The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup field took a trip to the Spa on Saturday (22nd April) for the seventh round of the 2023 season. After a wacky and wild ending at Watkins Glen two weeks ago, it was expected that things would get calmer at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, but that wasn’t entirely the case.
The All-Stars kicked off the day and it was Pablo “The Pulpo” López showing the way in the Sprint. After the full field invert, it was Matt Malone holding off a host of talent to win the Feature. Casey Kirwan was one of those behind, and he’ll extend his points lead even further with the runner-up finish.
For the Supercup, Williams Esports’ Alessandro Bico was showing as the fastest man in Belgium, taking the TAG Heuer Pole Award and dominating the Sprint. After the invert, it was Altus Esports’ Jordan Caruso holding off the horns of Red Bull’s Sebastian Job in the Feature.
LÓPEZ AND MALONE, ALL-STAR WINNERS AT SPA
This All-Star season has had many great stories so far, with names like Jardier, Dave Cam and Keny500 scoring upset victories against the man who has been a dominant force all season long, that being eNASCAR champion Casey Kirwan.
However, ever since Pablo “The Pulpo” López showed up to the party at Circuit of the Americas, Kirwan has not been a shoe-in for victory lane. For only the third time this season, Kirwan was shut out from the spoils of victory, unable to capture either the Sprint or the Feature.
It wasn’t from a lack of effort, though. The series made the swap to the Porsche 911 RSR from the Cayman 718 over the last two weeks, and the differences may have caught out the dominant one on the opening lap of the Sprint.
After having a side-by-side battle with López down the Kemmel Straight, Kirwan tried to out-brake and take the lead. Instead, it was a lawn-mowing session through Les Combes, ultimately resulting in a slow-down penalty and a 10th place finish.
López went on to score the victory, but both Emily “Emree” Jones and Dave Cam were able to keep him honest, finishing within the lead pack.
ALL-STARS: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||SPRINT PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||1||504||The Pulpo López||7 LAPS||25||28|
|3||4||786||Dave Cam||+1.563 sec||17||17|
|10||2||95||Casey Kirwan||+11.947 sec||6||6|
The invert would put Dan Suzuki to the front of the field for the Feature, and for a good portion of it, it looked like he was going to be able to score a victory after what’s been a tough outing so far in the 2023 season.
Matt Malone had other plans. With help from Kirwan, now knowing the limits of the brakes, the two paired up and caught Suzuki not too long afterward.
It became a slugfest from there that eventually brough Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier into the fray.
Malone and Suzuki traded jabs for a few laps before Suzuki wound up falling off the main draft. Quirk took his place and worked to try and pass both Kirwan and Malone.
Using some NASCAR-style racing, with bump drafts and tandems included, the pair stayed ahead.
Into the chicane for the final time, Malone had Kirwan on one side and Quirk on the other. He was able to take the corner and take the win, his first in the series to date.
ALL-STARS: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||INTERVAL||FT. PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||3||83||Matt Malone||12 LAPS||25||29|
|2||5||95||Casey Kirwan||+0.313 sec||20||26|
|4||1||35||Dan Suzuki||+1.489 sec||14||16|
|6||14||504||Pablo López||+5.801 sec||10||38|
|8||2||37||Basic Ollie||+12.345 sec||8||11|
While Kirwan didn’t win on Saturday, he did extend his points lead, albeit by a single point over Quirk with three races remaining in the season. Emree takes control of the last step of the podium while Jardier slips back to fifth, now also behind the two-time winner Keny500.
López is now up to seventh after missing half the season, only eight points out of the Top 5.
ALL-STARS: POINTS AFTER EVENT #7 – SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||TOTAL PTS||BEHIND|
|7||504||The Pulpo López||1||1||132||-144|
BICO, CARUSO SCORE SPA WINS
With the All-Stars done and dusted for the day, the attention turned to the Supercup for the World Championship level events. In Practice, Alessandro Bico showcased some immense speed, leading the way in the final shakedown. That speed translated into Qualifying where he scored the pole position.
The rest of the Top 5 included Zac Campbell, Quentiin Vialatte, Lasse Bak and Salva Talens, not your usual Top 5 in this series but a Top 5 full of talent nonetheless.
THE SPRINT RACE
On the start, Campbell was able to best Bico down the Kemmel Straight, but before the second lap was over, the No.77 was back out front. In clean air, Bico was near untouchable, running nearly a second faster pace at times, only pulled back by the drafting effects.
Campbell tried to hang with, but the pace was too fast. The six laps went by fairly quickly, and that Top 5 was full of names that you normally wouldn’t find in this series as per the previous results so far in 2023.
Lasse Bak has shown some potential, but has also had some tough luck. On Saturday, the luck was great as he managed to pass Campbell for the runner-up spot. Vialatte and Luca Kita rounded out the Top 5
As for the invert, that would fall to Sebastian Job, who finished right behind Jordan Caruso. Between those two and the Top 5 was Oskari Rinne, another driver with an impressive outing.
Job held off the charge from Moreno Sirica and his teammate Cooper Webster for the eighth position.
PESC: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS SPRINT RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||AGG PTS|
|1||1||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||6 LAPS||25||35|
|2||4||24||Lasse Bak||FYRA SimSport||-0.765 sec||22||26|
|3||2||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+1.421 sec||20||28|
|4||3||81||Quentiin Vialatte||R8G Esports||+1.821 sec||18||24|
|5||6||16||Luca Kita||URANO Esports||+2.060 sec||16||16|
|6||7||5||Oskari Rinne||BS+Competition||+2.561 sec||15||15|
|7||8||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||+2.943 sec||14||14|
|8||10||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+3.262 sec||13||13|
|9||9||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||+3.692 sec||12||12|
|10||16||37||Cooper Webster||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+4.096 sec||11||11|
THE FEATURE RACE
With Sebastian Job at the front, one would assume that this deal would be over before it began. Jordan Caruso, however, is having an all-time incredible season, and that momentum just can’t be helped sometimes.
Off of the grid start, both Job and Caruso got a monster launch, but into La Source, Caruso pounced at an open opportunity to take the lead. Caruso was able to hold on through Eau Rouge and Raidillon and down the Kemmel Straight, the last real passing opportunity before the end of the lap at the Chicane.
That how the pair would run for the majority of the race as the chaos unfolded behind them.
The chaos seemed to follow the defending series champion Diogo Pinto in the Feature. Pinto missed out on putting a lap down during qualifying. That meant he started dead last in the Sprint and basically gave up a decent finish there to try and get a better starting spot for the feature.
Only working his way to 16th place in the first six lap run, Pinto was looking to get all he could as early as he could, and that resulted in a couple of incidents that would essentially plague his day. One of those incidents wound up including Charlie Collins, one of the other title contenders.
Win or not, Caruso was in a great position to open up his points lead.
On the final lap, Job went for the send into Les Combes. Like Kirwan in the All-Star race, he went for some grass clipping and lost valuable spots. Caruso went on to win, Rinne picked up a second place, Campbell took another third and Job fell back to finish in sixth.
PESC: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS FEATURE RACE TOP 10 RESULTS
|FIN||STA||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||INTERVAL||PTS||TOTAL PTS|
|1||2||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||12 LAPS||50||64|
|2||3||5||Oskari Rinne||BS+Competition||+0.892 sec||45||60|
|3||6||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||+0.908 sec||40||68|
|4||4||16||Luca Kita||URANO Esports||+1.016 sec||37||53|
|5||7||24||Lasse Bak||Fyra SimSport||+1.461 sec||34||60|
|6||1||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+1.672 sec||31||44|
|7||8||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||+3.650 sec||28||63|
|8||10||37||Cooper Webster||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+4.142 sec||26||37|
|9||12||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||+5.415 sec||24||33|
|10||19||4||Salva Talens||Stormforce Racing ART||+7.567 sec||22||26|
POINTS STANDINGS LEAVING THE DAY AT SPA
With only three races left in the 2023 season, Jordan Caruso is in a league of his own. He leads the points by 86 over Zac Campbell, who, not too long ago, was seemingly out of the conversation after a string of bad finishes that sunk him as low as seventh in the championship.
Now in second, Campbell holds that distinction over Job by nine points, something that was unlikely if the race was one lap shorter. Job wound up losing 14 points by falling from second to sixth, something that also happened to him at Watkins Glen two weeks ago as well.
Pinto and Collins both took huge hits with being non-contenders this week. Pinto falls to fourth, tied with Alejandro Sánchez, while Collins slips to sixth, four points behind Pinto. Unless Caruso has a week where he scores no points, this title looks to be well in hand… but anything can happen with three races left!
PESC: POINTS AFTER EVENT #7 – SPA FRANCORCHAMPS
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||SP. WINS||FT. WINS||T5s||TOTAL PTS|
|1||12||Jordan Caruso||Altus Esports||1||1||10||412*|
|2||15||Zac Campbell||VRS Coanda Esports||1||2||8||326|
|3||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||0||1||7||317*|
|4||1||Diogo C. Pinto||Team Redline||1||1||7||302*|
|4||47||Alejandro Sánchez||Stormforce Racing ART||1||0||7||302*|
|6||93||Charlie Collins||VRS Coanda Esports||0||1||6||298|
|7||37||Cooper Webster||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||0||0||3||222|
|8||77||Alessandro Bico||Williams Esports||1||0||3||206*|
|9||90||Yohann Harth||Stormforce Racing ART||0||0||2||197*|
|10||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||0||0||0||162*|
UP NEXT: COMBINED CHAOS WITH FULL NURBURGRING
On paper, a three lap Sprint and a four lap Feature sounds pretty short, but when you consider that the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup is taking on the combined Gesamtstrecke course of the Nürburgring, well, it might be one of the longest Sprint races of the season, to be fair.
The broadcast will be primarily advertised for the Porsche Motorsports social channels, although like eNASCAR, it will also find itself on the iRacing social channels. The broadcast kicks off around 2:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm GMT / 7:00 pm BST for the All-Stars while the World Championship goes off an hour later.
2023 PORSCHE TAG HEUER ESPORTS SUPERCUP SCHEDULE
|EVENT||DATE||VENUE||Sprint Laps||Feature Laps|
|9||20-May||Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans||3||6|
|10||3-Jun||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||7||14|