Premier Sim Gaming League’s PC championship concluded last night, but the drama ran into the following hours after a three-second penalty was awarded to Thomas Ronhaar, giving Bari Broumand the title.
The Dutchman appeared to defend late after fending off Dylan Warren, and whilst nothing appeared wrong at the time, the latter reported it late last night, with stewards deciding it was enough to put Broumand ahead on countback.
Additionally, there was plenty of controversy throughout the race. Nicolas Longuet picked up 24 seconds of penalties to catch Ronhaar after his teammate had lagged out of the race and was fighting for minor points.
It was dramatic, with Big_C, Premier Sim Gaming League’s owner, describing it as a ‘sour ending for both drivers.’
In Q1, the returning F1 Esports and PSGL champion Lucas Blakeley opted to start from the back. The Scotsman was joined by Alvaro Carreton, who served a qualifying ban, Matthijs van Erven, Can Akinci, and Duncan Hofland in the bottom five.
In the battle for third, it was advantage Jake Benham, after Wilson Hughes and Istvan Puki narrowly missed out on Q3. Marcel Kiefer was behind the pair in 13th after failing to continue his form from Q1, with Alfie Butcher and Dylan Warren completing the spots in the drop zone.
The battle for pole was between the two Ferrari drivers and Thomas Ronhaar, with the rest of the pack lacking a tenth or so. Bari Broumand edged out his championship rival to take pole, with a small mistake from Nicolas Longuet costing his third to his former F1 Esports teammate Dani Bereznay.
Ruben Pedreno lined up fifth, pipping Benham and Otis Lawrence. Ismael Fassi was eighth, ahead of Brendon Leigh and Filip Presnajder, who completed the top 10.
Off the line, Ronhaar got the jump on Broumand and took the lead into Turn 1, giving him the title as it stood. Pedreno got involved in an incident with Lawrence and dropped to the rear of the field. There was further carnage behind, with Kiefer ending up in the gravel: summing up the state of his F1 22 cycle.
Blakeley started on the mediums and got a brilliant start, gaining nine places on the opening lap. His progress did not stop there, passing Fassi, Hughes, Presnajder, Benham, and Leigh in the opening six laps to move into the top six.
Whilst Blakeley was passing drivers left, right, and centre, drama occurred at the front after Broumand suffered technical issues and lagged out of the session.
The Iranian dropped to ninth, ahead of his former McLaren Shadow teammate Hughes, and the charge towards the front began with a move instantly on Presnajder and Benham heading into the pitstop phase.
Longuet pulled the pin, but with the undercut not so strong, he failed to get ahead of Ronhaar, with the Dutchman now having a tyre advantage.
The pair approached Warren, and with the rivalry brewing, the Haas driver needed to pass him quickly. After a lap of battling, he eventually got past with a lovely switchback down the second DRS straight but had used all his battery.
The Englishman had saved a load of his after he was yet to stop and went for a move down the start-finish straight. Ronhaar moved late to defend, but it could not stop Warren, who powered past him.
Ronhaar’s extra grip on the mediums paid dividends as he went around the outside at Turn 4 and was forced off, got the position at the expense of a 5-second penalty.
This battle got Longuet into the DRS and was ready to launch an attack on Ronhaar before another variable struck in the form of Ronhaar’s F1 Esports teammate, van Erven.
His fellow Dutchman defended for his life, allowing Ronhaar to break clear by nearly two seconds with six laps remaining.
Broumand stayed out to breeze past the field on soft tyres, but the game put him on a used set, which put him out of contention for any spot inside the top five.
It was all down to his new F1 Esports teammate, who began to create a new circuit by picking up penalty after penalty after penalty to catch Ronhaar after the Frenchman picked up minor damage in the early stages.
On the final lap, Longuet eventually got the DRS as the pair burned their batteries to achieve their goals, so the Frenchman never got close to stopping Ronhaar from taking victory on the track.
The five-second penalty dropped Ronhaar to fourth, with Bereznay taking victory ahead of Lawrence and Leigh. Broumand dropped to eighth, giving the Dutchman the title by a singular point.
However, a late twist occurred after Warren reported Ronhaar for his defence on Lap 19, and whilst no one thought of it at the time, it gave Broumand hope, and the stewards opted to penalise Ronhaar, levelling the points up in the championship.
After Broumand’s four wins to Ronhaar’s two, the Iranian finally claimed the PSGL PC F1 title in dramatic circumstances and his first title since his move to Ferrari.
Full race results remain TBC