Jarno Opmeer is on the brink of a fourth Premier Sim Gaming Leagues title after a seventh win in the last eight races at the Circuit of Americas. The race did not come without controversy, as the Dutchman avoided a post-race penalty after a collision with Nicolas Longuet at Turn 13.
The two-time F1 Esports champion subsequently made his tyre advantage count, overtaking his championship rival Bari Boroumand on the final lap to extend his championship advantage to 44 points.
PSGL Round 11 Qualifying
Just like in the previous round at Singapore, the drivers were split on what compound to use in Q2 and, therefore, use at the start of the race.
Boroumand, Opmeer, Benham, and Thomas Ronhaar all progressed into the final part of qualifying on the medium tyres, with three of last week’s top four, Leigh, Hughes, and Longuet, just missing on Q3.
Two of Williams’ new signings, Shanaka Clay and Daniele Haddad, opted for red-walled soft tyres with Liam Parnell, Patrik Sipos, Alessio Di Capua, and Dani Bereznay.
Ronhaar set the benchmark at the beginning of Q3 as the reigning World Online Racing Xbox champion pipped Boroumand by 0.002 seconds: the only two on fresh soft tyres.
Bereznay snatched pole by 0.001 seconds on his final run in Q3, but the Iranian took it back from his McLaren Shadow teammate by a healthy margin. Opmeer showed his hand at the death to take another pole position by the tiniest margin.
His teammate, Benham, made it a Mercedes 1-3, with Bereznay dropping to fourth. Ronhaar could not improve on his final run, meaning he lined up fifth: making it four medium runners in the top five.
With drivers on the softs starting sixth to 10th, it was set up to be fantastic race as they hoped to get through the medium runners.
PSGL Round 11: Race
Opmeer led comfortably into Turn 1, but Bereznay made a brilliant start on the softs and jumped up into second ahead of Boroumand. Further back, three of the soft runners, Haddad, Parnell, and Sipos, took themselves out of contention after a collision at Turn 1.
Bereznay took the lead from the championship leader heading into Turn 12 on the opening lap as the race entered a lull with the typical DRS trains at the front.
Alessio Di Capua made his way into second on Lap 4 on the soft tyres but was over two seconds off the leader before the Italian made his pitstop at the end of Lap 11.
Bereznay covered off the potential undercut on Lap 12, moving Opmeer into the lead, followed by Boroumand, Benham, Ronhaar, Leigh, Hughes, and Longuet in the leading DRS train.
On lap 14, the race began to get interesting as Boroumand took the lead from Opmeer and last week’s race winner, Leigh, dived into the pits for the red-walled soft tyres.
Longuet responded a lap later as he was at the back of the DRS train and fed out over three seconds behind Leigh.
Race leader Boroumand and his Veloce compatriot, Ronhaar, pitted on Lap 17 and were out of DRS range of Longuet as the undercut was playing a huge factor in the battle for the win.
Hughes pitted on Lap 17, Opmeer on Lap 18 and Benham was the last to pit on 19, meaning the leading order was Leigh, Longuet, Bereznay, Boroumand, Di Capua, Ronhaar, Hughes, Opmeer and Benham.
Ronhaar and Hughes picked up time penalties which put them out of contention for the win along with Bereznay and Di Capua: who were swiftly overtaken by the soft runners.
Leigh’s tyres began to fade, and Longuet and Boroumand moved past the Ferrari driver just as Opmeer had moved into the top six.
Opmeer dispatched Ronhaar and Bereznay and made a Ricciardo-Esque move into Turn 1 on Leigh and into third place.
Up next was Longuet for the Dutchman, and the pair had some history at USA: remember back to the 2021 Esports Championship when the Frenchman let Opmeer past after the DRS gifting him victory.
Opmeer tried around the outside of Turn 12 on the penultimate lap, which became the inside of Turn 13. The Frenchman seemed to have it covered and turned into the racing line, but Opmeer sent it up the inside with the pair banging wheels. Longuet went off the track, but the championship leader was through with just his championship rival ahead of him.
The Flying Dutchman’s fresher tyres meant it was an easy move with DRS on the final lap on the Iranian to take a seventh win in the last eight PSGL races and put him on the brink of a fourth PSGL title.
Boroumand and Longuet completed the provisional podium places, with Leigh and Benham rounding off the top five.
PSGL heads to Brazil for Round 12, where Opmeer can wrap up the title: like he did back in Season 28. Boroumand needs to finish in the top three (with the fastest lap if he is third) to have a chance of keeping his slim title hopes alive. But a top-four for Opmeer (or fifth with the fastest lap) means he will win the title at Brazil.
Make sure to tune in to see if Opmeer can claim the championship!
PSGL Round 11: Results
- Jarno Opmeer – 44:35.349
- Bari Boroumand +0.938
- Nicolas Longuet +1.514
- Brendon Leigh +1.905
- Dani Bereznay +2.574
- Jake Benham +3.215
- Wilson Hughes +6.915
- Thomas Ronhaar +8.151
- Alessio Di Capua +9.469
- Alvaro Carreton +11.553
Image source: PSGL