F1 Esports Challengers… Event 5 Final Round-Up!
May 4, 2021
This is it! The last push, the final countdown. The F1 Esports Series Challengers 2021 draws to a close, with our hopeful racers all poised to make it through to the highly-coveted Pro Exhibition. With just six drivers progressing from each platform, there are sure to be heartbreaks for some, but the very best of the best will make it through.
Letâ€™s take a look at the final two rounds of the competition, shall we? With a handful already qualified, the final two races â€“ around the United States Grand Prix venue of COTA and the curtain-closer in Abu Dhabi â€“ presented the last chance to make it to the Pro Exhibition. Hereâ€™s who made it, and how!
PS4: Bruffer and Schutte split the honours
After his storming double-win last time out, Valentin Bruffer picked up where he left off with pole position in COTA. He didnâ€™t get the best start though, and was bumped down to second by the fast-starting Thijmen Schutte. There Schutte remained for the rest of the race, save for the pit stops. The polesitter was schuffled down to fourth after the stops, and so it was Schutte, Javier Perez, and Matthijs van Erven completing the podium. Points leader Domenico Lovece dropped to fifth in the race, and out of the lead of the championship.
The second race in Abu Dhabi saw one-shot qualifying go to Bruffer for a clean-sweep of qualifying on the night, and this time, he got to keep it, with a flawless race seeing him take the final victory of the championship. Bernardo Perez started in third, but dropped to last on the opening lap. Duncan Hofland claimed second, getting himself into the all-important top six, with van Erven taking the final podium slot.
Marcel Altstadt started down in P12, and though his spirited effort hoisted him into the points in P9, he lost out on a Pro Exhibition spot to Dario Iemmulo by just four points. Just ONE point separated top two Bruffer and Schutte in the end. Could we see them fighting closely in years to come?
QUALIFIED PS4 DRIVERS
Matthijs van Erven
XBOX: Lutt and De Zaluski end on a high
The top two were hard to separate when the Challengers final came to Xbox, with Antoine de Zulaski and Kedon Lutt both dominating proceedings. De Zulaski took pole in COTA, but was unable to hold back Lutt and Christopher Parry during the race. Parryâ€™s mega start got him into the lead for the opening half of the race, until a decisive overcut from Lutt put him in the net lead of the race. That was all the motivation he needed, and he led home Parry and de Zulaskion the podium.
If he lost out in COTA, nothing and no one was going to stop him from taking the win at the finale in Abu Dhabi. He took one-shot pole and led from lights-to-flag for the ultimate send-off from the Challengers. He led home Lutt and Zak Oates for the final podium, with all three making it to the Pro Exhibition.
Miko Hautojoki put in a fine performance to finish fourth in Abu Dhabi, but just missed out on a top-six position. Lutt was the clear winner, with the remaining drivers separated by a few points each.
QUALIFIED XBOX DRIVERS
Antoine de Zulaski
Ewam Le Naour
PC: Idowu Runs Riot in Finale
The third and final stream of the event, and in fact the final stream of the Challengers in general, brought us yet more fascinating PC racing. Going into the event, di Capua had a huge lead after a double-win last time out. This time though, it was Josh Idowu who took the honours, taking pole in COTA to kick off Event 5 strongly. He lost the lead to Patrik Sipos at the start, but waited patiently and struck back with just one lap remaining to take the win.
In a reversal of fortunes, Sipos then took pole for the Abu Dhabi finale and led away for the first few laps until di Capua struck on Lap 5. The final lap of the race saw di Capua leading from Idowu, Sipos, Nicolas Mateo and Ruben Vallejo, with the latter four all fighting for second place. Idowu got tagged by Mateo going into the chicane at the end of the straight, and was hit with a time penalty for going wide. As di Capua in the lead crossed the line with a penalty, Sipos was given the win, until adjudication removed Idowuâ€™s penalty, handing him back-to-back wins.
The result meant that di Capua won the Challengers, ahead of Idowu, Mateo, Sipos, Vallejo, and Atte Kauppinen completed the final six.
QUALIFIED PC DRIVERS
Alessio di Capua
Up Next: Pro Exhibition
Weâ€™ve absolutely loved the Challengers this year, and itâ€™s provided us with a taste of some of the high-level racing coming up later this year! Our 18 Pro Exhibition qualifiers will get the chance to show their skill when we go live on May 27. There, they will have the chance to be selected by one of the 10 official F1 Esports teams, and just maybe, become our next superstar. See you then!
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