Two weeks after the opening round, the second event of the PESC season 2023 took place on February 18th. It was the first time Magny-Cours in France played host to the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. The challenging circuit near Nevers would present a new challenge to be mastered for all 30 series participants.
PESC 2023: Campbell and Collins win in Magny-Cours
Flag-to-Flag Victory for Zac Campell in the Sprint Race
The first piece of clarity would present itself after the two-stage qualifying session. Hockenheim main race winner Zac Campbell secured his first TAG Heuer Pole Position Award at the 4.411 km long former Formula 1 venue. The incredibly high level of competition was also once again put on display with 2020 series champion Sebastian Job missed out on the fastest time by just five thousandths of a second. Diogo C. Pinto started from third place on the grid for the ten lap long sprint race.
Unlike during the first event, the pole sitter would go on to keep his lead for more than just a few corners. Job and Pinto would also navigate the Adelaide hairpin without issues on their first pass through the turn, even if the latter would be attacked by and lose his place to Jordan Caruso. Things looked somewhat different behind them though, as Spaniard Alejandro Sánchez missed his braking point and cause a collision that ultimately involved a quartett of cars, even if he himself didn’t lose any positions or time from it.
There were also issues in the lead pack at the end of the third lap, when Sebastian Job cut the kerbs in the final chicane too much in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and was consequently forced to lift off the throttle. This led to him having to let both his teammate Cooper Webster as well as reigning champion Diogo C. Pinto passed him, dropping Job himself down to fourth. Despite the fact that Webster was able to stay with Zac Campbell until the very end of the race, the 21 year old American was still able to secure the sprint race win, ahead of Webster, Pinto and Job. In eight place was Charlie Collins, who thanks to this result secured the best position on the grid for the twenty lap long main race.
Charlie Collins dominates the Main Race
Like Campbell before him, Collins was able to get good traction off the line and stay at the head of the field ahead of Tuomas Tähtelä. Behind them, there once again were issues on the entry to the Adelaide hairpin, this time kicked off by a mistake from Yohann Harth, though with a higher number of casualties than in the previous race. Among them: Sprint race winner Zac Campbell who was forced to pit for repairs. Before all of that happened, Italian Alessandro Bico was already forced off the circuit after he made contact with Bobby Zalenski on the entry to the Estoril corner.
At half distance, Tähtelä was forced to vacate his runner-up position. First Sebastian Job overtook him on the exit of the hairpin, then a few corners later Diogo C. Pinto followed through after the Nürburgring chicane on the same lap. Not long after the pole sitter from the season opener, Jordan Caruso and Cooper Webster would also leave the Finn behind. The fight for second position wasn't decided until the final lap of the race when Diogo C. Pinto passed Job with a surprise maneuver. Due to the contact that occurred between the both of them, Caruso also slipped by Job, who finished the race in fourth position.
In the lead of the race and undeterred by all of this, Charlie Collins drove towards a dominant main race victory. Due to overtaking proving to be difficult throughout the day of the race, twelfth-placed Maximilian Benecke and Kevin Nielsen in thirteenth also deserve a mention, as both had to start the main race from twenty-seventh and twenty-ninth respectively after being involved in accidents during the sprint race.
Laurin Heinrich and Casey Kirwan are the All-Star Winners
As per usual, the two sprints of the All-Star Series took place before the races of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. In addition the content creators, Porsche works driver Laurens Vanthoor and reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland champion Laurin Heinrich joined the grid at Magny-Cours. For the second time, the car of choice was the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Laurin Heinrich immediately put his real live and virtual motorsport experience in said car to use by securing the top spot on the starting grid ahead of Casey Kirwan. That top spot would turn out to be a position he would not give up throughout the entire 17 minute duration of the sprint race as he scored a commanding race victory. Behind him, Casey Kirwan would be passed by Emily “Emree” Jones and even Borja Zazo for a short while, but was able to get back ahead of both of them by the end of lap six.
Thanks to the fully inverted starting grid for the 27 minute long main race, IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan got the chance to start from the pole and to lead the race for a while. Despite all the difficult passing situation, which also affected the drivers of the All-Star Series, Casey Kirwan managed to take the race lead from Kanaan by the half-way mark despite having to start from fourteenth position. Kirwan would also not relinquish the lead until the checkered flag and would go on to win the race. In second place behind him was Oliver “BasicOllie” Furnell, who managed to come out on top in a battle with Tony Kanaan and was also not be negatively affected by the chaos in the Adelaide hairpin on the final lap of the race.
Magny-Cours, sprint race
1. Zac Campbell (USA/VRS Coanda)
2. Cooper Webster (AUS/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports)
3. Diogo C. Pinto (P/Team Redline)
4. Sebastian Job (UK/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports)
5. Oscar Mangan (I/Altus Esports)
Magny-Cours, feature race
1. Charlie Collins (UK/VRS Coanda)
2. Diogo C. Pinto (P/Team Redline)
3. Jordan Caruso (AUS/Altus Esports)
4. Sebastian Job (UK/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports)
5. Cooper Webster (AUS/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports)
Overall standings after the second of 10 rounds
1. Diogo C. Pinto (P/Team Redline), 138 points
2. Charlie Collins (UK/VRS Coanda), 136 points
3. Jordan Caruso (AUS/Altus Esports), 122 points
4. Zac Campbell (USA/VRS Coanda), 100 points
5. Sebastian Job (UK/Oracle Redbull Racing Esports), 87 points
Next Up: Long Beach
Following a vote by the community, the next event of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup will take place in Long Beach. With its concrete barriers right next to the circuit and its many tight and twisty corner sequences, the long-standing street circuit in the heart of the Californian port city is absolutely unforgiving. A high starting position and clean driving will be the key to success here. How new championship leader Diogo C. Pinto and the remainder of the PESC field will tackle this new challenge will be revealed on March 4th at 19:00 GMT. That’s when the live coverage for the third round of the season starts. Before the racing gets under way, the content creators will have their turn as part of the All-Star Series at 18:00 GMT.