May 27th, 2019 by Chris Leone
It took just four races into the inaugural Porsche Esports Supercup season for the series to see its first two-time winner. Joshua Rogers became the first driver to accomplish the feat on Saturday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, chasing down VRS Coanda Simsport teammate and sprint winner Mitchell deJong in the final laps of the 30-minute feature race to score the victory despite starting ninth on the grid. Maximilian Benecke completed the podium.
“It was quite a hectic race, really. Qualifying went really, really well, and heat one was a little bit challenging, being back in the pack at this track. I think we were running a little bit more downforce than others, so it made it quite difficult. The only real passing opportunities were into the tight corners, and sometimes you had to make some risky moves.
“All things considered, I think the feature couldn’t have gone better. I just kind of put it all behind me and tried to hang it out as best as I could, being as risky as I could possibly be on the curbs. I knew that was where the time was going to be—normally in a tin-top at Montreal you drive at 90 or 95% because of the slowdowns, but I think I was driving at about 115%. I really wanted it!”
Benefitting from the eight-car inversion after qualifying, deJong started second on the grid in the sprint race and passed teammate and Mid-Ohio race winner Martin Kronke after the first lap. While a number of front runners, including Red Bull Racing eSports teammates Sebastian Job and Patrik Holzmann, suffered incidents during the 15-minute race, deJong extended a 1.980-second lead at the checkered flag. Benecke made a brave chicane pass on Kronke in the final minutes to score second, while Kronke held off Jack Sedgwick for the final spot on the sprint podium.
It looked to be more of the same for deJong at the front of the pack in the 30-minute feature, as he used a strong start to again hold the lead. With contact and slowdown penalties rampant at the tricky Canadian circuit, top drivers shuffled around repeatedly behind him. Benecke had been keeping pace before being shuffled back, allowing Kronke to reclaim second; Sedgwick would later get by Kronke as well, before Kronke suffered his own slide back in the pack.
But despite a disastrous heat race where he finished ninth after contact with Job, Rogers wouldn’t be denied the feature victory. He methodically picked off the eight drivers in front of him, first cracking the podium with more than 19 minutes left in the timed race and getting to second before the halfway point. The Australian then set his sights on his California teammate, setting up a battle in the race’s final minutes.
With just a handful of laps to go, Rogers and deJong charged into the first two corners, neither willing to give an inch. Both drivers braked late, with deJong sliding off track and Rogers using the opportunity to finally make the winning pass. The leaders were separated by just .672 seconds at the line, witch Benecke holding off Sedgwick and Kronke for the final podium spot.
“It was quite an up and down race. Qualifying was such a failure, to be honest, and I really lucked into that front row starting spot—this is one of the times where the format really worked in my favor. In the main race, once Max and Martin had their issues, I turned off all timing to try to focus and not make any mistakes. With that said, I took the race way too easy—after the midpoint, I just tried to get in a safe zone, and unfortunately sometimes when you do that you get yourself out of the rhythm, and that’s exactly what I did.
“I had timing off all the way until the end, but I could see Josh coming. I tried to manage it as best as I could, but if the race was a couple of laps shorter, it would’ve been nice to get that win.”
Porsche Esports Supercup standings after four races are as follows:
- Joshua Rogers, 500
- Mitchell deJong, 377
- Maximilian Benecke, 314
- Jamie Fluke, 312
- Martin Kronke, 296
- Tommy Ostgaard, 282
- Sebastian Job, 277
- Patrik Holzmann, 266
- Jeremy Bouteloup, 247
- 2 drivers tied, 228
The Porsche Esports Supercup continues with the fifth round of the 2019 season on June 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the halfway point of the schedule and final Canadian round of the championship. As always, the action can be streamed on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.