Twelve months ago, Luke Smith crossed the line first to take a shock win in Premier Sim Gaming League’s top PC split at a chaotic Monaco race. The drama continued, however, as the Alpine driver was awarded a post-race penalty for a pit-lane exit infringement that awarded the win to former Formula 1 Esports driver Thijmen Schutte.
Since then, Smith showcased some strong performances in F1 Esports last season and has now taken his maiden PSGL F1 victory at Jeddah after a brilliant drive from pole position.
Ismael Fassi held off Alfie Butcher for most of the race to finish second, with Thomas Ronhaar pipping the latter to claim another podium.
Bari Boroumand had a horrific race and ended the race out of the points, with Jake Benham inheriting the championship lead after a strong recovery drive.
With a grid full of F1 and F2 drivers, Filip Presjander was the shock elimination in Q1 after failing to improve on his final lap. Andrey Tarabukin, Tycho Hardy, Jack West, and Dylan Warren joined the Alpine driver in the Q1 elimination zone.
The pace began to ramp up in Q2, with Jake Benham and Wilson Hughes managing to get themselves eliminated. Two Veloce F1 Elites joined them in the drop zone: Harvey Cowan and Can Akinci. F1 debutant Jan Haladej was also out with the slowest time of the session.
Luke Smith produced a brilliant lap at the death to take pole, with Alfie Butcher on his PSGL return joining him on the front row. F2’s runner-up, Ismael Fassi, started third next to Dani Bereznay, with Ruben Pedreno completing the top five.
Tomek Poradzisz started sixth ahead of championship leader Bari Boroumand and Istvan Puki, completing the top eight.
Thomas Ronhaar was the big shock after invalidating both laps, and the championship contender started down in 10th alongside Alvaro Carreton, who did the same as the Dutchman.
It was an even start at the front, with every driver retaining their starting spots other than Ronhaar squeezing ahead of Carreton and Puki to move into eighth.
The big mover was West down in 19th, who opted to start on the softs and gained 10 places in the opening three laps, completing his bunch of overtakes with a brilliant send on Puki at the final corner. But as the race progressed past the first quarter, the Welshman slipped down the field before pitting on Lap eight
As the pitstop phase approached, Butcher and Smith jostled for the lead after Poradzisz, Boroumand, and Carreton pitted on Lap 11 and onto the mediums.
Smith and Fassi reacted a lap later and retained their positions ahead of the drivers who had pitted the lap before. Berezany and Puki ended up pitting on Lap 14, with the former behind his Alfa Romeo F1 Esports teammate in a net fifth place.
Butcher, Pedreno, and Ronhaar opted to go further into the race and boxed on Lap 15, giving them a considerable tyre advantage.
Butcher was battling with Poradzisz on the pit exit, with Bereznay lurking behind to pick up any pieces. Boroumand saw this as an opportunity to pass the Hungarian through the twisty Sector 1 and put his nose up the inside of the double left, which ended as you would expect, with them both in the barriers.
With Cowan staying out, the train disconnected between the top three and the rest of the field. Benham had stopped the latest and had considerably fresher tyres than those ahead, passing Warren, Hughes, Pedreno and Haladej for a spot inside the top eight.
Ronhaar found his way ahead of Carreton and Poradzisz, and the pace of the F1 Esports Rookie of the Year saw the Haas driver reconnect the train with his fresher tyres.
With four laps to go, the Dutchman attacked Butcher ahead, and the pair went side-by-side into Turn 1, before both tapping the rear of Fassi’s Haas, dropping him into third. But Butcher managed to get ahead.
Onto the penultimate lap, a poor exit out of the final corner cost Butcher second place as Fassi managed to use his ERS and blast back past the Englishman and make it a Race Clutch 1-2.
It got worse for the R8G Esports driver as at the final corner of the last lap, Ronhaar executed the perfect switchback to snatch third away from Butcher and join race winner Smith and Fassi on the podium.
Puki held off Benham for fifth, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports driver taking the championship lead by a singular point. Carreton narrowly lost out to Benham at Turn 27 and finished seventh, with Hughes, Poradzisz, and Berenzay, who managed to avoid damage, completing the top 10.
Benham leads the way with 33 points, with Boroumand and Ronhaar on 32 points. Smith elevates himself into contention with 30 points.
Jarno Opmeer, absent from the race at Jeddah, sits 12 points off his teammate in fifth.
Next up, PSGL heads to the Interlagos for Round 5 of Season 32.
SEASON 32 PREMIER SIM GAMING LEAGUE PC F1 CHAMPIONSHIP: ROUND 4 RESULTS
- Luke Smith – Alpine – 25 laps
- Ismael Fassi – Haas
- Thomas Ronhaar – Haas
- Alfie Butcher – Ferrari
- Istvan Puki – Aston Martin
- Jake Benham – Mercedes
- Alvaro Carreton – Williams
- Wilson Hughes – McLaren
- Tomek Poradzisz – Alfa Romeo
- Dani Bereznay – Alfa Romeo