The second half of Premier Sim Gaming League’s top PC tier continued to be dominated by McLaren as Bari Boroumand claimed his third win at Mexico on Wednesday night. The Iranian survived a late safety car restart to beat Frede Rasmussen and Jarno Opmeer.
Whilst it was ecstasy for one side of the McLaren garage, the other side was frustrated after Lucas Blakeley lagged out and crossed the pit entry line to pick up a post-race penalty, scoring a solitary point in tenth.
PSGL Round 6: Qualifying
Dani Moreno was the shock elimination in Q1 after the Mercedes driver failed to improve enough on his final lap and started on the back row with Patrik Sipos. Carter Lundy and Ruben Pedreno were on either side of Matthijs Van Erven in the drop zone on their return to PSGL F1.
Veloce’s Valentin Bruffer made his return to league racing, but unfortunately, the German could not make it into the final part of qualifying and started 12th. His fellow German, Marcel Kiefer, started directly behind Bruffer.
Jake Benham was between the two Germans in 13th and was joined in the elimination zone by Filip Presnajder and Fabrizio Donoso: the Chilean missing out on Q3 by 0.019 seconds.
On the opening runs, the McLarens set the same lap time for the second time in qualifying showing how evenly matched Boroumand and Blakeley are.
But Frede Rasmussen joined Thomas Ronhaar as the only driver other than the McLarens to set pole position with an incredible lap at the end.
Boroumand joined the Red Bull driver on the front row, with an improved performance from the 2022 PC Challengers Champion, Tomek Poradzisz, to qualify third.
Wilson Hughes started fourth, with Lucas Blakeley completing the top five after failing to improve on his banker lap.
Piotr Stachulec, Brendon Leigh, Dani Bereznay, Jarno Opmeer, and Joni Tormula lined up behind the Scotsman to set up the grid for the sixth round.
PSGL Round 6: Race
Hoping to get to the front early on, Opmeer, Benham, Bruffer, Pedreno, and Moreno opted to start on the medium tyres, whereas everyone else began on the hards.
With no formation lap due to an in-game F1 22 bug, the medium tyres warmed up better, and the two-time F1 Esports champion passed Hughes, Bereznay, Leigh, and Stachulec on the opening lap to get himself into the top five.
Benham and Pedreno made decent progress on their medium tyres, but Bruffer and Moreno got involved in separate incidents and dropped back.
Rasmussen still led from Boroumand, Poradzisz and Blakeley, who managed to pass his fellow Scotsman Hughes into fourth, but the order quickly changed after the first lap.
On the fourth lap, Opmeer passed Blakeley into the first corner and produced the same move on Poradzisz the following lap. Boroumand, keeping an eye on his S28 title rivals’ progress, decided to put a car between himself and the Mercedes driver and took the lead away from Rasmussen.
His teammate had more concerns after his game crashed on the sixth lap, dropping him down to 15th before he eventually took control of his McLaren.
Blakeley’s misfortunes meant Benham slotted into the top five whilst Pedreno passed Bereznay and Hughes and reconnected the DRS train between sixth and seventh.
The race entered a 10-lap lull as the pitstop phase approached, with the two Scots of Hughes and Blakeley triggering the undercut on Lap 16: but the latter crossed the white line and picked up a five-second penalty post-race.
Opmeer and Leigh responded immediately, but the former struggled for grip and was passed by the Ferrari man and initially overcut by his co-op rival Benham. The Dutchman eventually passed into Turn 4, but it highlighted the difference in grip between the two compounds.
Boroumand pitted one lap earlier than Rasmussen, and it nearly paid off after the Iranian broke the DRS briefly to the Dane. The two-time Formula E: Accelerate champion managed to recover and set his sights on the win.
Poradzisz followed Rasmussen in on Lap 19, but unfortunately for the Pole, Leigh executed a switchback at Turn 5 whilst he tried to generate temperature and dropped the Alfa Romeo driver down to fourth.
Amid the action, Blakeley’s undercut moved him up six places into eighth and pressured Benham and Hughes, who after the race said he picked up slight damage in the opening corners.
He made light work of his fellow two Veloce drivers and started the hunt of Jarno Opmeer in fifth.
Pedreno, one of the other drivers on the alternate strategy, mediums to hards, was holding his ground in the points and remained close to the rear of Benham after Bereznay passed the pair.
Approaching the final stages, Poradzisz needed to dispatch off Leigh to try and challenge for the win. After multiple laps sitting behind the two-time F1 Esports champion, the Pole used his overtake and launched an attack down the inside of Turns 1 and 4. The Ferrari driver refused to give up the place and maintained third, despite leaving the track at Turn 3.
Whilst we approached the conclusion, Tormula lost his Alpha Tauri and crashed at the end of Sector 2, bringing out the first Safety Car of S31: Poradzisz, Blakeley, Hughes, and Pedreno diving into the pits from those inside the points. Leigh decided to stay out after initially pitting, causing him to pick up a 5-second penalty post-race.
It left the order as, Boroumand, Rasmussen, Leigh, Opmeer, Benham, Bereznay, Lundy, Poradzisz, Blakeley, and Hughes, completing the top 10 with two laps to go.
Blakeley was not messing about and produced a stunning overtake on Poradzisz on the restart after the pair passed Lundy before Turn 1.
The Scot did not stop there, dispatching Benham into the stadium section, and Bereznay was overtaken at Turn 5, putting him onto the back of Opmeer.
The Dutchman was under huge pressure into the stadium section but held on after parking it in the middle of the road through the final sequence of corners.
The absence of DRS and a successful restart meant Rasmussen could not get close to Boroumand, meaning the Iranian took his third win of the season at Mexico City.
Opmeer secured his third podium of the season after Leigh’s penalty, with Poradzisz securing his best result in fourth.
Bereznay held off Hughes for fifth, and Kiefer continued his 100% points record in seventh. Leigh’s penalty dropped him down to eighth, with Pedreno scoring points on his return in ninth and Blakeley completing the top 10.
The points differential stands at 16 points between the two McLarens with four races remaining. Rasmussen and Opmeer’s hopes of a title are slimming as they sit 26 and 29 points off Boroumand, respectively, as PSGL heads to Suzuka for Round 7.
Make sure to tune in on Wednesday 17th August at 7 pm BST on the Premier Sim Gaming League YouTube channel.
PSGL Round 6: Race Results
- Bari Boroumand – 48:52.053
- Frede Rasmussen +0.587
- Jarno Opmeer +2.941
- Tomek Poradzisz +3.452
- Dani Bereznay +3.781
- Wilson Hughes +4.514
- Marcel Kiefer +4.614
- Brendon Leigh +6.706
- Ruben Pedreno +7.394
- Lucas Blakeley +8.037