The penultimate online round of ESL R1 had a lot of points in store for the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team. The strong performances of Mack Bakkum, Mitchell deJong, Joshua Rogers, and Dayne Warren might have already set the tone for their participation at the Spring Major in early June in Munich. On Friday, the four Porsche Esports works drivers delivered an almost perfect run through the qualifyings and quarter-finals. Two race wins, and two times P3 made them all race on Monday's final day. The drivers stayed focused throughout the weekend and silenced all doubters on Monday. The Porsche Esports works team provided three finalists in Joshua Rogers, Mitchell deJong, and Dayne Warren. Joshua Rogers and Mitchell deJong lead the team to its first 1-2 finish in its still young history.
Almost perfect – Friday’s quarter-finals.
For the first time, the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team support drivers Zac Campbell and Charlie Collins held a watch party on the Porsche Twitch channel with the sim racing community. Their teammate Dayne Warren though, had to face the competition of the first quarter-final. Cool, flawless, without any mistakes. The young Australian secured his third quarter-final pole position in a row and converted this into another race win. Mitchell deJong, who had a challenging few races so far, shut down all doubts in style: pole position and race win. A truly remarkable performance that was followed by a deep breath. You could see the pressure falling off his shoulders after crossing the finish line and making it to Monday. The current overall P4 driver Joshua Rogers delivered once again. He managed to turn his fourth place in qualifying into a podium. Also, Mack Bakkum showed a great run on Friday evening: once again, he qualified his Porsche 911 GT3 R #16 on P3. After seven laps on the Belgian rollercoaster, he also crossed the finish line in P3. Two wins, two podiums – Friday's quarter-finals saw the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team with an almost perfect performance.
Three drivers in the finale – another race win for Joshua Rogers.
Dayne Warren and Mitchell deJong headed out for round 7 semi-final 1. The aim was clear: reach the top 6 and get to the finale. Both delivered an impressive performance: Dayne Warren achieved P2 in the qualifying and started the race from the front row. Directly behind his teammate sat Mitchell deJong in P4. Both Porsche 911 GT3 R racers had a brilliant start. Dayne Warren was able to attack P1 right away but held back to avoid a collision. At the end of the Kemmel straight, he was defenceless to the currently overall leading Luke Bennet, who overtook the Australian. P3 and P4, in the end, meant that both drivers got their spot on the final grid. Semi-final 2 saw Mack Bakkum and Joshua Rogers competing for the final race. The latter once again delivered the pole lap in qualifying. Mack Bakkum secured P8 on the starting grid – two spots behind the crucial sixth place. But it was Joshua Rogers who dominated the field from the start. He celebrated another race win and his spot in the final race of round 7. Though, Mack Bakkum couldn’t follow his teammate. He fought until the very last corner but finished in P7. Three Porsche Esports works drivers in the final race was a first for the team’s ESL R1 history. Joshua Rogers was once again unstoppable. He set the fastest qualifying lap and started from the pole position. Mitchell deJong qualified on P3 and started right behind his teammate. Dayne Warren was just 0.229 seconds slower than his compatriot, but this marginal difference meant the last starting position for the finale. Right at the start of the race, Joshua Rogers was able to defend his race lead from Team Redline’s Enzo Bonito. At the end of the straight, the fight between them opened a gap for Mitchell deJong, who went for it. Both Porsche Coanda Esports Racing drivers secured the 1-2 result. Dayne Warren benefitted from a collision at the start and gained 4 positions. P8 earned him crucial points for the championship and the Spring Major participation in Munich.
Two weeks to the nail-biting finale.
The sprint racing format doesn’t show any mercy. Neither does the season format: only those drivers who finish within the top 24 of the driver championship after round 8 will maintain their chance to fight for the overall victory at the ESL R1 Spring Major in Munich. After the next round, the team championship will also already be decided. The Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team currently sits in P3 with 504 points. For the drivers, the situation is as follows: Joshua Rogers P2 (235 points), Mitchell deJong P19 (99 points), Mack Bakkum P20 (89 points), and Dayne Warren P25 (81 points). The goal for the team still is to qualify with four drivers for the final weekend to fight for the driver’s championship. Round 8 will be a true nail-biter. The races will be held on Friday, 12th May and Monday, 15th May. Zac Campbell and Charlie Collins will again host a watch party on the Porsche Twitch channel for Friday’s quarter-finals, commenting with their insights. For all information and news about the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team and the new ESL R1 racing series, follow Coanda's social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), the Porsche Motorsport Instagram channel and the Porsche Motorsport Hub.