The 2019 Porsche Esports Supercup championship is going down to the wire in two weeks’ time.
Red Bull Racing Esports’ Sebastian Job scored his second win in the last three races, earning a $1,000 bonus by scoring the victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday over Jeremy Bouteloup and Maximilian Benecke. But the other story of the day was championship leader Joshua Rogers of Coanda Simsport, who got caught up in multiple incidents in both the sprint and feature races and was unable to extend his championship lead over Benecke heading into the season finale at Monza.
“I’m really happy with that,” Job said. “(The race was) very similar similar to Silverstone, I wasn’t expecting that—I was just hoping to get some solid points today and not lose any ground to the top three in front, but it couldn’t have gone any better. I thought I’d kind of choked my qualifying lap and was kind of panicking that I wouldn’t be in the top eight, but it was just about perfect.”
With no events in the championship since July, drivers were anxious to make the most of their return to the track, and the first lap of the sprint race saw Greger Huttu and Martin Kronke, among others, take heavy contact. But in the midst of a battle for top-five positions toward the front of the field, Tuomas Tahtela ran into the back of Rogers going into Laguna Seca’s iconic Corkscrew, creating a pile-up that dropped Rogers toward the back of the pack.
Rogers’ day only got worse in the feature. After taking an early slowdown penalty, the Australian was spun twice in separate incidents by Patrik Holzmann in Turn 1, with the latter leading to a disqualification for the German driver. Rogers still posted the fastest lap in the feature with a 1:22.449, but with top title rivals Benecke and Mitchell deJong running in the top five all race, his 16th place finish resulted in a huge loss of points going into the championship race.
Up front, however, Job drove a pair of beautiful races in both the sprint and feature, never so much as setting a wheel wrong after qualifying eighth and starting first in the sprint race due to the inversion. Jeremy Bouteloup finished second in the sprint and had a strong start in the feature, but Job hung on to the top spot and extended his lead to 1.2 seconds at the finish. Benecke, who finished fourth in the sprint behind deJong, got around the Californian in the feature and pressured Bouteloup for second, but was unable to make the pass before the finish.
“It was quite close at the beginning,” Bouteloup explained. “I was able to maintain the draft, but at the end I couldn’t really stay close and I had to settle for P2. But overall, I’m super happy, because it’s my best result of the season.”
“It’s absolutely crazy to be here,” Benecke added. “I’m very happy with this race. The championship is so close that you don’t want to have any incident that can cost you some points. It’s also Laguna Seca, and overtaking is super difficult. You have to have a good run and the other guy has to have a mistake, so in the end I tried to keep the pressure on Jeremy. I saw him struggling a bit with the tires, but I didn’t want to make a spectacular move that could cost me the championship in the end.
“The championship is very close up front, with four people within 50 points or so. Hopefully I can maintain my position or even get first in Monza.”
Job’s victory and Rogers’ struggles at Laguna Seca ensured that four drivers will enter the 2019 season finale with a mathematical shot at the championship. Unofficial Porsche Esports Supercup standings and race winnings with one race remaining are as follows:
- Josh Rogers, 852 ($3,800)
- Maximilian Benecke, 818 ($1,800)
- Sebastian Job, 794 ($2,600)
- Mitchell deJong, 787 ($1,400)
- Jarrad Filsell, 676 ($1,600)
- Patrik Holzmann, 620 ($800)
- Jeremy Bouteloup, 608 ($400)
- Jamie Fluke, 582
- Martin Kronke, 568 ($1,000)
- Tommy Ostgaard, 568 ($1,000)
The 2019 Porsche Esports Supercup season finale will take place at Autodromo Internazionale Monza on September 28. Next weekend, however, six of the top drivers in the series will head to Frankfurt to compete at the International Motor Show Germany.