VCO Esport’s Spring Cup kicked off with rFactor 2 and the BTCC Toyota, a unique driving experience with the front-wheel drive car delivering frenetic action.
Back following a month-long break, the Esports Racing League brings the idea of a single-elimination bracket to the world of sim racing.
If a reminder is required, each round is held on a different game and features four stages of competition. The Heats witness twenty-five separate teams enter a three-race gauntlet. Each team consists of three drivers, and only one entrant is selected per contest.
In homage to golf, the objective is to come away with the lowest score across those three races with a win giving you one solitary point. Make it into the top fourteen and you’re split up into two groups of seven taking on one race each with all twenty-one drivers available.
Once again, the teams are asked to score as few points as possible with their top two placed pilots scoring the crucial numbers. This is repeated with the top six between both groups who make it to the semi-final.
The Finals is very similar to half a V10 R-League match. Two teams going head-to-head in a best-of-three format.
With all that in mind let us return to the first event of the Summer Cup, utilising rFactor 2’s Donington Park GP layout.
By the Semi-Final stage, the likes of Arnage Competition, M1RA Esports and Spring Cup Masters champions Unicorns of Love were out of contention.
Team Redline, however, was through to this stage; the most successful ERL team of 2022 behind the Unicorns.
It was certainly a good day for the trio of Kevin Siggy, Jeffrey Rietveld and Enzo Bonito already having ensured Redline become the lowest scorers in both the Heats and the Quarter-Finals.
Qualifying ran like a treat too; Bonito on pole position whilst his two teammates claimed fourth and fifth on the grid. Williams Esports was spread across the pack though Jack Keithley was primed to start on the front row. Marcell Csincsik was also looking strong for R8G Esports in third.
The drama was immediate as Keithley failed to move when the red lights turned green. Csincsik was up into second and Rietveld was fastest to react to the dormant Williams elevating himself to third. There was more to come up into McLean’s as BS+Competition’s Joonas Raivio sent the R8G of Jiri Toman for a spin.
As Erhan Jajovski was lying in fourth, it seemed practically assured as to who the final would be between unless Apex Racing Team’s Jamie Fluke had anything to say about it. Despite a valiant effort the results held setting up a Redline vs R8G showdown.
Finals – Race 1
Bonito was not good enough to grab another pole position as the finals qualifying session wrapped. Jajovski would lead the field away but well-armed with the knowledge that the entire Redline trio surrounded him off the start.
Nevertheless, the North Macedonian’s getaway was solid and aided by an elbow-out Csincsik who muscled his way through Rietveld before hitting the Old Hairpin.
The heat of the rivalry was palpable as Jajovski’s defence of first was demonstrated; paint was exchanged with Bonito before the end of the first lap.
Both R8G rear-gunners ultimately switched positions heading into the second lap with Csincsik getting a little too rough house on Rietveld but demonstrating excellent sportsmanship to let him through. Race control would still deliver a penalty point his way giving Redline an extra boost. Toman was up into fourth and Race 2’s reverse grid pole position.
In the knowledge of Csincsik’s penalty point, Bonito eased off on the aggressiveness and Jajovski was able to take the win more comfortably. Redline took the overall victory five points against six.
Finals – Race 2
Starting last in Race 1, Toman put together an accomplished start to lead the field into Redgate. Unfortunately, it was all for nought with a lockup into McLean’s gifting Siggy the lead. Bonito and Jajovski also made it through but would have a disagreement into The Esses leaving the Italian in the gravel trap; a fate of his own doing so deemed the stewards.
By the end of the first lap this left Toman and Csincsik in second and third with the all-important fourth place held by Rietveld.
It all came to a head with two and a half minutes left as Csincsik attempted to back the Dutchman into the clutches of Jajovski. It was all a little too manufactured and ended up with multiple collisions into and out of McLean’s. The final decision was that everyone involved was to blame; a crucial call that (with Jajovski now in fourth) forced a Race 3.
Finals – Race 3
The Superpole session preluding the final clash of the evening swung Bonito’s way once again beating Rietveld by a tenth and a half. This meant that the lead R8Gs of Csincsik and Jajovski would have it all to do across the eight minutes afforded.
Csincsik started well and grabbed second in the early stages but unfortunately for the team, Siggy matched this delta gain pushing Jajovski down the fifth. Going against the grain, this particular encounter was much more mundane with everyone well-behaved. But sadly for Erhan Jajovski he would push himself too far in the pursuit of Siggy and gained a drivethrough penalty for cutting the track too many times.
This all but ended R8G’s hopes as Toman was well off the pace. After winning the World Cup and two of the Spring Cup rounds in 2022, Team Redline was back at it once again kicking off the Summer Cup in style.