Lucas Blakeley, a new McLaren Shadow signee, won Wednesday night’s race and took the first win in the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco.
The Scot started on pole and led confidently from the start. However, he had to overcome Jarno Opmeer, who was the reigning champion, in order to win. In a perfectly-orchestrated move, he and McLaren Shadow team mate Bari Boroumand got past Opmeer’s Mercedes coming down the main straight on Lap 21.
Opmeer ran late in the race on the tyres that were too hard to do an overcut. He won comfortably ahead of Boromound, Blakeley and Thomas Ronhaar, who lost ground in a fierce battle with Frede Rasmussen and new Haas sign Thomas Ronhaar.
Ronhaar, the Pro Exhibition champion, was having an incredible debut after qualifying second and running in top five for most the race. However, Ronhaar suffered damage in the four-car melee that ensued and was forced to retire.
Opmeer was leading going into the final stages of the race. However, the McLaren Shadow pincer movement that occurred on lap 21 saw his medal status drop from gold to bronze. On the final lap Mercedes’ leader man did bite back, defeating Boroumand at Turn 1 and taking second place, but Blakeley was too far and ended up as the filling for a Papaya sandwich.
Simon Weigang, a resurgent driver who more than doubled his 2021 points total on his Aston Martin debut, was just behind the trio. Dani Moreno was fifth, followed by Sebastian Job and Brendon Leigh, Nicolas Longuet, Josh Idowu and Nicolas Longuet, who made their first starts at AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo.
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Frede Rasmussen started in P10 and was penalized for corner cutting in-game and by the stewards. He also received a penalty for making contact with Ronhaar. After the in-game reprimand was overturned, the Dane was promoted up to P8, which gives him four points. To complete the points, Longuet & Idowu were relegated to P9 & P10, respectively.
This result places McLaren Shadow in command of the team standings following the first race. Blakeley had won the Bahrain maiden race 12 months earlier.
The 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship will be returning to Imola on Thursday night. You can catch the qualifying stream on Twitch at 1430 UTC and YouTube. The race stream will begin at 1830 UTC on Twitch.