WORDS: Ryan Jones
Australia’s TAG Heuer Porsche eSports Supercup contenders endured a tough night in Round 6 of the series on Saturday at the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit.
With just four rounds remaining in the championship, drivers entered the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps knowing how crucial maximising their points haul was going to be as the pressure ramped up in the championship fight.
First blood was drawn in qualifying by series leader Sebastian Job as he ended the session fastest from rivals Joshua Rogers and Alejandro Sanchez. Filsell was able to put his Apex Racing Team car in 15th place, with Joshua Anderson 26th. Unfortunately, it was a case of ‘one of those days’ for Dayne Warren as the Australian internet curse bit the newly announced Coanda Simsport driver and he was unable to take part in the event, a massive hit in his quest to retain a top five place in the standings.
The 15 minute sprint race opened with a bang, as exiting the final corner Joshua Anderson found his Vendaval SimRacing Porsche facing backwards courtesy of contact from an ambitious Colak dive. Filsell was able to gain a spot early and from there on became locked in combat for a place just outside the top 10. Up the front, Rogers was leapfrogged by a fast-starting Sebastian Job who quickly rose back up to 3rd in the reverse top 8 race, while the Coanda man was left in 5th after the opening laps. With 2 laps remaining Job pulled the trigger to take the race lead, a move which appeared to further incentivise Rogers in his battle with Benecke for 3rd place. By the time the chequered flag flew though, Rogers had to settle for 4th while Filsell finished 12th and Anderson 26th.
With the series leader maximising his points haul in qualifying and race 1, the pressure was on Rogers to claw ground back in the 30-minute feature race. All three Australian competitors maintained their spots on lap one as drivers settled in for the race on a track where overtaking opportunities were frequent thanks to the circuit’s long straights. Jarrad Filsell was collected from behind entering the final chicane on lap three, resulting in slight damage and a chain reaction which left Red Bull’s Tuomas Tahtela on his roof. With 20 minutes remaining, the action became too close to call between Rogers and Sanchez as they appeared to touch which sent Sanchez into a half spin and elevated the Aussie into third behind race 1 rival Maximillian Benecke.
As the race drew nearer to a close, the top three were covered by just half a second with eight minutes left and the condensed gap offered up an opportunity for Rogers. He pulled the trigger at La Source, forcing Benecke wide before the pair ran wheel to wheel all the way until Raidillon where the driver from Redline finally conceded the place. However, in a moment of desperation Benecke divebombed the championship protagonist in a move that has since been widely condemned, the ensuing contact dropped Rogers to sixthwith major damage and Benecke to eighth.
By the time the chequered flag flew it was seventh for Rogers, with Filsell claiming 16th and Josh Anderson in 25th. Series leader Sebastian Job took maximum points from the round, as both Rogers and Sanchez saw their championship hopes take massive hits. Three rounds remain in the 2020 Porsche eSports Supercup with the cars next hitting the track at the Nordschleife on September 5th.
Porsche TAG Heuer eSports Supercup Points
1. Sebastian Job – 445
2. Josh Rogers – 400
3. Alejandro Sanchez – 389
4. Maximilian Benecke – 340
5. Kevin Ellis Jnr – 256
6. Dayne Warren – 246
7. Tommy Ostgaard – 237
8. Jeff Giassi – 228
9. Graham Carroll – 175
10. Mack Bakkum – 163
20. Josh Anderson – 82
23. Jarrad Filsell – 77