F1 Esports: Rasmussen and Opmeer winners amid the drama

An intense evening of racing culminated in two different winners on Wednesday, as the second event of the 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series took place in the world of pixel racing.

Last time out disconnection problems tarnished the night, this time around cars were simply not seen as in the case of the battle for the lead between race two leader David Tonizza and Jarno Opmeer, pictured above, before the Alfa Romeo blatantly punted the Ferrari into the wall.

Opmeer claimed Tonizza’s virtual car did not appear on his screen and had no idea he was anywhere near the Ferrari, suggesting some serious issues with the Codemasters netcode for this popular game.

Nevertheless, it was good entertainment and this is what they had to say afterwards:

Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands was the first venue, with the historic track returning to F1 for the first time since the 1985 Dutch Grand Prix – albeit digitally. The banked curves and extreme speed of the circuit made for some enthralling racing, with Frede Rasmussen eventually emerging on top.

Frede Rasmussen’s last victory was at the 2019 United States round of that season’s F1 Esports Pro Series. It was a victory that sealed Red Bull Racing Esports’ championship

He had to fight hard for the win, getting past championship leader Jarno Opmeer on lap 24 of 25, with a DRS move after an excellent launch off the final corner. Rasmussen bided his time, stalking Opmeer for several laps before pouncing into Turn 1.

Opmeer claimed second, with Rasmussen’s teammate Marcel Kiefer grabbing third place. Further back, it was Renault Vitality’s Nicolas Longuet making the most progress, making two daring passes on the Mercedes pair of Bono Huis and Brendon Leigh to move up to an eventual fifth place.

The second race of the evening in Canada was, much like in 2019, to be the scene of much drama and controversy. Ferrari Driver Academy Hublot Esports Team’s David Tonizza took a sensational pole position for the race, but was bested into Turn 1 by Opmeer.

Starting on the medium tyres, track position was vital for Opmeer, and so leading the race was to be crucial. He led the race until making a very late stop for soft tyres, before he set about chomping through the pack, just as he had done in Bahrain and China.

He emerged from the pits in P10, but very swiftly made his way through the order. With his sights set on Tonizza’s second place though, the pair made contact negotiating Turn 5, sending Tonizza’s car airborne and eventually out of the race. Opmeer – claimed he did not see the car on his screen however was able to continue, and able to hunt down Rasmussen for the lead of the race.

And with that, Opmeer took his third win in five races, a mighty total for so early in the championship. Rasmussen and Kiefer took the remaining podium spots, delivering more points for Red Bull.

Dani Moreno has made quiet progress since the start of the Pro Series, but the relative F1 Esports newcomer was in fine form on Wednesday, taking two strong points finishes in seventh and fifth in the respective races to earn the Aramco Driver of the Day Accolade. His teammate James Baldwin also fared well, picking up his first points of the campaign in Canada.

Other standout performances included those of the two Scuderia AlphaTauri Esports racers. Joni Tormala claimed a fine P4 in the Zandvoort race and capped it off with a point in Canada to continue his streak of scoring points in every race so far. Manuel Biancolilla in the sister AlphaTauri also struck high in Canada, taking his first points of the season in P6.

Wednesday’s action may be concluded, but there’s plenty more in store on Thursday! Round 6 will take us to the Red Bull Ring in Austria; scene of a tense Tonizza-Rasmussen duel in 2019.

As with Wednesday’s event, we’ll be streaming qualifying live on Twitch and YouTube from 15:30 GMT, followed by the full race stream later at 19:30, this time on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and with our broadcast partners on TV.

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