David Nagy and Moritz Löhner took the Esports WTCR OSCARO wins at a virtual Sepang International Circuit on Sunday evening as Gergo Baldi wrapped up the Multiplayer Championship for the M1RA Esports team on RaceRoom.
Ahead of the results being made official when the report window closes on Wednesday, Germany’s Florian Hasse (EURONICS Gaming / CUPRA) finishes second in the standings behind Baldi (pictured) with 2018 champion, Slovakia-based Hungarian Bence Bánki (SDL eSports by Logitech G / Honda), third.
Williams Esports’ Polish CUPRA duo, Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinski, end up fourth and fifth with Audi-powered Williams Esports team-mates, Briton Jack Keithley and Germany’s Löhner, sixth and seventh respectively.
Hungarian Nagy (M1RA Esports / Hyundai) completes the top eight drivers who will get their costs covered to attend the season-closing live final in Malaysia on 14 December with German duo Julian Kunze (EURONICS Gaming / CUPRA) and Alexander Dornieden (FA Racing Esports / Lynk & Co) just missing out.
Qualifying recap: Dornieden shows early pace but Nagy takes pole
Although Hasse and Kunze set the pace in pre-qualifying, it was Dornieden who initially proved fastest in qualifying. Kunze then made his move before Nagy improved even further to take pole with Baldi and Hasse slotting in behind Nagy and Kunze in third and fourth respectively.
Race One recap: Nagy holds of Hasse to win
Nagy converted his first Esports WTCR OSCARO pole position into an early lead, while Hasse immediately passed Baldi for second place. Dornieden and Kunze made contact a few times as Keithley and Löhner circulated in P11 and P12 with Bánki P10. Richard Dobsa (Virtualdrivers by TX3 / Audi) was out of luck when he got flipped onto his roof and slid into the barriers at the start of sector two.
While Nagy was edging ahead out front, his M1RA Esports’ team-mate Baldi was coming under pressure from Dornieden, who hit the back of his rival at the hairpin to send him into a slide. The positions remained unchanged but Baldi’s delay meant Hasse now had breathing space in his bid to catch Nagy. Dornieden, meanwhile, was having to defend against Kunze.
At the halfway mark, Kunze, Dornieden and Jaroslav Honzik (Actrollvision / Hyundai) were in a close battle, as Bánki started to struggle in his Honda, his championship hopes fading. And it would get worse for Bánki when Keithley overtook with five minutes remaining to create an opportunity for Löhner to put big pressure on Bánki.
In the battle for the lead, Hasse had caught Nagy, who was on course to qualify for December’s live final courtesy of his maiden win. Hasse tried a few times to get ahead at Turn 1 but couldn’t make his efforts stick, leaving Nagy to win.
Hasse took second to keep his title dream alive. Baldi claimed third with Dornieden fourth followed by Kunze, Honzik, Brzezinski, Keithley and Wisniewski, who dropped back to ninth on the final lap. And there was more drama when Löhner demoted Bánki for P10 to secure the reverse-grid pole for Race Two.
Race Two recap: Löhner takes the win, Baldi the title
There was high drama on the opening lap when Baldi and Tim Jarschel (EURONICS Gaming / CUPRA) made contact existing Turn 1 leaving Baldi down in P17.
Out front and having maximised his pole position, Löhner was on course for the live final, a situation that meant Dornieden and Kunze would miss out. They responded by continuing their scrap from Race One in fifth and sixth places respectively.
By lap three, Baldi was back in the top 10 and pressuring his title rival Hasse. In the double right-hander at the beginning of sector three, Hasse made a mistake, which allowed Baldi and Jarschel through, Jarschel almost spinning on the straight.
By now Dornieden and Kunze were ahead of Honzik in fourth and fifth respectively, but it still wouldn’t be enough for a live final place.
It was proving a different story for Florian Hasse who had overtaken Zoltan Custi and Baldi to keep his distant title hopes alive, while for Bánki’s hopes ended when he his Honda Civic Type-R TCR.
On the final lap, David Nagy was actually overtaken by Brzezinski again, but the Hungarian struck back through the final corner to re-claim the place as Löhner scored his first win of the season to guarantee his ticket to the final. Behind Wisniewski and Keithley, Kunze and Dornieden finished fourth and fifth, ahead of Nagy, Honzik, Brzezinski and Hasse. By finishing P10, Baldi is the online multiplayer champion for 2019.
Maulana time again in Asia qualifier
In the Asia qualifier, it was Andika Rama Maulana time again. The Indonesian, driving a Honda for GT-Sim.ID eSport, booked his ticket for the Malaysia final with a dominant performance with pole, a victory in the first race ahead of 13-year-old Australian talent Kalen Chin (Aus NZ Racing – SimFai / Honda) and Razor Mok (HMSRT / Lynk & Co) from Hong Kong, plus a second place in the final race. Terence Lallave from the Philippines (Lallave Motorsports Project ANBU / Honda) won the second race. Junio Pereira rounded out the podium (Macau e-Motorsports / CUPRA).
Live final awaits in Malaysia
The final event will take place in Malaysia on 14 December when the real-life WTCR / OSCARO racers will be at the Sepang International Circuit. Updates from the regional qualifiers in Malaysia, Russia and South America, and confirmation of all finalists is due soon.