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Race report: Keithley, Pliska shine to share the Nürburgring Nordschleife wins in Esports WTCR


Race report: Keithley, Pliska shine to share the Nürburgring Nordschleife wins in Esports WTCR

Jack Keithley and Petr Pliska were the winners on a thrilling night of Esports WTCR action from RaceRoom Racing Experience on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Briton Keithley (Williams Esports) made his bold final-lap overtake count to win the opening Esports WTCR race on the toughest track of them all before Team Fordzilla’s Pliska triumphed in the reverse-grid second race.

Dörr Esports’ Hungary-born Slovakian Bence Bánki, who topped the points after the pre-season Shoot Out series and qualified on pole position, finished second in Race 1 followed by Hungarian multiple Esports WTCR champion Gergo Baldi (M1RA Esports). Juan Manuel Gomez flew the Argentine flag in fourth after starting second, with Gomez’s fellow Team Fordzilla driver Gianmarco Fiduci in fifth for Italy.

Starting third on the reverse-grid Race 2, Italian Pliska moved to the top of the order at the end of the two-kilometre-long Döttinger Höhe straight on lap one and was never headed, pulling out a winning margin of 2.74s over Germany’s Florian Hasse (Dörr Esports). Fiduci completed the Race 2 podium after contact with Hasse’s team-mate Tim Jarschel at the final Hohenrain corner. Jarschel recovered spectacularly to keep the closing Baldi at bay for fourth. 

Keithley beats pole-sitter Bánki to Race 1 victory
Bánki was the driver to beat at the start of Race 1 with Gomez, Keithley – racing a CUPRA as WTCR legend Rob Huff – Baldi and Fiduci in hot pursuit as Hasse and Jarschel made contact in their battle for ninth. 

Dávid Nagy (M1RA Esports) was soon putting Fiduci under pressure for fifth while Gomez made his victory intentions known with an attempted pass on Bánki at the end of the Döttinger Höhe on lap one.

It wasn’t long before a five-car battle for the lead had materialised, and Gomez appeared to have the better of Bánki as he latched onto the rear bumper of the first-placed Audi. But before Gomez had the chance to duck out of Bánki’s slipstream and pass, Keithley charged into second and almost completed a double overtake with a move on Bánki.

Keithley did get ahead of Bánki with a fine pass at Turn 1 with Gomez trying to go from third to first on the exit of the corner. Bánki briefly got back ahead of Keithley, and after several touches and half-passes, Keithley, who set the fastest race lap, snatched a lead he wouldn’t relinquish as the charging field swapped the Grand Prix circuit for the Nordschleife with Gomez losing out to Baldi in a similarly forceful exchange.

Hungary’s Martin Barna charged through from the lower reaches of the top 20 to finish P14 with Jarschel grabbing the reverse-grid pole for Race 2 by finishing P10, one place behind Hasse.

Charging Pliska takes Race 2 glory
Jarschel capitalised on starting at the front to lead through the opening sequence of corners, but Hasse was ahead by the chicane. And there was more woe for Jarschel when a mistake on the Nordschleife let in Pliska for second, albeit after light contact between the pair. Second then became first for CUPRA-driving Pliska when he edged ahead of Hasse through Tiergarten before the end of the first lap.

Nagy was next to demote Jarschel with a pass for third, but he couldn’t make it stick as a mistake allowed Fiduci to snatch fourth with Nagy dropping to fifth, while Jarschel held on to third. This squabbling for position allowed fastest lap-setter Pliska and Hasse to pull clear, while Baldi demoted Nagy for fifth.

Baldi almost snatched fourth from Jarschel after the German lost out to Fiduci’s final-corner move but he settled for fifth with Pliska winning ahead of Hasse and Fiduci. Keithley finished P10 behind Barna, Gomez slipped to P12, while Bánki took important points in seventh behind Nagy. Replay the Nürburgring Nordschleife action HERE.

What’s next?
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is next up on the Esports WTCR schedule from 19h30 CET on Wednesday February 8. For more on Esports WTCR, including the provisional standings, go to: https://www.wtcr-esports.com


Back by popular demand: New-look Esports WTCR is go!

13th October

Back by popular demand: New-look Esports WTCR is go!

Part of a long-term and successful alliance with RaceRoom Racing Experience, Esports WTCR is the perfect platform for simracers to experience doorhandle-to-doorhandle FIA World Touring Car action and also get the opportunity to race against some of the real-life WTCR stars who compete online from time to time to keep in competitive shape. SHOOT-OUT FORMAT SET The return of Esports WTCR begins with a three-round Shoot-out consisting of the usual time attack/qualifying phases and multiplayer races. Racers can select the liveries of Audi, CUPRA, Honda and Hyundai cars competing in the 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup and compete on three tracks, Nürburgring GP Strecke, Hungaroring and MotorLand Aragón, as follows: Round 1: Nürburgring GP Strecke (new to Esports WTCR) Leaderboard opens: October 14 Leaderboard closes: November 13 Live stream race day: November 16 Round 2: Hungaroring Leaderboard opens: October 14 Leaderboard closes: November 20 Live stream race day: November 23 Round 3: MotorLand Aragón Leaderboard opens: October 14 Leaderboard closes: November 27 Live stream race day: November 30 The top 20 teams after three rounds choose their own liveries, but incorporating existing sponsor and partner placement, for the main season kicking off in January 2023. The deadline for livery design submissions is January 3. FIVE ALIVE FOR EXCITING CHALLENGE The five-event main season, featuring a maximum of 32 drivers on the grid for each race, including the 20 permanent esports drivers who qualified through the Shoot-out, will take place as follows: Round 1: Nürburgring Nordschleife Leaderboard opens: January 9 Leaderboard closes: January 22 Live stream race day: January 25 Round 2: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (new to Esports WTCR) Leaderboard opens: January 22 Leaderboard closes: February 5 Live stream race day: February 8 Round 3: Circuito da Guia, Macau Leaderboard opens: February 5 Leaderboard closes: February 19 Live stream race day: February 22 Round 4: Suzuka Circuit Leaderboard opens: February 19 Leaderboard closes: March 5 Live stream race day: March 8 Round 5: Track to be selected by Esports WTCR competitors via an online vote during Round 2 and 3 of the 2023 main season On January 25 the vote will open for all Esports WTCR competitors. The vote will close on raceday of Round 3 and announced during the Round 3 livestream. Leaderboard opens: March 5 Leaderboard closes: March 19 Live stream race day: March 22 All event racedays will be streamed live on RaceRoom’s and WTCR’s social media channels. A €10,000 prize pool is provided by long-term WTCR series partner KW Suspensions. Jean-Baptiste Ley, WTCR Director, Discovery Sports Events, said: “As we wait with great anticipation for the season-deciding WTCR races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in November, the new-look Esports WTCR will create plenty of excitement and interest within the online racing community − which continues to expand around the globe − and among WTCR fans and motorsport fans as a whole. We’ve seen just how high the level of simracers is and, through Norbert Michelisz, the 2019 King of WTCR, we know what’s possible when drivers who have excelled racing virtually get the opportunity to race for real. We thank our partners at RaceRoom Racing Experience for all their work and expertise behind the scenes and we can’t wait for the online battles to begin.“ Holger Stangl, Head of RaceRoom Events and Esports, said: “Touring cars have a long tradition in RaceRoom. I believe through the long-term relationship with the WTCR, RaceRoom is actually able to offer the best possible realism of virtual touring car racing out there. I am very excited about the upcoming new official Esports WTCR season. Together we have chosen a great selection of tracks and participants can look forward to a sporting format that will be new to the Esports WTCR. We hope to bring more continuity for drivers and spectators through a partially fixed starting grid, giving the top esports teams great team exposure and still giving everyone the chance to join in and reshuffle the championship at any stage. So I can only encourage everyone to join in and become part of this thrilling Esports WTCR season ahead of us.“ Esteban Guerrieri, WTCR race winner for Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and prolific online racer, said: “For me racing can be anywhere, on the race track or on the simulator behind the computer. But the fact that you are racing challenges you in the same way, the mental focus, the intensity, the pressure of competition, whatever you need to do to be fast and to be consistent it’s the same approach for racing on the track or in simracing. It’s great and I really like it. It’s good for anyone who wants to compete and have the feeling of competition. Esports WTCR is a great way to do it at a high level and I really enjoyed the championship we did with the simracers in 2020 because the challenge was really high to try to be close to them.“
Back by popular demand: New-look Esports WTCR is go!