Esports ESL_R1, Spring Major Finale, Munich (D): Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Joshua Rogers (AUS), Mack Bakkum (NL), Mitchell deJong (USA)
Works team Porsche Coanda Esports with three drivers in Spring Major Final
Joshua Rogers started as one of five title contenders in the final race
After an intense battle he finished second and fourth in the standings
Joshua Rogers finished the Spring Major Final of the newly-created ESL R1 Simracing Championship in fourth place. The Australian went into the final race as one of five title contenders and could have clinched the championship with a heat win. Rogers was one of three Porsche Coanda Esports factory drivers who had previously qualified for the public event in Munich in eight events on the simulation racing platform. Of this trio, Rogers was the only one to make it into the final races on Sunday with the virtual Porsche 911 GT3 R.
With victory on the virtual Nürburgring, Rogers made a perfect start to the weekend on Saturday. In the second race at the Hockenheimring, it was only enough for him to finish last after problems in qualifying. In Spa-Francorchamps, the digital venue for the third race, the Australian drove to fifth place. The fourth and final preliminary race took the ESL R1 competitors on the new simracing platform Rennsport to Monza in Italy for the first time. Here, Rogers earned ninth position. He had already secured his place in the round of the best twelve on Sunday.
On the second day of the Spring Major Finals, it was practically all new again for the remaining participants. The first ESL R1 champion had to meet two criteria: first, accumulate more than 160 points on his account to achieve the so-called finalist status, and then win one more race. Rogers started with a sixth place in Monza, finished fifth in Hockenheim, completed the Nürburgring round in seventh place and then the two races in Spa-Francorchamps in positions two and six. He also finished sixth at the Nürburgring. With a hard-fought third place in another race at Hockenheim, he finally achieved finalist status as the fifth competitor.
For the eighth and decisive race, Monza again served as the stage. Rogers started from position four. With a courageous manoeuvre out of the slipstream, he was able to outbrake two opponents at once on the second lap, but had to relinquish his second place in the meantime. At the front, meanwhile, another competitor with finalist status, Marcell Csincsik, benefited from the duels in his rear-view mirror. The Hungarian was able to win the race with a lead of almost five seconds and thus let himself be celebrated as the first champion of the ESL R1 series. Second place was enough for Rogers to move up to fourth place in the championship. Before the Spring Major, the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team had already secured third place in the team standings.
Besides the Australian, his teammates Mitchell deJong and Mack Bakkum had also qualified for the final in the Bavarian capital. However, both the US American and the Dutchman failed to make it into the top six of their group in the four preliminary heats on Saturday and thus missed out on a place in the final on Sunday.
Quotes after the Major Spring Final
Nina Braack (Esports Manager at Porsche Motorsport): "All in all, the result is fine for us. Of course we would have liked to win. Joshua Rogers reached 'finalist mode' at the end and would have been champion with a win. In the end, we finished fourth in the drivers' standings and third in the team standings. The ESL put on a great event. We're looking forward to next season but we also know what we need to work on to take home the big trophy next time."
Philip Stamm (Team Principal Porsche Coanda Esports Racing): "That was a really great weekend and a completely new experience for everyone to compete in virtual races on such a big stage. Overall, we can be satisfied with the result. We had three drivers at the start in Munich, Josh came fourth in the end. The atmosphere was great, the ground was shaking. Big thanks to ESL and the people from Rennsport for what they put together for the first season."
Joshua Rogers (AUS, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing): "It was great fun and it was very close. The fascinating tournament format made it exciting right to the end – that's exactly what we need in simracing. It took me a while to reach the 'finalist mode'. In the end, Marcell Csincsik deserved to win and I'm happy for him. I tried to get everything out of the car. The title would have been nice, but I'm very happy."
Spring Major Finale Munich (D), drivers’ standings
1. Marcell Csincsik, Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II (H, R8G Esports)
2. Luke Bennett, BMW M4 GT3 (UK, Team Redline)
3. Joshua Rogers, Porsche 911 GT3 R (AUS, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing)
4. James Baldwin, AMG GT3 Evo (UK, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team)
17. Mitchell deJong, Porsche 911 GT3 R (USA, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing)
24. Mack Bakkum (NL, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing)
1. Team Redline
2. R8G Esports
3. Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team