The moment the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team has been preparing for months was the all-deciding round 8 of the ESL R1 championship. This round’s result determines who will make it to the ESL R1 Spring Major in Munich and maintain their chance to fight for the drivers' championship or who will see his season end early. At the same time, the result already decides the team championship. Heading into the last online round, Porsche Coanda is third in the team standings. Joshua Rogers, who was P2 in the driver's standings after seven rounds, already claimed a spot in the Spring Major before heading into round 8. His teammates, Mitchell deJong (P19), Mack Bakkum (P20), and Dayne Warren (P25), though, saw themselves in an all-in situation during Friday’s quarter-finals. Mitchell deJong and Joshua Rogers proceeded to the semi-finals. Mack Bakkum and Dayne Warren missed the Monday action and couldn’t actively race for the points. On Monday, Joshua Rogers and Mitchell deJong managed to get to the final, finishing on P9 and P12 to secure third place in the team's championship. At the same time, Mack Bakkum got P24 and the ticket to the ESL R1 Spring Major in a true thriller.
A rollercoaster of emotions – the quarter-finals.
The qualifying for quarter-final 1 was particularly close: Dayne Warren qualified on P4 with a time that would have put him on P1 or P2 in any other quarter-final. Dayne Warren had a great launch defending his top 6 position at the start. But all hopes were destroyed in the hairpin: a competitor turned Dayne Warren's car, and when he was back on track, he was last with a couple of seconds to catch up. An early end to his dreams on lap 1. His pace was good enough to catch two more cars, but P10 meant the end of Dayne Warren's race day. Mitchell deJong qualified P7. Thanks to a spectacular overtake on his former Coanda teammate Oskar Biksrud from Heroic, he finished the race on P6. His teammate Joshua Rogers followed him into the semi-finals on Monday with a fourth place in qualifying and a P3 podium finish. For Mack Bakkum, though, the race day did not start in the best way: due to a penalty from the last round, he was not allowed to set a qualifying time. Starting in the twelfth position saw him facing the ultimate challenge. Ultimately, he finished on P8, thanks to several high-class manoeuvres.
A bittersweet final – the Monday action.
Mitchell deJong started the race day for the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team in semi-final 1. His fifth place was enough for the last online round's finale. Joshua Rogers made sure to follow him with another P5. But Mack Bakkum was also on the sidelines and was nervous about the final race since he still got the chance to proceed to the Spring Major. Due to different penalties and results, it was all down to the final position of Sebastian Job – the former Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion and reigning Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB champion. Joshua Rogers made sure to qualify ahead of the Briton in P5. Mitchell deJong’s lap was worth P11. Since both drivers were already safe for the Spring Majors, and the other 21 spots were also determined, it was all down to the duel of Sebastian Job and Mack Bakkum. You could tell his inner stress knowing he cannot participate but has to watch from the pitlane. Due to a false start and the following drive-through-penalty, Joshua Rogers had to give up his fifth place, and Sebastian Job went through. Luckily, the Briton did not catch up to the front and finished behind the fourth place that would have got him the ticket for Munich. In the end, Mitchell deJong finished on P9, and Joshua Rogers ended up on P12, yet scoring enough points to claim third place in the team's championship behind Team Redline and R8G Esports. An excellent result for the whole team.
The ESL R1 Spring Major will be on the 3rd and 4th of June.
After eight thrilling and nerve-wracking ESL R1 race days, the grid for the Spring Major at the beginning of June is set. Mitchell deJong, Mack Bakkum, and Joshua Rogers claimed their spot amongst the best 24 drivers and maintained their chance to fight for the drivers’ championship. On Saturday, 3rd June, the grid will be split into two groups competing in four races each. On Saturday evening, half of the grid will proceed to Sunday. The top 12 will face each other in an exciting race format to fight out the inaugural title of the ESL R1 championship. 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, and Facebook), the Porsche Twitch channel, the Porsche Motorsport Instagram channel, and the Porsche Motorsport Hub.