The second event for the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship roared into life with a double-header at two of the most famous circuits in the world: Silverstone and Monza.
Red Bull Racing's Danish ace Frede Rasmussen took pole from Alpine's Nicolas Longuet at Silverstone, while championship leader Jarno Opmeer led the field at Monza from Red Bull's other star Marcel Kiefer.
Could Opmeer walk away from today with a bigger title lead? Or would Blakeley, Rasmussen, and others close the gap?
Rasmussen returns to form
Silverstone is a glorious track, but thanks to its high-speed nature overtaking is tricky.
Because of that we saw some big brain strategy calls, with everyone starting the mediums the stampede to come in for the softs started on lap three, when P2 Nicolas Longuet and P3 Bari Boroumand bolted on the softs at the end of lap three, hoping to undercut the leader Rasmussen.
The Red Bull man wouldn't pit until lap 5, and it was the Mercedes of Dani Moreno that made the most of the undercut, getting himself into P2.
Rasmussen was able to hold onto the lead for a while, until Moreno came steaming through with his full ERS battery. Behind them Lucas Blakeley put a worldie of a move on Nicolas Longuet for P3, going around the outside of Village to take the inside into the Loop.
Rasmussen sat behind Moreno happily while Opmeer went super-long following a bad qualifying session. Once he did stop he tumbled down to P16, but would be able to get himself into the points.
On the last lap of the race Rasmussen swooped down the Hanger Straight, flying past Moreno and denying him his first win in F1 Esports.
Jarno Opmeer lead the pack away, but it was Bari Boroumand starting on the softs that made a huge getaway and was up to P4 by the end of the first lap.
At the start of lap 4, Kiefer made a move for the lead, but that double slipstream together with the soft tyres gave Bari a huge tow and he went from P3 to leading on the exit of the first chicane.
Frede, starting in 6th, pitted for the softs at the end of lap 4 to try and get himself into contention, and it worked too.
With Marcel and the rest of the leading pack reacting to the undercuts, it was left to Opmeer and Bari at the front to keep pushing the pace.
Bari eventually ended that when he came in after 9 laps. He came out in P11 on fresh mediums, surrounded by cars with relatively healthy softs. While his first stint was electrifying, it may not have been wise.
Jarno came out in P10 after his stop, and had to make some big moves on those around him.
With all the pitstops done it was a Red Bull 1-2, with Donoso, Blakeley, and Longuet right behind them in a breakaway pack.
It was some masterful formation flying for Red Bull at the front, but Jarno soon scythed his way up to the leading pack, taking teammate Dani Moreno with him.
With the pack so tightly bunched, it started to get a little physical. Longuet eventually losing out as Opmeer and Moreno were able to make it past Lucas Blakeley in the melee.
After a three-wide between Rasmussen and the two Mercedes, Frede was punted from behind by David Tonizza in the scramble and he tumbled down to ninth.
Kiefer would go on to win, but the hardwork of his teammate certainly helped as well. Mercedes were able to salvage good points, while David Tonizza finished 4th on the road and Blakeley fifth.
Tonizza was given a 10s penalty for the collision, which bumped Blakeley to P3 after Dani Moreno got a post-race penalty as well.
Event 2 continues tomorrow
Event 2 of the F1 Esports Pro Championships continues 28 October with qualifying at 3:30pm BST and the race at 7:30pm BST and is available to watch via official Formula 1 channels on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. For full information about the Pro Championship visit: https://www.f1esports.com/
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