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Inaugural F1 Esports China Championship Winner Crowned in Shanghai

January 6, 2020

Months of intense battle. Thousands of entrants eliminated. Millions watching. The inaugural F1 Esports China Championship concluded in fine style, with Tang Tianyu and Yuan Yifan on top! After securing first and second in the first ever regional F1 Esports Series championship, both will receive a ‘once in a lifetime’ invitation to London later in 2020 as a driver in the Pro Draft.

Hui Space – a complex within the world-famous Shanghai Stadium – played host to the Grand Final on January 4-5. Over the course of this two-day event, 100 racers were put through their paces, with only the top 40 making it to the second day of knockout racing. From there, the herd was thinned even more, dropping down to a final pool of 20. This group then fought in two final races, around Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain, and the neighbouring Shanghai International Circuit.

CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN

The Silverstone race saw Tang Tianyu seize pole with a lap time of 1:26.278. He then held his nerve during the race to command an early lead – but it was not to last. Both he and second-placed Yuan Yifan pitted on Lap seven. Though they emerged in the same order, Yuan was able to storm past with assistance from DRS on Lap nine. Though Tang persisted, he couldn’t find a way past, and so Yuan took victory – recording the fastest lap too. Tang crossed the line in second, and Lin Zhuoyi completed the podium.

The second and final race of the event brought the racers to familiar territory; Shanghai International Circuit. Once again, Tang Tianyu took pole position, this time with a 1:30.375. The leading duo of Tang and Yuan again pitted at the same time, on the third lap of the race. And while Tang’s pit lane entry almost saw him make contact with the barrier, it was Yuan’s pit stop that changed the complexion of the race. He dropped two seconds to his opponent while waiting for other cars, with Lin Zhuoyi chasing him to the flag. Tang remained uncontested at the front and took victory, as well as fastest lap. This meant that the same three drivers – Tang, Yuan and Lin – completed the podium once more.

Incredibly, the top two drivers both scored exactly 44 points for a second place and a win, plus fastest lap. However due to his pair of pole positions, it was Tang who was crowned champion. He takes home a pretty impressive trophy, as well as 135,000 CNY of prize money. Yuan and Lin scooped 80,000 and 50,000 respectively for their second and third places in the championship.

Arguably though, the most eye-catching prize is the promise of a place at the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Draft. It’s fitting then, that our top two in the championship end on equal points – as they’ll both be invited to London later in the year for the third F1 Esports Pro Draft.

EYES ON THE PRIZE

The two-day event was streamed live on HUYA, with the final race also broadcasted live on Great Sports TV. At its peak, 1.6 million people tuned in online at the same time. The audience had well-known commentators Li Bing and Pan Yongyong for company, with both providing expert analysis and detail of the races.

The audience was also treated to an appearance by Renault Driver Academy’s Guanyu Zhou, as well as Renault Vitality F1 Esports stablemate Jarno Opmeer. Representing China in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Zhou broke ground as the first Chinese driver to appear on a podium at an F1 race weekend in 2019, taking his first in Spain back in May, and added a further four rostrum appearances throughout the year. His presence helps to further blend the lines between on-track racing and Esports. Zhou, along with Opmeer, also participated in an exhibition race, along with some of China’s top Esports racers.

While the F1 Esports China Championship may be concluded for now, the journey has just begun for Tang Tianyu and Yuan Yifan. Both will hope to make the 9,000 Km journey to London later in 2020, where they will compete in knockout racing, and have the opportunity to be selected by one of the 10 official F1 Esports teams!

Keep your eyes on the F1 Esports site and social media for updates on when the show will take place.




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