Porsche Coanda triumphs in Saudi-Arabia
This was a journey that spanned Gronau on the German-Dutch border all the way to ESL R1 at the Gamers8 festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And it was well worth the trip. After 4 days, 12 teams and 14 exciting races, it all led to an incredible victory in the team championship. Plus, a close run second in the driver championship for the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team – Joshua Rogers, Dayne Warren, Mitchell de Jong and Mack Bakkum.
Divided into two days of racing for the driver championship and two for the team championship outside of the regular ESL R1 seasons, the tournament set an impressive, grand stage for the sport of simracing in an extraordinary venue.
A good start finds a perfect finish: 2nd place in the driver championship, 1st place in the team championship
Facing teams such as Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Williams and simracing specialists like R8G Esports and Team Readline, the team knew from the beginning that the next four days would be no walk in the park. However, how high the benchmark really was remained to be seen in the first half of the tournament in the driver championship.
Despite their strong performances, Mack Bakkum and Mitchell de Jong were eliminated in the group stage, leaving the team with just two strong drivers in the competition, who showcased their skills to both the excited audience in Riyadh and streams worldwide.
Rogers and competitor Max Benecke (Team MOUZ) were able to enter Finalist Mode after just five races, with both drivers reaching the score required for a title shot in the very next race.
What followed was a thrilling race for victory in the sixth round, as Rogers secured pole position in qualifying and managed to do so while lapping a personal record time. Only when another driver pushed him off the track in the Nürburgring’s arena section was Benecke able to overtake him and cross the finish line first.
Rogers followed shortly after in second place, his team-mate Dayne Warren finishing strongly in P7.
Inspired by these initial successes the whole team dove headfirst into the second half of the event. United again, they prepared for an exciting fight for the team championship.
Just half of all competing teams made it to Sunday’s finale, among the finalists the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team. With three wins and two more podium positions on Saturday, the team proved themselves as more than worthy title contenders.
From defence right into attack mode
On their way to becoming team champions, the drivers scored many important points. However, it was Team Redline that cracked the 150-point mark first and activated Finalist Mode. Now, if any of the Redline drivers were to come in first in any of the races ahead, their team would win – a feat that need to be prevented by any means necessary.
Rogers raced neck-and-neck with Kevin Siggy from Redline and managed to hold his ground. Pushed aside into third place, Siggy could only watch as the Porsche Coanda Esports Racing Team were able to activate Finalist Mode.
From now on: All or nothing! In a showdown on the Ardennes rollercoaster that is Spa-Francorchamps, Rogers secured pole position in qualifying and his teammates helped him get a small, but impressive lead, quickly. He made it over the finish line 2.4 seconds faster than his next competitor, successfully defending his lead and claiming a well-deserved victory: Porsche Coanda – team champion at the Gamers8 ESL R1 Event.
What an extraordinary tournament – both for the team and the simracing scene as a whole. After showing what we’re made of, we simply can’t wait for the next half of the season.
Congratulations to the whole team.