams Lotus was off-line and boxed in thanks to some genius work from Bonito. Once Turn 10 had been navigated, it was Redline 1-2.
Sometimes – not always but sometimes – when the going is good you should quit while you are ahead. In this case, the lesson was quite literal as Bonito and Lulham attempted to box Jansson in for a second time to help Pinto pass. Lulham ended up in undercut territory into the Southern Loop but wildly misjudged his entry speed, spinning out.
Pinto now led from a cool-as-you-like Jansson although not for long! The two fought hard over the lead and on the final lap it was building to a sensational conclusion either way. Sadly, Williams ran out of lives. Muto crashed into the back of a late-moving Bonito before Pinto cleverly showed Jansson the outside curbing into Siberia. The Swede was spat out into the gravel.
An explosive end to a truly breathtaking Esports Racing World Cup. One which Redline had capped off with a second win within one weekend.
ESPORTS RACING WORLD CUP II 2023, DAY 3, iRacing RUNNER-UP
- Moreno Sirica
- Sota Muto
- Carl Jansson
ESPORTS RACING WORLD CUP II 2023, DAY 3, iRacing WINNERS
- Chris Lulham
- Enzo Bonito
- Diogo Pinto
VCO Esports Racing World Cup II, 2023, final standings
- Team Redline – 33 pts
- Unicorns of Love – 26 pts
- R8G Esports – 25 pts
- Williams Esports – 23 pts
- TRITON Racing – 23 pts
- BS+Competizion – 20 pts
- Apex Racing Team – 20 pts
- Veloce Esports – 17 pts
- YAS HEAT – 16 pts
- Burst Esport – 14 pts
- Team Fordzilla – 13 pts
- Arnage Competition – 4 pts