From now on, every point counts. Simply finish in the top 15 to secure your place in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup 2022. Which was demonstrated in round 4 of the Contender Series at the virtual Road Atlanta.
The heat is on!
Surprise in Qualifying.
For the first few laps, spectators were puzzled: where was Gianni Vecchio? The table leader had failed to reappear on the track as expected. But turned up again later on the live stream chat, saying that Road Atlanta isn't his preferred circuit and he was using the time to recharge his batteries. Because all he has to do is finish in the top 15. Which certainly isn't in doubt at present. Meanwhile, the lap times achieved by Moreno Sirica, Quentiin Vialatte and Peter Berryman reveal the extent of their ambitions.
Collisions and chaos.
They began the race in first, second and third place. Sirica and Vialatte in particular appeared to match the speed from qualifying as part of a small group that left the rest of the field behind. Which was lucky for them, because there was a chain reaction in the middle of the field during the first few bends. Dozens of cars collided with each other, knocking their fellow favourites out of the race. So it was no surprise that it was left to the leading group, including Sirica and Vialatte, to provide spectators with plenty of excitement for the remainder of the race. And these two drivers exceeded expectations. Battle lines were drawn and they defended their positions, without giving an inch. Shortly before the end of the race, Vialatte forged ahead. It looked like he'd activated the afterburner and was first to cross the finish line. Followed by Sirica and Berryman.
Defending their positions.
This pattern continued in the main race. Collisions on bend 1 – although not as serious as in the sprint race – split the field into several groups. In the lead: Webster and Williams. Once again, these two drivers used every inch of the track, simply waiting for the other to make a mistake. This occurred further back, however, with positions constantly changing in the middle of the field. Drivers who were unable to withstand the pressure, left the track, lost their grip or even sliced a chicane, as was the fate of Bobby Zalenski who is currently ranked 15th. This resulted in a corresponding time penalty. While at the front of the field, Webster displayed nerves of steel, opening up a three-second lead over Williams – almost an eternity on a circuit like this – thereby clinching a well-deserved victory.
The skirmishes on the track and the intensity of the race show that everything is now at stake – for every driver. So the next race at the Long Beach Street Circuit on 23 October will undoubtedly be thrilling. As always, this will be streamed live at 19.00 (UTC) on Twitch.