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Esports

PESC: Diogo Pinto takes championship lead in chaotic Barcelona round

The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup (PESC) is officially back in town and the going was good for Dayne Warren and Ayhancan Güven in Round one as they picked up their first wins of the campaign. For the Turkish driver in particular, his Feature success was a breakthrough moment; his first victory in PESC.

From Germany to Spain, Round two was to be hosted at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya; a place notorious for its Qualifying importance. Previous champion, and F1 Esports 2021 Rookie of the Year, Sebastian Job struggled at Hockenheim. Given the absence of Joshua K. Rogers from the field this season on top of this knowledge, Saturday evening’s action was hotly anticipated.

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Qualifying

Warren was surely one of the favourites for the title in pre-season. With a Sprint win under his belt already he would have felt pretty good about a second front row appearance for the first race of the evening. This time, however, he would be beaten to pole by Diogo C. Pinto. The Portuguese driver sat just two points behind the early points leader at the beginning of the day.

Behind these two lay the 2021 PESC Rookie of the Year, Charlie Collins, and series veteran Alejandro Sánchez. The home hero was looking for much better fortunes here this season after a 14th and seventh place over twelve months ago.

Sprint Race

The opening lap was always going to see some feistiness and in the mid-pack we saw a couple of chaos-causing spinners. Up at the front, despite a strong challenge by Warren, Pinto was able to hold onto first position. Things didn’t go as smoothly for Sánchez in his defence of Zac Campbell; the American claiming fourth.

Warren was straight back on the case for lap two, and this time around grabbed the lead through Repsol. After initially looking out of sorts, Pinto went from potentially losing second to regaining the lead immediately as Warren left the door open – wary of a lurking Collins.

Unfortunately, the #93 car would get a little too invested in proceedings and contact with the rear of the championship leader’s car sent him spinning into the gravel at TV3.

Diogo C. Pinto won the Sprint Race

The second lap mayhem was not over. Heading towards La Caixa, Gianni Vecchio lost control of his machine through contact under braking from his own teammate – Max Benecke – behind, and speared into the side of Collins. Although both could continue, they found themselves outside of the top ten. It was a huge slice of luck for Pinto who now led by well over a second from Sánchez and Jeremy Bouteloup.

The order at the front remained the same until the end of the Sprint Race. Despite a valiant effort by Sánchez to close the lead gap, Pinto would hold on to cross the line first and take the lead of the championship from Warren.

Sprint Race results

  1. Diogo C. Pinto – 9 LAPS
  2. Alejandro Sánchez – +0.241
  3. Jeremy Bouteloup – +0.666
  4. Max Benecke – +1.850
  5. Peter Berryman – +2.297
  6. Zac Campbell – +2.737
  7. Jamie Fluke – +3.076
  8. Kevin Ellis Jr. – +3.364
  9. Yoann Harth – +4.486
  10. Sebastian Job – +4.695

Feature Race

Apex Racing locked out the reverse grid front row. Both Kevin Ellis Jr. and Jamie Fluke did incredibly well to fend off a hungry Campbell in the early engagements. Disaster would befall those behind as once again the braking zone of La Caixa turned into a Porsche bowling alley.

Collins, a victim in the Sprint, became a catalyst in the Feature, being hit from behind by Graham Carroll. The resulting mess took out multiple big names including Job, Sánchez and Race one winner Pinto.

From here the action settled into a bit of a status quo for those into the top six. Ellis Jr. forged ahead with Fluke providing a rear guard to his teammate. Back in the midfield, Vecchio made a solid move on the experienced Brian Lockwood to move into eighth.

Scotsman Kevin Ellis Jr took the Feature Race spoils

Güven was also on the rise, breaking into the top ten before passing Lockwood himself. Sadly for Jack Sedgwick, who was on for one of his best results in the championship, he would be turned around by a deep-braking Quentiin Vialatte.

The young R8G stable driver couldn’t think about potential repercussions with the top ten now in sight. With four laps to go, Lockwood’s fall outside the top ten was completed when Vialatte displaced him.

The American slyly made a move into La Caixa in an effort to rescue the place. Unfortunately, Vialatte’s nose once again found the rear of a Porsche and Lockwood was sent barrier-bound.

There were only smiles back up front with Apex Racing securing a one-two finish, Ellis Jr. taking his first win since Interlagos last year. It was a huge turnaround in form after a highest finish of 18th in Hockenheim. Fluke would surely be content with second place, as Campbell would; the American completing the podium.

Feature Race results

  1. Kevin Ellis Jr. – 18 LAPS
  2. Jamie Fluke – +0.777
  3. Zac Campbell – +1.384
  4. Max Benecke – +2.167
  5. Jeremy Bouteloup – +2.972
  6. Cooper Webster – +3.236
  7. Dino Lombardi – +5.358
  8. Gianni Vecchio – +8.451
  9. Ayhancan Güven – +9.837
  10. Quentin Vialatte – +13.949

Points Standings After Round 2

  1. Diogo C. Pinto 112
  2. Jeremy Bouteloup 108
  3. Ayhancan Güven 99
  4. Cooper Webster 86
  5. Jamie Fluke 79
  6. Max Benecke 77
  7. Kevin Ellis Jr. 71
  8. Zac Campbell 66
  9. Alejandro Sánchez 62
  10. Graham Carroll 61

2022 PORSCHE TAG HEUER ESPORTS SUPERCUP SCHEDULE


5th February Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg
19th February Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

5th March TBA – FAN VOTE TBA TBA
19th March Silverstone Circuit
26th March Red Bull Ring
9th April Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
23rd April Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
7th May Nürburgring – Gesamtstrecke
21st May Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans
4th June Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Images courtesy of Porsche

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