Lucas Blakeley wrote his name into the Premier Sim Gaming League history books after an enthralling season ended with another game-breaking issue.
The Scot, not knowing that Round 8 would decide the championship, overtook Bari Boroumand on the final lap at Monza after the Iranian collided with Frede Rasmussen on the exit of Turn 2.
Blakeley ended Jarno Opmeer’s dominance of PSGL’s top PC tier after the Dutchman dominantly took the last three titles.
PSGL Round 8: Qualifying
Dani Moreno continued his poor qualifying form in PSGL and was eliminated narrowly by fellow Spaniard Samuel Bean in the first part of qualifying. The returning Michael Romanidis was behind the Mercedes Esports driver in 17th.
Jake Benham, Liam Parnell, and Tomek Poradzisz, serving a qualifying ban, completed the last three positions on the grid.
Onto Q2, Wilson Hughes missed out on Q3 for the second time this season: qualifying 11th. The Scot was joined in the drop zone by Matthijs Van Erven and Alfie Butcher, making his first appearance in the top tier in S31, Joni Tormula, and Bean down in 15th.
After failing to set the timing screens purple in the opening session, Rasmussen reminded them why he is one of the main challengers for the F1 Esports title by taking pole at the death ahead of the McLaren duo of Bari Boroumand and Lucas Blakeley.
Sebastian Job started fourth, with the Ferrari duo of Fabrizio Donoso and Brendon Leigh racing in front of the Tifosi on the third row. Patrik Sipos lined up seventh alongside Opmeer, with Bereznay and Ronhaar completing the top 10.
PSGL Round 8: Race
Red turned to green, and it was an even start between the leading contenders, but the slipstream from Rasmussen gave Blakeley a shot at second place. The two McLarens squabbling meant the Dane broke DRS off the exit of Turn 2.
Behind, two Ferrari’s swapped places, as did Opmeer and Sipos: with the latter two starting on the mediums.
With the tyre temperature issues on the formation lap resolved, the two-time F1 Esports champion could not make progress off the start, only passing Donoso for the sixth up until the pitstop period.
The race entered the typical lull phase seen across many top-tier races on PC, with limited overtaking before the pitstop phase. The two McLarens were constantly towing each other along to reconnect the train, Donoso dropped to ninth behind Sipos and Bereznay, and Benham moved into the top 10 on the medium tyres.
Job entered the pits on Lap 13, attempting to undercut the two McLarens ahead. Boroumand took the lead from Rasmussen and gave preference to box on the next lap to his teammate Blakeley, who was joined in pitlane by Rasmussen, Leigh and Ronhaar.
Job managed to jump ahead of the McLaren driver giving Rasmussen a brilliant opportunity to stretch his advantage: the Dane pushed too hard, cutting the inside of Turn 4, picking up a 3-second penalty.
Boroumand pitted the following lap leaving Opmeer and Benham out in front, but despite coming out ahead of the pack on his colder tyres, the Dane retook the net race lead.
There was plenty of action down the start-finish straight on Lap 18 as Blakeley powered past Job and back into the podium spots, and Opmeer, opting for the soft tyres, managed to come out behind Donoso in 11th.
The four-time PSGL champion made his tyre advantage work to perfection in the early stages producing a double overtake on the Chilean and his former Alpine teammate Sipos at Turn 3.
Job joined Rasmussen in picking up a penalty, putting him out of contention for the win, leaving the battle between the two McLarens. But the pair still had to clear the Dane in front.
The laps ticked by, and it was not until the final lap that they got close enough to strike. Boroumand tried to around the outside of the Dane at Turn 1 to give him the inside of Turn 2. The Iranian managed to get the move done after forcing the Red Bull driver onto the kerb impacting his traction.
Despite the overtake being 90% complete, the McLaren Shadow driver continued to squeeze the Red Bull pilot, which ultimately cost him the championship. Rasmussen made contact with Boroumand’s rear tyre, taking them both out of the race.
Blakeley took full advantage and kept it on the island for one more lap to take home his maiden PSGL title and his fourth win in eight races.
Leigh managed to pass Job on the final lap to take second, with Dani Bereznay completing the podium in third. Ronhaar finished fourth, with Tormula, Opmeer, Job, Hughes, Romanidis, and Donoso completing the points positions in the final race of the season.
It has been a fascinating championship to cover that was sadly cut short by issues out of Premier Sim Gaming Leagues’ hands as F1 Esports drivers prioritise the build-up to the 2022 F1 Esports Pro Series Championship that starts relatively soon, owing to the differences between the retail and esports builds of F1 22.
The top tier of PSGL will be back in the new year with plenty of storylines. Can Jarno Opmeer reclaim his title, can Bari Boroumand go one better and take his maiden title, or can Lucas Blakeley continue his dominance and become the king of F1 22?
PSGL Round 8: Race Results
- Lucas Blakeley
- Brendon Leigh
- Dani Bereznay
- Thomas Ronhaar
- Joni Tormula
- Jarno Opmeer
- Sebastian Job
- Wilson Hughes
- Michael Romanidis
- Fabrizio Donoso