Slipstream thriller at Le Mans: Sebastian Job new series leader

Sebastian Job is the big winner at round four of ten of this season’s Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. After claiming second in the sprint race and third in the main race at the virtual Circuit de la Sarthe of Le Mans, the British sim racer from the Red Bull Racing Esports squad now leads the standings of the global esports championship.

Race

His compatriot Kevin Ellis jr. (Apex Racing UK) won the sprint race on the iRacing simulation platform, with Germany’s Maximilian Benecke (Redline) clinching victory at the main race after a tactical masterstroke at the wheel of the digital Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. However, until iRacing has checked all race results, they should be regarded as preliminary.

The 15-minute sprint was characterised by many changes at the lead and a surprising outcome. Sindre Setsaas from Norway (CoRe Simracing) initially took the lead but came under pressure from Ellis and the Spaniard Alejandro Sánchez (MSI eSports). After leaving the track in lap four, Setsaas fell down the field, which opened the door for the VRS Coanda driver Joshua Rogers to move into position one ahead of Ellis and Sánchez. A collision with Ellis at “Arnage” relegated the Australian to fifth, however with a renewed charge and an outstanding overtaking manoeuvre, he reclaimed his spot at the head of the field: Rogers saw a gap between Sanchez and Ellis and squeezed through. At that point it looked like a sure victory for the 20-year-old, however – like many other participants – he had to make a pit stop shortly before the flag. This allowed Ellis to take the lead and go on to win ahead of Sebastian Job and his compatriot Jamie Fluke (Apex Racing UK).

Ellis took up the 30-minute main race from pole position ahead of Job, Fluke, the Frenchman Johann Harth (Apex Racing UK) and Jeff Giassi from Brazil (Positive SimRacing). On the long straights of the 13.626-kilometre circuit, on which the 24 Hour of Le Mans is also contested, a gripping slipstream thriller unfolded: Ellis and Job swapped places at the lead until Ellis braked too late for the Mulsanne corner in lap five and forced Fluke to veer wide. This allowed Harth and Benecke (Redline) – who had started from tenth – to move into second and third place behind Job. Over the last three laps, the trio was locked in a battle for victory. Benecke made a clever tactical decision to hold off until the final lap before his final attack and braked later than Harth at the Indianapolis corner to snatch the lead, which he then defended against a counterattack through the Porsche curves. For the German, it was the third race win of the season after his dominant performance at Barcelona.

911 GT3 Cup, Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, 4th race day, Circuit de la Sarthe/Frankreich, 2020, Porsche AG
Kevin Ellis jr. took up the main race from pole position

Title defender Rogers emerged from the afternoon empty-handed and slipped back to third place in the intermediate rankings. He had travelled to round four of the season as the series leader. With 217 points to his credit, Sebastian Job moved up to first place in the points table, followed by Maximilian Benecke (193) on position two. Next up on the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup calendar is the Nürburgring-Nordschleife race on 4 July. Including the Grand Prix circuit, the legendary 25.9-kilometre rollercoaster racetrack poses one of the most difficult challenges in circuit racing.

Comments after the race

Max Benecke (Redline): “Tenth at the first race put me in a good position for the main race. Our car handled very well in the Porsche curves. I knew if I could take the lead after the Indianapolis turn on the last lap I had a chance of winning. But braking for this curve is particularly tricky: in the slipstream, you’re easily five km/h faster than usual. I’m thrilled about this success. I hadn’t expected to do so well. A perfect result in the battle for the championship.”

Yohann Harth (Apex Racing UK): “The key to this result was the enormous slipstream that made the difference here at Le Mans. Without it, I’d never had made it so far up the field. Le Mans is not exactly one of my favourite circuits, but, of course, I’m pleased to have scored my best result so far.”

Sebastian Job (Red Bull Racing Esports): “My day was pretty good. After the practice sessions, I realised that we’d see a lot of duels and accidents here at Le Mans. So I took a relaxed approach and avoided any skirmishes. That worked brilliantly. My main priority today wasn’t to win, but to focus on the championship.”

Result (preliminary)

Le Mans (Circuit de la Sarthe), sprint race
1. Kevin Ellis jr. (GB/Apex Racing UK)
2. Sebastian Job (GB/Red Bull Racing Esport)
3. Jamie Fluke (GB/Apex Racing UK)
4. Yohann Harth (F/Apex Racing UK)
5. Jeff Giassi (BR/Positive SimRacing)

Le Mans (Circuit de la Sarthe), main race
1. Maximilian Beneke (D/Redline)
2. Yohann Harth (F/Apex Racing UK)
3. Sebastian Job (GB/Red Bull Racing Esport)
4. Mitchell DeJong (USA/VRS Coanda Simsport)
5. Jarrad Filsell (AUS/Apex Racing Team)

Points standings after 4 of 10 events
1. Sebastian Job (GB/Red Bull Racing Esport), 217 points
2. Maximilian Beneke (D/Redline), 193 points
3. Joshua Rogers (AUS/VRS Coanda Simsport), 161 points

Preview

One of the most revered racetracks in the world will host the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup on Saturday, 20 June: The 13.626-kilometre Circuit de la Sarthe, where the 24 Hours of Le Mans is also contested, is the venue for the fourth of ten races of the global Esports Championship run on the iRacing simulation platform. After recently winning both the sprint and main races at Donington, Great Britain, Sebastian Job from the Red Bull Racing Esports squad has narrowed the gap to the championship leader Joshua Rogers (AUS/VRS Coanda Simsport). The British racer lies just six points behind the title defender, who has 161 points to his credit. Rogers’ teammate Tommy Østgaard from Norway ranks third with 135 points. Maximilian Benecke is also within striking distance of the leader: Driving for Porsche24 Driven by Redline, the German has so far earned 132 points. Four Frenchmen – Thibault Cazaubon (R8G Esports), Jeremy Bouteloup (VRS Coanda Simsport) Yohann Harth and Antoine Higelin from Apex Racing – look forward to racing on virtual home turf this weekend.

Info

At the Circuit de la Sarthe, sim racers will contest a 15-minute sprint race and a 30-minute main race. Round four of the season also includes a free practice, a qualifying session and a warm-up. Fans can watch the event live on the Porsche YouTube channel and Twitch. iRacing also streams the races on these video platforms. Further information on the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup can be found on the Porsche Motorsport Hub, Porsche Newsroom and the Twitter account @PorscheRaces.

The programme (20 June)

3:45 to 4:03pm: Free practice

4:03 to 4:15pm: Qualifying

4:17 to 4:32pm: Sprint race

4:34 to 4:44pm: Warm-up

4:45 to 5:15pm: Main race

(All times CEST)

Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, 2020, Porsche AG

The 2020 “Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup” schedule

Event

Date

Racetrack

Round 1

2 May 2020

Circuit Zandvoort

Round 2

9 May 2020

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Round 3

23 May 2020

Donington Park Circuit

Round 4

20 June 2020

Circuit de la Sarthe

Round 5

4 July 2020

Nürburgring Nordschleife

Round 6

18 July 2020

Silverstone Circuit

Round 7

1 August 2020

Road Atlanta

Round 8

15 August 2020

Brands Hatch Circuit

Round 9

29 August 2020

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Round 10

19 September 2020

Autodromo Nazionale Monza


 

Info

Further information can be found on the Porsche Motorsports Hub.

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