The eighth round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup took the top iRacers over to the Nürburgring for what wound up as one of the most eventful races of the season.
In the Sprint, Sebastian Job (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports) took the checkered flag in a photo finish against championship leader Diogo C. Pinto (Porsche24 Team Redline).
Then, in the feature, Charlie Collins (VRS) held off Maximillian Benecke (Porsche24 Team Redline) for the win after the duo made a three-wide pass on the Döttinger Höhe around Kevin Ellis Jr (Apex Racing Team) and Dayne Warren (Coanda) on the final lap.
The Sprint win was Job’s 11th career Sprint victory and his 21st overall in the series, extending his margin as the all-time wins leader. To get the win, Job made his move at the end of the Döttinger Höhe as well, seemingly leaving a huge gap but ultimately making the move perfectly.
“I backed off, because if you’re too close, they’ll just re-overtake you by the end of the straight,” Job said. “We practiced that over and over in testing, and it played out exactly as expected.”
As for Collins, it’s his second win of the season and of his career, and the first time he’s won a Feature. It looked as though he was committed to helping his teammate Warren, as Warren had taken the lead the lap prior with Collins’ help.
However, Benecke was waiting in the wings to make his own move with his teammate Pinto right behind. As Benecke got his wheels alongside, Ellis Jr and Warren made contact, taking them both out of contention in the final corners.
“That was very dramatic, I think,” Collins said post-race. “The drivers were all waiting and waiting for the last lap straight, and I delivered. That was unfortunate for Dayne.”
SPRINT – SEBASTIAN JOB SNEAKS PAST PINTO
The championship battle has been brewing for months now, and leading the charge has been Pinto most of the way. However, in the recent weeks, that lead has continued to dwindle as Job, Ellis Jr and Zac Campbell (VRS) all continued to close in.
To kick off Qualifying, Pinto delivered a second pole position on the season. The last time he managed that was back at Barcelona where he took his only victory of the season so far in the Sprint race. Despite not having as many wins as some of his competitors, the consistency and constant front running has kept him afloat.
Campbell managed a runner-up, which meant only a two-point loss to start the day. Job would qualify third, starting the event four points further down, then it was Warren and Alejandro Sánchez rounding out the Top 5.
Pinto led the field into the start of the Sprint. With as long as the 24 hour course at the Nürburgring is, lap times would exceed eight minutes.
In total, this variant of the course measures 16.123-miles or 25.95-kilometers with just about 170 corners. That meant a three lap race would take upwards of 25 minutes for the whole field to finish.
The first lap was fairly tame. Pinto continued his march as the leader, but on the second lap, Job made his first move to take second away from Campbell. As the lap continued on, Campbell continued to fall, losing valuable points to the championship leader Pinto. Sánchez made his way around before the final lap to take third.
On the final lap, Job was stalking Pinto. Although he had yet to lead, he looked to have the advantage on the final run down the Döttinger Höhe straight. It was just enough to clear Pinto before the final corners, but Pinto stayed alongside. The two crossed the line together, but it was Job who scored the win.
The win allowed Job to minimize that original four point loss and turn it into a single point as the field inverted for the Feature race.
NÜRBURGRING SPRINT RACE TOP 10
|1||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||3 LAPS||31|
|2||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||+0.049 sec||32|
|3||47||Alejandro Sánchez||SDK Gaming||+0.385 sec||22|
|4||15||Zac Campbell||VRS||+0.546 sec||26|
|5||93||Charlie Collins||VRS||+0.838 sec||16|
|6||57||Dayne Warren||Coanda||+1.218 sec||19|
|7||98||Kevin Ellis Jr||Apex Racing Team||+1.486 sec||14|
|8||11||Maximillian Benecke||Porsche24 Team Redline||+1.877 sec||13|
|9||37||Cooper Webster [R]||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+2.256 sec||12|
|10||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||+5.081 sec||11|
FEATURE – CHARLIE COLLINS CAPTURES CHAOTIC WIN
Following the invert, Benecke was shipped to the front of the field to start alongside Ellis Jr. Job’s Sprint win meant he’d have to start further down the grid in eighth, right in the thick of the action.
The start was relatively clean as Benecke pulled Ellis Jr and the rest of the field around the track. This race would be one lap more than the Sprint, but the intensity seemed to pick up almost immediately after the green flag waved.
Pinto, Job, and Campbell all looked to better their positions, but only Pinto looked to get away clean. Campbell managed a slow down, which mired him further down the grid. Job would also find himself battling around the 10th position, and that’s where disaster struck for the 2020 champion.
Racing against Alessandro Bico (Williams Esports), Job made contact and the duo spun hard into the virtual ARMCO barriers. While Job still had an outside chance at the title before the incident, an early retirement will likely spell the end of his chances.
Meanwhile, Campbell found himself in a slew of issues as well, and ultimately coming home 14th in the feature may have sealed his fate towards the championship too. Up front, it looked like it would be coming down to Pinto and Ellis Jr for the final two races.
Ellis Jr didn’t have the best of starts at the ring. He didn’t qualify in the points, and he only salvaged a seventh place run in the Sprint. That cost him 18 points in the championship battle before the final four lap Feature. Pinto wasn’t slowing down either.
While Ellis Jr took the lead and battled throughout the race, Pinto was waiting in the wings, patiently waiting for any opportunity to appear. It didn’t look like he could get out of fifth other than some help ahead, and on the final lap, that help finally did come.
Warren had taken the lead with help from Collins coming to the white flag. Ellis Jr ran second with Collins in third, Benecke fourth and Pinto in fifth. As the lead went three wide, Collins took over the point with Benecke following through. Ellis Jr and Warren would wreck, and Pinto managed to squeeze by.
Pinto wound up crossing the line third behind the winner Collins and runner-up Benecke. Ellis Jr recovered for a fifth behind Cooper Webster (Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports). Despite a loss of 26 points altogether, Ellis Jr looks to be the only driver within striking distance of Pinto’s point lead with two races to go.
NÜRBURGRING FEATURE RACE TOP 10
|1||93||Charlie Collins||VRS||4 LAPS||50|
|2||11||Maximillian Benecke||Porsche24 Team Redline||+0.127 sec||45|
|3||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||+2.246 sec||40|
|4||37||Cooper Webster [R]||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||+2.727 sec||37|
|5||98||Kevin Ellis Jr||Apex Racing Team||+3.477 sec||34|
|6||77||Jeremy Bouteloup||Coanda||+3.815 sec||31|
|7||90||Yohann Harth||Apex Racing Team||+3.863 sec||28|
|8||69||Moreno Sirica||Williams Esports||+11.056 sec||26|
|9||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||+11.143 sec||24|
|10||4||Salva Talens||MSi eSports||+11.513 sec||22|
POINTS SITUATION LEAVING NÜRBURGRING
All in all, it turned out to be another race where Pinto stayed out of trouble and picked up a double podium as a result. Pinto started first, finished second in the Sprint and came home third in the Feature, all for a total of 72 points out of an 85 point maximum.
Collins had the next best point day with 66 total points, but his championship hopes have been over for a bit now. He finds himself 109 points out of the lead, which is more than a full race behind. If Collins, or anyone else behind him isn’t within 85 points of the lead after the penultimate race at Circuit de la Sarthe, mathematically their chances will make it officially over.
Both Job and Campbell are still within that threshold,
POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE #8 – NÜRBURGRING
|POS.||CAR #||DRIVER||TEAM||TOTAL PTS||SP. WINS||FEAT. WINS|
|1||44||Diogo C. Pinto||Porsche24 Team Redline||443*||1|
|2||98||Kevin Ellis Jr||Apex Racing Team||407||1|
|3||22||Sebastian Job||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||379||4||1|
|6||11||Maximilian Benecke||Porsche24 Team Redline||289*|
|7||49||Jamie Fluke||Apex Racing Team||281|
|8||37||Cooper Webster [R]||Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports||272*|
|10||47||Alejandro Sánchez||SDK Gaming||209||1|
Other winners in 2022 include two time winner Dayne Warren (11th) and Hockenheim Feature Race winner Ayhancan Güven (14th).
ALL STARS – QUIRKITIZED, MABIXTV SCORE RACE WINS
The Nürburgring All-Stars event saw the return of both Casey Kirwan and MabixTV (Marco Bischoff) to the roster as they would see a pair of three lap races on the weekend. In the first race, Kirwan took the pole position and ran with it for most of the event.
As always, Quirkitized (Tyson Meier) was a part of the battle as the trio raced for the Sprint race victory. On the final lap, Quirk was able to pass Kirwan and hold off MabixTV for the win, extending his points lead over Emree (Emily Jones), who struggled finish in eighth.
For the feature, the same three managed to make their way back up front despite starting in the back due to the invert. Again, the trio raced hard with Quirk and Kirwan side by side on the final lap. At the end of the Döttinger Höhe straight, the pair collided, and that gave the ultimate win over to MabixTV.
Leaving Germany, Quirk has a 59 point lead over Emree with only two races to go. If Quirk can maintain more than a 55 point lead at Le Mans, He’ll be able to claim the All-Star title a race early.
PESC ALL-STARS POINTS AFTER RACE #8 – NURBURGRING
|POS.||DRIVER||TOTAL PTS||SP. WINS||FEAT. WINS|
|1||Tyson Meier (Quirkitized)||282||3||1|
|2||Emily Jones (Emree)||223||1|
|4||Xabier Sanchez (Heikki360es)||189||1|
|5||Daniel Sosulski (Dan Suzuki)||174|
|8||Jaroslav Honzik (Jardier)||130||1|
|9||James West (GamerMuscle)||114|
|10||Mathieu Wacker (rAii)||86|
UP NEXT – LE MANS
The penultimate round of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup brings the drivers to Le Mans for yet another big track showdown. The Circuit de la Sarthe, famously known as the 24 Hours of Le Mans track, is much smaller than the Nürburgring, but still is long in general. It features 38 corners at the 13.626-kilometer (8.467-mile) circuit located in France.
As only Mitchell deJong and Joshua Rogers have any victories at the venue, there will be a new winner or two this time around. Job, Collins and Campbell all managed podium finishes last season, while Pinto had a best finish of eighth in the Sprint.
The coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT / 6:30 p.m. BST over on the Porsche Twitch channel with the All Stars on first, then 3:00 p.m. EDT / 8:00 p.m. BST for the World Championship event.
2022 PORSCHE TAG HEUER ESPORTS SUPERCUP SCHEDULE
|DATE||TRACK||SPRINT LAPS||FEATURE LAPS|
|21st May||Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans||3||6|
|4th June||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||7||14|