Sophomore esports driver Diogo C. Pinto won the 2022 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup Championship on Saturday (4th June 2022) by 19 points over the 2020 series champion Sebastian Job (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports).
After another solid day and 21 completed laps between the two races, Pinto held on to win the title in the finale at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Despite a series-leading fifth pole and seventh win from Job at Monza, the 2022 title came down to the incredible consistency displayed by Porsche24 Team Redline driver Pinto throughout the entire season. While Job had a stat line worthy of a second championship, he also had three race finishes outside of the Top 20, and that was enough.
Pinto only had two poles and a single Sprint race victory, but he also qualified in a Top 5 points-paying position six out of ten times. In the 20 total races between the Sprints and Features, he only once finished outside the Top 10, the Feature race at Barcelona.
“This was a crazy season,” Pinto said post-race. “I think the goal was to be consistent, and not drop many points. I was able to do that. This last race was really, really intense… I was just trying not to get involved in anything and bring it home.”
Kevin Ellis Jr (Apex Racing Team) and Zac Campbell (VRS) also came into the season finale with an outside shot at winning the title. Campbell was eliminated after the Sprint, as he needed to make up 75 points (with only 85 possible points available). Ellis Jr had as good of a shot as Job in the Feature, but wound up finding trouble and getting taken out early.
SPRINT – COLLINS WINS AGAINST WARREN IN PHOTO FINISH
The task was set for Ellis Jr, Job and Campbell as the trio entered qualifying trailing Pinto by different amounts. After the 12 minute session, Job did exactly what he needed to do and won his fifth pole of the season. Pinto also did what he needed to as well, qualifying third and collecting six points.
Job took 10 with the pole, so the 48 point difference became 44 entering the Sprint. As for Ellis Jr and Campbell, they weren’t able to qualify in the points and started seventh and ninth respectively.
In the seven lap Sprint, Job battled with Charlie Collins (VRS) for the top spot early on. Collins would take the spot and hold it for the majority of the time, but by the time the white flag waved, it was seemingly only the duo battling for the spot. After the Rettifilo chicane, however, Job had taken a trip through the sand and Dayne Warren (Coanda) found himself in attack mode.
Out of Alboreto (formerly the Parabolica), Warren was able to get alongside, but Collins had just enough to make it to the line first. The win marked Collins’ second Sprint win on the year and his third total on the season.
Job managed to hold off Ellis Jr for third as Pinto took sixth and Campbell was eighth. Heading into the Feature, Campbell would start on the pole following the invert, but his title hopes were over. Job now only had 38 points to make up as Ellis Jr would need 39 over Pinto.
MONZA SPRINT RACE TOP 10
|1||93||Charlie Collins||VRS||7 LAPS||33|
|2||57||Dayne Warren||Coanda||+0.051 sec||24|
|3||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+1.415 sec||30|
|4||98||Kevin Ellis Jr||Apex Racing Team||+1.572 sec||18|
|5||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||+2.115 sec||20|
|6||47||Alejandro Sánchez||SDK Gaming||+2.486 sec||15|
|7||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||+2.841 sec||20|
|8||15||Zac Campbell||VRS||+5.410 sec||13|
|9||12||Jordan Caruso [R]||Logitech G Altus Esports||+5.562 sec||12|
|10||77||Jeremy Bouteloup||Coanda||+10.699 sec||11|
FEATURE – JOB WINS, BUT NOT ENOUGH AS PINTO TAKES TITLE
One race to go in the 2022 season to decide the 2022 championship. Pinto had to get at least 13 points, and that meant a 14th place finish, no matter what anyone else did in the Feature, would clinch the title.
Job would be the closest, only 38 points now separating him and Pinto. Only a Top 3 finish could give him a shot, but he would need an uncharacteristic mistake from the points leader to capitalize.
On the start, Campbell led the field through the first half of the lap. Through the Curva Grande, the three title contenders would find themselves three-wide for a brief moment as they battled for fourth place.
After the della Roggia, Campbell found himself driving through the sand. A bad corner and shot off of the curbs would send him, and Alejandro Sánchez (SDK Gaming) would take advantage in the moment. Job followed through into second as the battle raged on behind for third.
As Collins followed through into third and Pinto singled out into fourth, in between the Lesmos, Ellis Jr’s title hopes would come to a crashing halt. After contact with Jordan Caruso (Logitech G Altus Racing) battling for fifth, Ellis Jr wound up off course and spinning back into traffic.
Ellis Jr did get damage in the process, and by the time he got going, he was down in 20th with no chance to get back into the fight.
Up front, Job and Sánchez swapped the lead with Collins playing both lines throughout. On the final lap, Job, Sánchez and Collins went three wide entering the Rettifilo chicane. Job prevailed as Pinto bailed out, dropping to a safer eighth position. Across the line, Job took the win as Pinto crossed the line in eighth, but would be awarded sixth. That would be more than enough for Pinto to take his first series title.
Warren and Sánchez were penalized post-race for hitting the incident limit. They originally finished ahead of Pinto. Even so, it would have only gotten Job five points closer to overcoming the 19 point deficit.
MONZA FEATURE RACE TOP 10
|1||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||14 LAPS||50|
|2||93||Charlie Collins||VRS||+0.566 sec||45|
|3||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||+0.797 sec||40|
|4||77||Jeremy Bouteloup||Coanda||+1.330 sec||37|
|5||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||+1.500 sec||34|
|6||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||+1.883 sec||31|
|7||15||Zac Campbell||VRS||+2.631 sec||28|
|8||21||Graham Carroll||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+3.939 sec||26|
|9||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||+4.677 sec||24|
|10||31||David Williams||VRS||+5.165 sec||22|
FINAL POINTS BREAKDOWN, RELEGATION
Pinto, who also had 20 penalty points throughout the season, was able to survive and conquer at Monza on Saturday. He only needed to score 48 points to guarantee the title, and the overachiever wound up with 51 in total. Even if Ellis Jr wound up with a perfect 85, Pinto did what he needed to lock up his title.
Not a single driver was able to win both the Sprint race and Feature race on the same race weekend, but Job got the closest out of anyone at Monza. Job score the most points that anyone has scored all season – a total of 80 points with the pole, third in the Sprint, and the Feature win.
Ellis Jr dropped to third after a rough Monza outing, and Campbell held on to fourth. Collins also maintained his position entering, finishing fifth overall. Jeremy Bouteloup (Coanda), in his final full-time season, wound up vaulting into sixth. Jamie Fluke (Apex Racing Team), Cooper Webster (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports), Maximilian Benecke (Porsche24 Team Redline) and Sánchez round out the Top 10.
In positions 11 through 15 are Salva Talens (MSi eSports), Warren, Yohann Harth (Apex Racing Team), Graham Carroll (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports) and Moreno Sirica (Williams Esports). The Top 15 drivers will qualify for the next season of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. From 16th on back, all of those drivers will need to qualify back in through the PESC Contender Series later this year.
FINAL POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE #10 – MONZA
|POS.||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||TOTAL PTS||SP. WINS||FEAT. WINS|
|1||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||554 (–)||1|
|2||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||535 (-19)||4||3|
|3||98||Kevin Ellis Jr||Apex Racing Team||487 (-67)||1||1|
|4||15||Zac Campbell||VRS||469 (-85)||1||2|
|5||93||Charlie Collins||VRS||450 (-104)||2||1|
|6||77||Jeremy Bouteloup||Coanda||356 (-198)|
|7||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||328 (-226)|
|8||37||Cooper Webster [R]||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||327 (-227)|
|9||11||Maximilian Benecke||Porsche24 Team Redline||300 (-254)|
|10||47||Alejandro Sánchez||SDK Gaming||294 (-260)||1|
PESC WILL RETURN IN 2023
With there being a relegation in play, it was assumed that the series would be returning. In between the All-Stars and the Supercup races, Porsche Motorsports Program Manager for Esports, Marius Golombeck, announced that the Porsche iRacing World Championship Series will return in 2023 for its fifth season.
There will be a Qualifying and a Contender Series to set the 2023 roster, and the Qualifying Series is open to all iRacing members that meet the license requirement. The 20 drivers from 16th to 35th in the 2022 PESC standings will start at the Contender Series.
The other drivers that make it to Contender will come from the Qualifying, similar to how it was done last season and similar to the eNASCAR ladder system.
ALL STARS – HEINRICH, JARDIER WIN; QUIRKITIZED CROWNED
I’d be remiss to not mention the crazy battles that occurred in the PESC All Stars earlier in the day. As Quirkitized (Tyson Meier) had mathematically clinched the All-Stars title two weeks ago at Le Mans, the series still had one race remaining to decide the rest of the Top 5 finishers.
Emree (Emily Jones) and Borja Zazo came into the finale tied for second, while Casey Kirwan and Heikki360es (Xabier Sanchez) sat within the Top 5. Only Dan Suzuki had an outside shot at breaking into the Top 5, but he’d need some bad luck from those ahead.
In the Sprint, Laurin Heinrich returned for the first time since the opening week and dominated. Heinrich led from the drop of the flag to the checkers handedly, beating Kirwan and Zazo on the podium.
In the Feature, Jardier (Jaroslav Honzik) was gifted victory after Emree and Quirk got together battling ahead of him for the lead. Kirwan and Heinrich were both eliminated early as they attempted to battle from the back after the reverse grid.
The top 5 stayed the same when it was all said and over with. Emree took the second spot as Zazo was third, Kirwan fourth and Heikki in fifth.
FINAL PESC ALL-STARS POINTS AFTER RACE #10 – MONZA
|POS.||DRIVER||TOTAL PTS||SP. WINS||FEAT. WINS|
|1||Tyson Meier (Quirkitized)||348 (–)||4||1|
|2||Emily Jones (Emree)||254 (-94)||1|
|3||Borja Zazo||250 (-98)|
|4||Casey Kirwan||242 (-106)||2||4|
|5||Xabier Sanchez (Heikki360es)||238 (-110)||1|
|6||Dan Suzuki||226 (-122)|
|7||Jaroslav Honzik (Jardier)||180 (-168)||1||1|
|8||Matt Malone||164 (-184)|
|9||James West (GamerMuscle)||129 (-219)|
|10||Marco Bischoff (MabixTV)||111 (-237)||1|