Another week, another win for Jarno Opmeer in the Premier Sim Gaming Leagues, but this one will mean a lot more to him after taking it on home soil at Zandvoort from pole position.
The Flying Dutchman took the lead on the final lap for the second-successive race to take his fifth win in a row and extend his significant championship advantage even further.
Heading into Zandvoort, the two-time F1 Esports champion led the way by 28 points from Bari Boroumand, with Opmeer’s teammate, Jake Benham, a further five points behind in third.
After another rain-affected race at Spa-Francorchamps, the PSGL admins and drivers changed the weather settings to ‘clear’ except for next week’s race in Brazil and Round 13 in USA.
PSGL ROUND 9 QUALIFYING
Shanaka Clay’s recent qualifying struggles continued as the man who sat fourth in the standings failed to get into the final part of qualifying, lining up next to his former F1 Esports Pro Series teammate, Daniele Haddad, on the sixth row of the grid in 12th.
Q3 saw one of the closest qualifying sessions in PSGL history, with the top five separated by half a tenth. It was delight for the Orange Army, as two Dutch drivers locked out the front row with the PSGL F2’s championship leader Thomas Ronhaar missing out on pole position by just 0.008 seconds to his fellow countryman Opmeer.
Ruben Pedreno lined up third, and he had Boroumand for close company on the second row. Alvaro Carreton completed the top five with two PSGL race winners this season behind him in the form of Benham and Thijmen Schutte. Last season’s pole sitter at Zandvoort, Patrik Sipos, could only manage eighth, with the eventual winner of that race, Joni Tormula, behind the Hungarian in ninth.
PSGL ROUND 9 RACE
When red turned to black at the start of the race, the top six remained as they were for the opening lap, but further back, there was a fantastic scrap between Sipos and Schutte, with the former going around the outside of Scheivlak to take seventh place.
Schutte slipped further down the field after he seemingly picked up damage in the battle with the Alpine, and he had a dramatic crash through Rob Slotemakerbocht to bring out the Virtual Safety Car.
Opmeer rolled the strategic dice and dummied into the pitlane along with Pedreno, Carreton and Tormula, with Pedreno opting for the hard tyres: a decision that potentially cost him a strong haul of points.
The strategic card had been played by the Dutchman, meaning Ronhaar, Boroumand, Benham, and Sipos extended and hoped tyre advantage played king over track position.
Ronhaar jumped into the pits three laps later and only fell behind Carreton in the train despite the huge time loss from the Virtual Safety Car. Boroumand tried the overcut as the leaders got stuck behind the Alfa Romeo of Will Lewis, but the Iranian could not make it work, dropping behind Tormula.
Benham produced a mammoth stint on the soft tyres, which notoriously overheat at Zandvoort, and he filtered behind Alessio Di Capua temporarily. The Mercedes driver made his tyre delta work immediately with a lovely move on the inside of Scheivlak on the Italian and an even better move on Sipos at the same corner a couple of laps later.
The two lead medium runners of Haddad and Clay continued with Opmeer failing to make any significant inroads as he looked to save his medium tyres from any puncture territory risk at the end.
Clay pitted for a fresh set of softs on Lap 24, and he instantly made his way past Sipos, Di Capua, and Carter Lundy, who was making his PSGL F1 debut. All eyes were on Williams’ new signing as he passed Haddad and Benham with a stunning move around the outside of Tarzanbocht.
Whilst Clay’s momentum stopped after his pass on Benham, Williams’ driver pulled the pin on Lap 31 as Carreton took the lead away from Opmeer. Just like in Spa, history repeated itself as Opmeer breezed past the Spaniard on the final lap. On a track that is notoriously difficult to pass, Opmeer once again got the strategic decision correct to take a fifth PSGL victory in a row.
Carreton did not quite do enough but held onto second place from a charging Ronhaar, who got his first PSGL F1 podium in third. Boroumand fell outside the points after a post-race penalty due to a pitlane entry infringement, meaning his hopes of a maiden PSGL title are all but over as he is now 44 points behind Opmeer.
The PSGL circus rolls into Brazil next week, where Opmeer and Boroumand went head-to-head in one of the most dramatic title deciders in F1 league racing in Season 28.
Opmeer won the title that day, and he can make more PSGL history as he chases a sixth win in a row to break Ashbest122’s record of five consecutive wins in the top tier of PSGL that has stood since Season 19.
PSGL ROUND 9 RESULTS
- Jarno Opmeer – 43:51.652
- Alvaro Carreton +0.470
- Thomas Ronhaar +0.833
- Joni Tormula +1.138
- Shanaka Clay +1.817
- Jake Benham +2.027
- Daniele Haddad +2.272
- Dario Iemmulo +2.674
- Ruben Pedreno +5.081
- Patrik Sipos +5.544
Image source: PSGL