WORDS: Lachlan Mansell
The historic Silverstone circuit in the UK is the venue for Round 8 of the ARG eSports Cup tonight, with competitors slotting into Dallara F3 open-wheelers after spending last week in the Audi RS3 TCR machines.
With three rounds remaining, the championship picture is starting to become clear, but with the contrasting fortunes for the key contenders in recent rounds, there are still up to five drivers who could be described as chances for the title.
At the top of the table, Harley Haber holds a 10-point advantage over Jaden Ransley; while Haber has shown impressive speed in recent rounds, he has been on the receiving end of the wrath of the stewards for two weeks in a row, the stewards slapping him with post-event points penalties.
Ransley has gradually crept closer and closer to the front of the points table and encouragingly, he has demonstrated strong form in previous outings in the Dallara F3 car, so he will be a contender this evening.
Third-placed Dylan O’Keeffe has been the victim of incidents in the reverse-grid races in the last few rounds, which have seen him lose ground to the two leaders. O’Keeffe is now 34 points away from the championship lead, and another concerning statistic is the fact he’s yet to actually win a race. O’Keeffe’s race pace has been decent but he needs to qualify better.
Conversely, Ash Sutton (fourth in the points) has taken some dominant victories this season but has also been involved in some costly incidents and like Haber, he has been stung by officialdom on a couple of occasions. At 56 points off the lead, Sutton needs not only more race wins, but also some poor results for those ahead of him on the leaderboard.
The same could be said for Nathan Herne, who is just behind Sutton in the standings after a miserable previous round at Oran Park.
Wildcard entry for Heimgartner
Andre Heimgartner will make his debut in the ARG eSports Cup, driving a Dallara Formula 3 car.
The Supercars regular and former TCR Australia driver will sport the colours of Australian whisky brand NED, who are his and Kelly Racing’s primary sponsor in the Supercars Championship.
The 24-year-old New Zealander started his career in open wheelers, racing Formula Fords in both his home country and in Australia, before switching to tin-top racing, including the New Zealand V8 SuperTourers, Super2 Supercars Series, Carrera Cup and ultimately, the Supercars Championship.
His only F3 racing in the real world came in 2013 when he competed in the Australian championship in a one-off round at Hidden Valley.
Heimgartner will be amongst a strong field of 44 cars, taking to the famous Silverstone Grand Prix layout.
The ARG eSports Cup will be available to live stream at 8pm AEST via the link below.