At the Major Final in the spring series, he had to settle for second place. Now, Joshua Rogers has taken revenge: The Australian won the two-day LAN final in Jönköping, Sweden, at the helm of the Porsche Coanda Esports works team’s virtual 911 GT3 R. To achieve this, Rogers had to win the ninth race of the final day at the “Dreamhack” public event. Prior to this, he had already netted four victories.
“It feels great to have Joshua Rogers win the championship for the Porsche Coanda works team at the finale here in Jönköping,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Sim racing is a new world for me, but it’s just as exciting as real-life motorsport. I’m hugely impressed by this fantastic event – this is a high-performance sport. The team put in a brilliant performance over the season and has been rightfully rewarded with the championship at the end. I can only congratulate them. Esports is like our youngest baby. After this success, I’m looking forward to our future together.”
The “Dreamhack” final in Jönköping got off to a difficult start for the three Porsche Coanda Esports factory drivers. Neither the two Australians Joshua Rogers and Dayne Warren, nor the American Mitchell deJong managed more than a sixth-place finish in their group stage heats. As Rogers had travelled to Sweden with a secure points cushion as runner-up in the ESL R1 fall series, his ticket to the final round was punched despite the setback of a cold. Warren fought his way to third place at the digital Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in his fourth and final race – and thus also made it through. DeJong was denied a place in the final.
On the second day of the Fall Major Final, the remaining twelve participants from eight teams practically started from scratch with four vehicle models. To win the championship, they first had to earn more than 160 points to unlock the so-called “finalist mode”. Only then could they be crowned champion by winning a race. The momentum of the first day gave Sebastian Job a distinct upper hand: The Englishman – clearly the dominant driver in the group stage – went into the final day with 100 points. Rogers started fifth with 64 points, Warren with 50.
On day two, the Porsche Coanda Esports works team looked like a brand new team. The first race immediately turned into a nail-biter. Joshua Rogers started from fourth place and worked his way up to the top at the Circuit de Spa. He then made light work of the third race at Hockenheim and the fifth at Road Atlanta. Warren shone with pole position and fifth place in Monza as well as two second-place finishes in Spa-Francorchamps. After the fifth race, Rogers took the lead in the standings for the first time with 143 points. However, the Australian fell back again with two weaker results.
In race seven, Daire McCormack (Williams Esports) was the first driver to reach the finalist mode – with a win, the Irishman could have clinched the championship. The Porsche Coanda works drivers fought back and brought home a one-two victory from the front row of the grid at the Circuit de Spa. Now, Rogers and Sebastian Job (G2 Esports) had also activated their finalist mode.
Spa-Francorchamps once again served as the virtual stage for the next race. Rogers left no questions unanswered about his title ambitions and promptly secured pole position. After the start, an intense duel broke out with the Czech Jiri Toman (R8G Esports). The lead changed several times between the two. Three laps before the finish, however, Rogers managed to make the decisive move and cross the finish line as the winner for the fifth time. The Australian was crowned champion of the ESL R1 Fall Major and thus received 40,000 Euros in prize money. His compatriot Dayne Warren finished the race in eighth place and tenth position in the overall standings.
Impressions following the Fall Major Finale
Nina Braack (Manager of Esports at Porsche Motorsport): “Congratulations to Joshua Rogers and the whole team. They put in a mega performance today after things didn’t quite go so smoothly yesterday. Together with Dayne Warren, Joshua fought his way to the front. Thanks to fantastic teamwork, he was in finalist mode in the decisive race. We delivered a strong performance in the latter half of the year and we’re thrilled to be ending the season on a high.”
Jörn Jens (Team Manager Porsche Coanda Esports Racing): “Yesterday was a rather difficult day for us. I didn’t think Josh would be able to make such a phenomenal comeback, close the gap and fight for the championship. He got off to a very strong start in the first race today. After that, it was a bit of a rollercoaster, but in the end, he consistently delivered strong results and clinched the title. Joshua and Dayne Warren talked to each other a lot during the races. That goes to show how great the atmosphere is in the team.”
Joshua Rogers (AUS, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing): “I felt extremely well prepared coming into this event. Unfortunately, I caught a cold, so the group stage yesterday didn’t quite go to plan. Five wins in nine races sounds good, but I didn’t score any points in two of the other races. Dayne Warren and I worked together closely for the double victory in the penultimate race. The final was thus decisive and a huge relief. Now, we’ll celebrate properly. I’m immensely proud of the whole team!”
Fall Major Finale Jönköping (S), event result
1. Joshua Rogers, Porsche 911 GT3 R (AUS, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing)
2. Sebastian Job, BMW M4 GT3 (UK, G2 Esports)
3. Daire McCormack, Mercedes-AMG GT3 (IRL, Williams Esports)
4. Maximilian Benecke, Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II (D, MOUZ)
5. Marcell Csincsik, Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II (H, R8G Esports)
6. Kevin Siggy, BMW M4 GT3 (SLO, Team Redline)
10. Dayne Warren, Porsche 911 GT3 R (AUS, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing)