NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup: Kunze and Parvan win at Hungaroring

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Julian Kunze and Daniel Parvan took the final wins in the 2023 NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup before the title-deciding final later this month.
NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup - Kunze and Parvan win at Hungaroring

With only one more round before the grand finale, spots for the grid were at a premium in the NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup. Following an explosive round at Dubai Autodrome, the far narrower setting of the Hungaroring lay before the last group of pilots in with a shot of punching their tickets to the Nordschleife.

Qualifying 

Experienced runner and ex-Esports World Touring Car Cup LAN winner Julian Kunze was back and demonstrated a good turn of pace. He nabbed pole position away from countryman Leonard Karten whilst Enzo Philippau would be hoping that today would finally be his day starting from third. 

Race 1

Kunze’s launch was strong enough, especially as Karten was more concerned by an eager Philippau piling on the pressure for the first few corners. The order ultimately remained as it started, however, and the two Germans began to drive away quite comfortably from the chasing pack. 

The battle for tenth was all-out warfare throughout the race. Luca Wüthrich occupied the prestigious tenth place heading onto the final lap but Bence Farkas was having none of it. The Hungarian, at his home circuit, was suffering from tunnel vision by this point; completely cutting off Sebastian Reeh into Turn 1 as he sought out the undercut. 

Julian Kunze is chased by Leonard Karten, NGK Esports Spark Plug 2023

Then disaster struck, as overzealous driving provoked contact and spun both pilots jostling for reverse grid pole position. Marcel Hohloch was laughing all the way home having picked up the prize for free. He would start Race 2 from pole whilst Kunze would be in the midfield placement of tenth having converted the win from Karten.

  1. Julian Kunze – 20:55.545
  2. Leonard Karten – +0.441
  3. Enzo Philippau – +6.591
  4. Iain Egan – +9.310
  5. Mikhail Lapanik – +10.762
  6. Daniel Berka – +11.173
  7. Daniel Parvan – +14.282
  8. Rokus de Bie – +16.940
  9. Krisztian Orban – +18.949
  10. Marcel Hohloch – +24.835

Race 2

In complete contrast to Race 1, Race 2 was far more exciting from the start. That said, ‘exciting’ was certainly the word dependent on who you asked. Orban, sensing the same national heroism as Farkas before him, trailblazed far beyond the Turn 1 apex. Conversely, Hohloch was far too reserved and thus the opportunity opened for Daniel Parvan. 

NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup 2023 - Krisztian Orban leads Round 4, Race 2

The Romanian’s wing mirrors were then filled by the site of calamity, Hohloch driving across the front nose of Mikhail Lapanik – both ending up on the inside wall during the run to Turn 2. Carnage was a scenario Kunze was well accustomed to from his eWTCC days and it showed, rising rapidly to fifth by Turn 5. Karten had been left in the dust, marooned in ninth. 

Two seconds covered the top five and thus one mistake would be costly. This is exactly what befell third-placed Rokus de Bie whose lapse of concentration through the final corner gave both Philippau and Kunze a way through. Orban was next to be dispatched by the pair. 

A one-second gap which Parvan had created was swiftly gobbled up, although his defence stood the test of time. In fact, Philippau was the first to break in the leadership tussle as a snap of oversteer offered Kunze passage through Turn 5. 

NGK Spark Plug Esports Cup 2023 - Julian Kunze spins Round 4, Race 2

Germany’s sim racing veteran looked for all the world like snatching victory away but his eagerness got the better of him. Attempting an aggressive move into Turn 8, he was spun leaving Parvan to run away and claim a well-deserved first-place finish.

  1. Daniel Parvan – 21:08.3935
  2. Enzo Philippau – +0533
  3. Krisztian Orban – +1.514
  4. Rokus de Bie – +1.784
  5. Daniel Berka – +2.541
  6. Leonard Karten – +2.876
  7. Sebastian Reeh – +2.911
  8. Julian Kunze – +6.044
  9. Petr Daniel – +6.767
  10. Maik Pasemko – +10.544

The grand finale will be using the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 14th March 2023, live on the Traxion.GG YouTube channel.

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