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Porsche 911 GT3 R, Esports ESL R1, Spa-Francorchamps

7/7/2024

Rogers tops ESL R1 drivers’ standings ahead of August finals at Esports World Cup

Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team driver Joshua Rogers topped the ESL R1 drivers’ championship standings after the first three rounds to secure his place in the finals in August.

The Australian, who took the title in last year's running of the Esports championship, took three finals wins to lead the way ahead of the Esports World Cup in Riyadh, where the final stages of this season ESL R1 will take place.

Charlie Collins, Dayne Warren and Mitchell deJong will join Rogers on the flight, but are not yet guaranteed a place in the finals, with only the top 9 drivers out of 48 having automatically made the finals.

Instead they’ll have to progress through the second chance qualifiers, vying for one of the remaining three places in the finals. They will have to finish on the podium in the sole second chance qualifying race in order to join Rogers in the final.

Both the second chance qualifiers and the drivers’ championship final will take place in Riyadh on August 22.
Porsche 911 GT3 R, Esports ESL R1, Hockenheim, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team
It was a strong start for the four Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team drivers at Hockenheim

Round 1: Hockenheim

It was a strong start for the four Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team drivers, as three made it out of their knockouts and into the semi-finals. The unfortunate exception was Warren, who retired whilst leading his knockout race due to a connection issue.

Rogers and Collins were both in the first semi-final and qualified well as they started the race from third and fourth respectively.

A better getaway and the favourable outside line into the sweeping Turn 1 put Collins ahead of his team-mate, a position he held as kept hold of as Rogers came under pressure from Marcell Csincsik at the heavy braking zone into Turn 4. The Team Vitality driver made the move stick to split the two team-mates.

Both Rogers and Collins maintained position until the chequered flag to make it through to the final, before a post-race time penalty for Red Bull Esports’ Sebastian Job due to him jumping the start promoted Rogers and Collins a position each.

Sadly, deJong missed out on the all important top six finishers and his time at Hockenheim came to an early end.
Hockenheimring track map
Hockenheimring track map
The final was a mixed affair for the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team, but for Rogers it couldn’t have gone any better as he started the race from pole position, while Collins lined up on the fourth row in seventh place.

Rogers had a near-race long battle with long-time rival Job, who was runner up to Rogers in last year’s ESL R1 fall season. 

Despite numerous attempts to get past from the Red Bull Esports driver, Rogers was able to hold on and win the opening round of the drivers’ championship online qualifiers.

By contrast Collins had a more chaotic start as he got caught in between two MOUZ drivers of Möritz Lohner and Maximilian Benecke. That coming together hampered his start and meant Collins finished the first lap in 10th place. In the remaining nine laps Collins recovered by one position to finish in ninth.

In spite of that, strong results in the knockout and semi-finals meant both Rogers and Collins were inside the top nine in the overall points standings after the first round. DeJong was also in position to make the second chance qualifiers and Warren had every chance to make it as well after only a technical issue hampered his impressive early pace.
Porsche 911 GT3 R, Esports ESL R1, Road Atlanta, Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team
Rogers took a second win to top the standings after the Road Atlanta round

Round 2: Road Atlanta

A change in circuit produced some more chaotic and incident filled racing, but it was an even stronger showing for the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team at Road Atlanta.

In their knockout stage races Rogers finished third, Collins second and Warren secured an overdue race win. It wasn’t quite a clean sweep for the team though, as deJong was caught up involved in an incident which caused him to spin and drop out of any further running with an 11th place result. 

The semi-final phase saw another strong showing for the three remaining drivers, despite an unnerving moment in the first semi-final where Rogers rode the kerb at Turn 3 too aggressively, briefly lost control and had to cut across the grass. That dropped him down from his starting position of second to sixth. The defending champion quickly got back ahead of BS+COMPETITION’s Caique Oliveira to take fifth, which took him through to the final. 

Collins had a much calmer and more successful run in the same race as he crossed the finish line in third.

In semi-final two, Dayne Warren demonstrated just how important keeping a clean race was, as he ended up qualifying for the final even after starting the race from last place. He was able to benefit from three separate incidents ahead of him, landing the final spot in the all-important top six.
Road Atlanta track map
Road Atlanta track map
In the final, Collins and Rogers lined up seventh and fourth respectively, with Warren at the back of the pack after a mistake in qualifying.

An exceptional start for Rogers saw him carry great speed off the line, taking advantage of the space that opened up on the middle of the track to up to second at Turn 1. Ahead lay only Jiri Toman, and a slipstream aided move into the Turns 10A and 10B chicane gave Rogers the race lead and eventual win.

Behind him, it was an unlucky run for Collins who worked his way up to fifth but was taken out by Bonito spinning when he and Dáire McCormack came together just in front of the Porsche driver.

Warren benefitted from his team-mate’s misfortune to finish seventh, with Collins coming home in 11th, but still scoring some vital additional points in the drivers’ standings.

After two rounds, Rogers topped the points table on 117 points, four clear of his closest rival Kevin Ellis Jr. 

Collins was still in the automatic qualifying places in eighth whilst Warren had recovered from his round one disconnection to be sat in the second chance qualifiers places. DeJong was sat 23rd in the table, only two positions away from earning his place in Riyadh with one online qualifiers round to go.
Porsche 911 GT3 R, Esports ESL R1, Spa-Francorchamps
The third and final round took place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Round 3: Spa-Francorchamps

The third and final round was all-important for each of Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team’s drivers as they looked to secure their place in Riyadh for the finals.

Once again, the team narrowly missed out on a clean sweep of drivers progressing through to the semi-final stage. Rogers went through after taking pole position and finishing third in his knockout races, while team-mates Warren and deJong also made the semi-finals after placing second and fifth respectively.

Collins showed resilience in Spa, managing to qualify ninth despite some early challenges and being the only driver knocked out.

That put him in a vulnerable position at the start of the race as those in the bottom half jostled to secure a place in the top six and make the semi-finals. Ultimately it was contact with FaZe Clan’s Ulas Ozyildirim at the exit of Les Combes that sent Collins spinning out and ruling him out of contention for a spot in the next round.

Rogers was the sole Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team driver in the first semi-final, and reinforced his place at the top of the standings with a race win.

It was a much more mixed affair in the second semi-final, as deJong started from pole position whilst Warren lined up in seventh, just one position away from what’s needed to land a spot in the final.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps track map
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps track map
However both drivers dropped two positions by the end of the first lap. Warren even lost another place on the second lap, which he later recovered. The pair finished two spots down on where they started, which was enough for deJong to make the final but saw Warren bow out.

Such is how close the competition was in the final, less than three tenths of a second separated first from last in qualifying, and unfortunately it was deJong at the backend of that tightly fought session. By contrast Rogers had a much more successful run as he started the race in fourth.

The start could not have gone better for Rogers, as the defending champion passed Kevin Siggy for third around the outside of La Source, and then down the Kemmel Straight slipstreamed past Maximilian Benecke and pole-starter Dáire McCormack to take the lead of the race.

The front three traded places throughout the race but ultimately it came down to a final lap battle at the bus stop chicane. Rogers, from second place, went to the outside on entry and got a better exit than both McCormack and Benecke to win the final.

It was a much more muted race for deJong although the American benefited from incidents up ahead to cross the line in eighth place.
Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team driver Joshua Rogers
Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team driver Joshua Rogers led the drivers’ standings after three rounds

What happens next?

Three finals wins for Joshua Rogers meant he topped the online qualifiers standings and guaranteed his place in the finals held in Riyadh in August.

Collins, Warren and deJong will have to progress through the second chance qualifiers and finish on the podium in the sole second chance qualifying race in order to join Rogers in the final.

After the second chance qualifiers and the drivers’ championship final on August 22, the following three days will contain the group stages and finals of the teams’ championship.

Joshua Rogers and Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team will be looking to reclaim their ESL R1 titles and take home the largest share of the $500,000 prize pool.

All four days of action will be broadcast on the Porsche Twitch channel.
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