Premier Sim Gaming League’s PC championship on F1 22 is simmering at a boiling point after Bari Boroumand claimed his fourth win of the season to take the fight to the wire at Bahrain next week.
Thomas Ronhaar crossed the line in second after the pair made contact twice during the race: one at Turn 3, where the Dutchman gave the place back, and another at Turn 4, which saw the Iranian drop three positions.
Jake Benham’s title fight ended with third, but the Englishman had a big part to play after forcing Ronhaar off the circuit on the last lap to give Boroumand victory.
In Q1, Nicolas Longuet failed to take part in Q2 again after the rain arrived at the beginning, effectively making it a one-lap shootout.
After getting the worse of the conditions, the Frenchman joined Andrey Tarabukin, Dylan Warren, his former F1 Esports teammate Patrik Sipos, and Harlem Marquis in the bottom five.
The rain remained for Q2, which saw the departure of the returning Brendon Leigh: his first race since he moved to R8G Esports. The two-time F1 Esports champion was not the only big casualty after Wilson Hughes failed to progress.
Xander van Dijken slotted between the two in 14th, with Ledjen Rosenberg and Max Wissel ahead of them on the sixth row.
Like for much of the season, Bari Boroumand and Thomas Ronhaar fought it out for pole position in a dry Q3, with the latter snatching pole at the death.
Jake Benham, the other championship contender, was directly behind the pair in third, with Can Akinci and Filip Presnajder completing the top five.
Istvan Puki started sixth, ahead of an all-Spanish fourth row, Ismael Fassi and Alvaro Carreton, with Daniel Kuijer and Alfie Butcher completing the Top 10 for the penultimate round of Season 32.
Despite Benham getting off the line better, Boroumand held off the Mercedes into Turn 1, with the front three unchanged on the opening lap.
Presnajder jumped Akinci, who dropped further down the field behind Puki, Fassi and Butcher, who made three places off the start.
However, the R8G Esports development driver did not get the best start as the returning Leigh made up five places before Turn 4.
Like most races nowadays, it turned into a DRS train for the first part of the race, with Boroumand overtaking Ronhaar for the lead on Lap 6.
But the first twist occurred the following lap after Ronhaar tapped the rear of the Iranian, dropping him to fourth. To avoid a penalty, the Dutchman let the Iranian back through but lost two positions to Puki and Fassi, with Presnajder inheriting the race lead.
Amid the drama, Leigh spun out on his return coming out of Turn 5, ending any chance of points with a front wing change.
Despite the first bit of chaos, the pair worked their way back through relatively quickly, and by the end of Lap 15, Boroumand led from Benham and Ronhaar.
But more drama ensued after Ronhaar’s game tabbed him out, dropping the championship leader to sixth just before the pitstop phase.
Puki and Fassi boxed with 16 laps remaining, as they hoped to mix it with the leaders, and the pair managed to undercut Boroumand and Ronhaar to take the final two spots on the podium.
The pair made light work of overtaking Puki, but Fassi stood firm for a few laps before drama arrived on Lap 26.
After Boroumand eventually got passed Fassi, his exit was compromised out of Turn 3, allowing Ronhaar to strike. The Iranian left the door open at Turn 4, which Ronhaar broke into and got to the apex level with his title rival.
Boroumand turned in, which caused Ronhaar to correct the car forcing the Ferrari off the road. F1 Esports’ Rookie of the Year was up to second, with his rival down to fifth in an incident, like the one earlier in the race deemed a racing incident by the stewards.
In a further twist, with five laps to go, the rain began to fall in the Styrian Mountains, and with the bit between his teeth, Boroumand got into the top three once again with a move in successive laps on Fassi and Puki.
As it stood, Ronhaar was on the verge of his maiden PSGL title, as Boroumand needed maximum points in Bahrain and hoped the Dutchman failed to score.
But on the final lap, the Iranian’s title hopes swung in his favour after Benham sent a move up the inside of Ronhaar, forcing him off the track. It allowed the Ferrari to get the pair into Turn 4, with Ronhaar barging his way through, both moves deemed worthy of 5-second penalties by the stewards.
Boroumand brought the car home to take his fourth win of the season and take the championship lead away from Ronhaar.
Puki and Fassi did end up on the podium, with Warren and Akinci completing the top five.
Presnajder, Hughes, and Butcher were all within range of Ronhaar and Benham’s penalties, meaning a winner-takes-all showdown in Bahrain.
SEASON 32 PREMIER SIM GAMING LEAGUE PC F1 CHAMPIONSHIP: ROUND 10 RESULTS
- Bari Boroumand – Ferrari
- Istvan Puki – Aston Martin
- Ismael Fassi – Alpine
- Dylan Warren – Red Bull
- Can Akinci – Haas
- Filip Presnajder – Alfa Romeo
- Wilson Hughes – McLaren
- Alfie Butcher – Red Bull
- Thomas Ronhaar – Haas
- Jake Benham – Mercedes-AMG