eSports: Time for new experiences for Flörsch & Eaton
No real world motorsport on track? No problem. The third round of The Race All-Star eSports Battle included two women: newcomer Sophia Flörsch and recurring racer Abbie Eaton entered the event this weekend. With rFactor2, the action makes its return to the track.
The third round of the All-Star eSports Battle took place on the Silverstone National Circuit. Like the two rounds before, we saw two heats for pro-drivers and one heat for the sim racers, with the best five placed getting automatic entry to the final round. For the pro-drivers, a last chance heat was provided additionally. This weekend, we had two female drivers on the virtual track - newcomer Sophia Flörsch and W Series driver Abbie Eaton, at her second participation.
Heat 1 with Sophia Flörsch
The Qualifying was won by Rudy Van Buren, followed by Stoffel Vandoorne and Nicki Thiim. Highly favourite Daniel Jucandella lost his connection into the game and was unfortunately out, while Sophia Flörsch qualified on P14 at her first entry in an eSports series.
Van Buren had a great start and could quickly break away, with Vandoorne behind. Wolfgang Reip passed Thiim early on, freezing the first four positions until the end of the race. The biggest fight was for position five (the last qualification place for the final) between Maximilian Günther, Gabby Chaves and Jimmy Broadbent. After a mistake by Chaves, Günther was the last qualifier for the final in heat 1. Sophia Flörsch drove a solid and impressive first race with a good race pace against Juan Manuel Correa and Tom Dillmann in the midfield and finished P11.
Heat 2 with Abbie Eaton
James Baldwin took pole position in front of Philipp Eng and Ed Jones. Felix Rosenqvist lost his connection as well and started from the back of the grid. Abbie Eaton improved her qualifying effort after her previous race participation and qualified on P13.
Baldwin pulled away at the start, while behind him there was drama as Bradley Smith made contact with Ed Jones and both spun around. Following the incident, there were close fights between Bruno Spengler and Esteban Gutierrez, with Smith also recovering and joining the action. At the chequered flag, Baldwin won followed by James Davison, Philip Eng, Lachlan DeFrancesco and Bruno Spengler. Abbie Eaton showed a good midfield pace, as she was caught in a crash and picked up some damage requiring her to pit. She continued the race, but drove at the back of the pack a pretty lonely race and finished 16th.
The sim racers round had a close qualifying session, with Kevin Siggy, Nikodem Wisniewski and Bono Huis ultimately taking the top spots.
Siggy held the lead at the start and left his opponents easily behind him. Some close overtaking and then a collison between Wisniewski and Erhan Jajovski secured a plain victory for Siggy, with Huis, Yuri Kasdorp, Wisniewski and Petar Brijak behind him.
Last Chance Heat with Abbie Eaton
In the last heat, all pro-drivers had a last chance to go to the final and so Abbie Eaton got her second chance. Sophia Flörsch wasn't part of the last heat for unknown reasons.
Juncadella, who had fixed his connection problems, claimed the pole position from Ed Jones and Charlie Eastwood. Abbie Eaton qualified on P17.
It was an clean race for Juncandella, Jones and Eastwood who finished in the first three places. Chaves, Dillmann and Smith fought hard for the positions behind, but after a collision both Dillmann and Smith were out of contention, leaving the last places for the final to Chaves and Gutierrez. Abbie Eaton had a good race pace again, but she made a mistake on track and finished the race in P14 at the chequered flag.
It wasn´t a surprise that, like in round 1 and 2, the real-world racers still held a significant edge over the sim drivers. Dutchman Bono Huis won easily ahead of Van Buren and Kasdorp. The best real world driver was Philip Eng in P5.
Sophia Flörsch and Abbie Eaton showed promising pace in the race and easily kept up in the midfield. Against some very experienced eSports drivers, it was an impressive debut for Sophia and a promising second round for Abbie.
We asked Abbie to comment about her race and that's what she replied:
"R1 caught in someone else’s crash and got damage so needed to pit. R2 fired myself off xD"