The final for Season 2 of the V10 R-League is here!
Six weeks of fast paced and action packed racing has come down to this; 10 teams whittled down to two, with Aston Martin and BMW going head-to-head to decide the title.
Aston Martin have impressed all season long but really stood out last time out in the semi-final, where they came from 2-0 down to get past McLaren Shadow.
Highly-rated BMW have also wowed viewers, with lead driver Kevin Siggy considered one of the best around. Their win in the semi-final against Season 1 champs Redline has also raised some eyebrows, and they’ll be tough opponents in the final.
Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team: Daniele Haddad, Lucas Blakeley, Shanaka Clay
BMW Sim Racing Team: Kevin Siggy, Michael Romanidis, Alen Terzic
The first relay race of the final got going at Silverstone with Daniele Haddad starting alongside BMW’s Siggy.
The two drivers were side-by-side as they battled through the Abbey and Farm corners, and there was nothing to separate them heading into Luffield. Getting his elbows out, Haddad was able to muscle past Siggy into the exit and onto Woodcote, and keep his lead at the start of Lap 1.
As Haddad pitted to swap places with Lucas Blakeley, Siggy carried on into Lap 2. The speedy Slovenian used the clean air to gain as much time as he could on the Aston Martins, before he switched with his teammate Michael Romanidis.
Blakeley did Laps 2 and 3 for Aston Martin, but his work over the two laps was undone as he left the pitlane too early - picking up a time penalty for his team in the process.
With that penalty looming, Shanaka Clay was under huge pressure to extend Aston’s lead over BMW. But with Alen Terzic tight on his tail, they crossed the finish line with just over a second between them - ultimately giving Terzic and BMW the early point.
Having made the mistake in the relay race, Aston Martin entered the Silverstone team race determined to make amends.
But it started with Siggy and Romanidis leading from the front for BMW, with Blakeley in pursuit. There was drama to come, as Blakeley ran wide followed by an incident between Clay and Haddad through Aintree. The woes continued for Aston Martin, as Haddad was hit from behind by Terzic - sending them both off the track.
As the pack calmed down following the first lap chaos, it was BMW pulling ahead with Siggy in the lead. By Lap 3, nearly two seconds separated him from the closest chasing Aston Martin of 3rd-place Clay.
Despite matching the lap times of Siggy, Clay couldn't catch the BMWs as they came home to finish one-two. Blakeley, Terzic and Haddad brought up the rear, although Terzic was later given a time penalty.
All hope was not lost for Aston Martin, although they knew they couldn't afford any more slip ups in the last two races at Yas Marina.
Much like in Silverstone, the relay race kicked off between Haddad and Siggy, with Siggy racing ahead into turn one. As expected, Haddad pitting for Blakeley at the end of Lap 1.
Siggy carried on into Lap 2 before swapping with Romanidis, and by Lap 3 it was Romanidis versus Blakeley. With just half a second between them as they entered the final round of stops, it was all to play for on the last lap.
The pressure mounting, Clay needed to use all of his skill to catch up to Terzic’s BMW. But despite keeping close to the back of the Slovenian throughout the final lap, Clay could do nothing to overtake.
But, as always in the R-League, there was more drama to come. Following the race, the stewards handed BMW a five second penalty because one of their cars exceeded track limits. This put the R-League title back in the balance, as Aston Martin took the relay race win.
The score was 2-1 to BMW heading into the final showdown in Yas Marina between Aston Martin and BMW.
Siggy was leading Haddad and Blakeley into turn one, but while he stormed ahead unchallenged, it all went wrong for the Aston Martin duo behind him. Clipping one another as they rounded the bend, Haddad and Blakeley rejoined at the back of the pack. Aston Martin’s hopes now rested with Clay in 3rd place.
Aston’s luck began to change on Lap 2 as Terzic ran wide on a corner, allowing Clay to overtake. This then put Terzic under pressure from Haddad in 4th place, who was able to pass midway through Lap 3. His confidence shot, Terzic allowed Romanidis through as well, while Aston Martin began to chase down Siggy.
By Lap 4, it was clear that Clay was beginning to catch the leader. The Brit had cut the BMW driver’s advantage down to less than a second, and he was still gaining. Further back, Romanidis and Terzic were in the middle of a thrilling clash for 4th spot.
Clay gained even more time as the pack entered the final lap of the final race of Season 2. It was nail-biting stuff, with mere tenths of a second separating the two cars went through the final bends. Clay was clearly in the faster car, and Siggy was forced to drive defensively.
But as they rounded the final corner, Siggy slowed, turned into the corner deeply to remove any threat of an overtake, and crossed the line to finally claim the championship for BMW!
Despite the two teams drawing the final team race on accumulated points (thanks to Romanidis later receiving a time penalty), BMW were still able to win 2-1 overall.
As ever, BMW made things difficult for themselves here by sealing the victory by the smallest margins in the final race. It really had been a roller coaster ride for them throughout Season 2!
Aston Martin, though defeated here, could hold their heads up with pride after their performances throughout the campaign. Sadly for them, Blakeley - their star driver - was taken out in both team races, meaning it's a case of what could've been for the British side.