The virtual racers of the eSports WTCC went to Spa-Francorchamps for the fifth round of the season. The event started with an action-packed race in Division 2. Polesitter Nicola Guarini was unlucky once again, and was spun again in the first corner. The first position seemed to be cursed, as Stefan Fritsch and Michael Heyman lost control of their cars in short succession. Tamas Jager inherited the lead, and he managed to stay consistent. Towards the end of the race, Manuel Alves and Dariusz Wielgosz caught up a lot, but Jager kept a cool head and brought home the victory.
The qualifying for Division 1 started off with Gergo Baldi setting a track record on his first flying lap. His time would not get beaten in the entire session, although championship leader Alexander Dornieden came very close. At the start of the race, David Nagy moved up into 2nd, and a race-long battle between the top 3 started. Nagy passed Baldi into Les Combes on Lap 3, and Dornieden moved into 2nd immediately afterwards. Nagy’s mirrors were filled with the white and grey Honda of Dornieden, and just after the halfway mark, Nagy cracked under the pressure and made a mistake into Les Combes, allowing Dornieden through. The German held the lead and scored his second victory of the year, ahead of Nagy and Baldi. Tim Heinemann finished in 4th position after a consistent performance ahead of Jan Stange, Kevin Siggy Rebernak and Márk Nándori. Newcomer Kévin Leaune was 8th, ahead of Adam Pinczes and routineer Dirk Knatz, who clinched his first point of the season and the pole position for the reverse grid second race.
Pinczes and Nándori immediately passed Knatz’s red and white Chevrolet at the start of the race, and Pinczes didn’t defend against his teammate into Les Combes. Further back, Heinemann and Baldi collided in Pouhon, while the Impact Racing drivers Dornieden and Stange charged through the grid. Dirk Knatz drove very carefully and allowed Leaune, Stange and Dornieden through on lap 2. Leaune was the next victim of the German duo and lost his podium place, while Rebernak and Butcher, who had a fantastic start, were catching up behind and passed Leaune as well later on. Heinemann’s event meanwhile went from bad to worse, as he was involved in two incidents, with the Citroens of Bánki and Butcher, and eventually retired, while the Citroens also lost a lot of ground.
Towards the end of the race, Dornieden had caught up to Pinczes and with three laps to go, he lined up a clean pass on the exit of Bus Stop. Stange immediately followed him through in La Source, with Pinczes dropping down to fourth. A bit further behind, Leaune and Nagy stunned the audience with a fair battle, including going two-wide through Eau Rouge. Dornieden meanwhile had his eyes set on Nándori, but time was running out and he couldn’t catch the Hungarian, who scored his second win of the championship ahead of Dornieden and Stange. The battle for fourth was decided on the last lap, when Pinczes and Rebernak made contact in Stavelot, with Rebernak dropping down to tenth. Nagy was fifth ahead of Leaune, with Thomas Stempurszki, Klaus Schulze, Cristian Moisescu and Rebernak rounding out the top 10.
Half of the season has been completed, and Alexander Dornieden has extended his championship lead ahead of Stange and Nándori. The next race is at the Slovakiaring, on August 6th. If you have missed the action, make sure to watch the race replay here: