Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup - Round 8
Apex Racing Team’s (ART) quick quartet headed to the notorious Nurburgring Nordschleife, for round eight of the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup. Sixteen miles of brutal terrain lay ahead for Jamie Fluke, Yohann Harth, Kevin Ellis Jr. and Jarrad Filsell. In sim racing, there is no substitute for time behind the wheel in preparation. At the Nordschleife, this is magnified further. Intimate knowledge of the circuit is key to success at this fabled venue.
Many sections of the Nordschleife must be negotiated in single file. Track position is hard fought and precious. Adding further pressure to the dash for a Tag Heuer watch, drivers had only one lap to set their qualifying pace. Any mistake would be severely punished.
Scottish ace, Kevin Ellis Jr., started on the front row of the grid in second place. Enjoying a clear view down to the sharp opening corner. Yohann Harth struggled to construct a quick lap and started in thirteenth place. Jamie Fluke joined Harth in the midfield.
Kevin Ellis Jr. made the ideal start to the opening three lap encounter, comfortably sitting behind Patrik Holzmann, throughout the opening lap. Further back, controversy clouded over Joshua Rogers and Max Benecke. At the fastest point of the circuit, the Dottinger Hohe, Benecke speared off track. With no control of his Porsche 911 GT3 cup machine, iRacing’s highest rated driver torpedoed across the grass and immediately into the side of an innocent Joshua Rogers. Yohann Harth scythed through and moved up to eighth position. A fantastic opening lap from the French star.
Adelaide native, Jarrad Filsell, fell foul to the rough and tumble of the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup. On the exit of Ford curve, Vallterri Alander barged Filsell aside, ruining the Australians race.
Kevin Ellis Jr. approached the final drag along the never ending, Dottinger Hohe, in the prime second place spot. However, Holzmann threw everything in defence of the inevitable slip stream. Holzmann weaved back and forth, desperately trying to negate the slip stream. Yet, Ellis Jr. crept towards the Red Bull driver. Holzmann resisted but Ellis Jr took the chequered flag in the winner’s shadow. A superb performance from the Glaswegian superstar.
Yohann Harth held off the world’s fastest physiotherapist, Alexander Thiebe, for eighth place. Jamie Fluke brawled his way to fifteenth place, only 8.3 seconds from the winner.
For the feature race, drivers faced an additional lap of the Nordschleife. Kevin Ellis Jr. was rewarded with another front row start for his efforts in race one. Yohann Harth started eighth, Jamie Fluke fifteenth and Jarrad Filsell twenty-ninth. A double whammy for Filsell after being wiped out in race one.
A perfectly executed launch from Kevin Ellis Jr. gave the Scotsman the hole shot into turn one and the lead. Two snarling Red Bulls of Patrik Holzmann and Sebastian Job tussled behind Ellis Jr, in second and third, allowing some brief respite for the ART ace. Yohann Harth muscled his way through a melee ahead, following a clumsy move from Alejandro Sanchez, claiming fifth place.
Refusing to resort to questionable conduct like many of his competitors, Kevin Ellis Jr. maintained a consistent line along the Dottinger Hohe straight. Resisting the temptation to weave around to break up the slip stream. Sadly, this allowed the Red Bull Porsche’s of Holzmann and Job to sweep past.
Ellis Jr. shadowed the Red Bull duo until half a lap to go, before fading back into the clutches of Mack Bakkum, who edged by on the run towards the Karrussell. A fourth-place finish for Ellis Jr. and another excellent haul of championship points. Yohann Harth held fifth place, to confirm a double top-5 finish for the Apex Racing Team. Jamie Fluke tenaciously battled to eleventh. An excellent recovery from a difficult qualifying for the Northern Irishman. Sadly Jarrad Filsell, could only progress to twenty-sixth after another tricky outing in the feature race.
Following an eventful day at the Nordschleife, Apex Racing Team’s drivers gave their views on the action:
Yohann Harth: “A good day for me with another top five, the third in a row. It was a pretty poor qualifying lap on my end. All things considered, thirteenth on the grid wasn’t too bad. I couldn’t really make any moves as we were lacking a bit of straight-line speed compared to the others. I somehow managed to climb up to fifth, capitalizing on mistakes from others. I’m fourteenth in the standings now and super motivated for the last two rounds at Le Mans and Monza.”
Kevin Ellis Jr.: “Another great points day, however I feel like we lacked some speed today. I couldn’t make any moves and the balance completely fell away on the last lap of the Feature and I lost third. However, I gained on fourth and pulled away from sixth in the points. I can’t ask for much more than that.”
Jamie Fluke: “A tricky day at a track I’ve never fully got to grips with. The mistakes made on the qualifying lap put me into mid field and it was hard to progress from there with our lack of straight-line speed. However, I had fun in the feature with a couple of moves and I picked up enough points to climb to tenth in points, so it’s not a bad day.”
Le Circuit de la Sarthe hosts the next race on the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup. Plentiful drafting opportunity present on the iconic Mulsanne straight will be sure to produce an intriguing tactical battle. Tune in to live action on the 26th of September at 14.00 GMT on the iRacing Youtube channel.