Job retakes championship lead to establish duel at title showdown
Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB returned to Silverstone for its penultimate weekend with rounds 12 and 13 taking place on the short and fast 1.8-mile International circuit. With just three points separating championship leader Kevin Ellis Jr from 2020 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup champion Sebastian Job there was everything to play for – a 20-minute qualifying session set the grid for the first of the day’s two 25-minute races broadcast live online via the Porsche Twitch channel.
Job was the pacesetter once again in practice and qualifying, an advantage he converted into victory in both races, however, main title rival Ellis Jr pushed him all the way in two thrilling races where there was often very little to choose between the pair on track – Ellis Jr finished on the podium in both races. Job has now reestablished a championship lead and will take a slim 11 point advantage into the final weekend at Brands Hatch on 7 March.
A grid of 17 professional sim racers took part in a 60-minute practice session followed by a 20-minute qualifying session to set the grid for the day’s first 25-minute race. Job’s name sat at the top of the timesheet throughout the session, however, several drivers came close to usurping him. With 10-minutes of the session remaining Jon Robertson lapped to within 0.004secs of Job’s time and a returning Peter Berryman within 0.051secs.
As drivers made good use of slipstreaming tactics on Silverstone’s long straights, a gradually improving Ellis Jr moved from seventh to fifth as he closed-in on his championship rival’s benchmark time. In the final few minutes of the session Job moved the goalposts ahead by a fraction while Ellis lapped to within 0.056secs of his new time, then quickly improved again to lap within 0.047secs – cementing the front row as Job from Ellis Jr, with Robertson and Berryman in row two, Graham Carroll and Isaac Price on row three.
Job got away well at the start to lead into the first corner with Ellis Jr close behind and Robertson in third. Just behind the three leaders Carroll was looking at Berryman for fourth. Soon there was contact further down the order between Matt Emery and Fraser Williamson, Emery would continue his race in last place. In the early part of the race the leading group of six cars – stretching from Job to Jamie Fluke in sixth – pulled a three-second gap to an intensifying battle for seventh between Jamie Moone, Blair Mann and Jack Sedgwick.
By the half way point of the race the leaders began to make their moves. Ellis Jr took several looks around Job but it was a move from Berryman that changed the order – in the reshuffle Robertson lost two places as Berryman snatched third and Carroll fourth. Shortly afterwards though a moment for Berryman saw him slip to fifth as Carroll grabbed third and Robertson fourth. All eyes switched to the relentless fight between leader Job and championship rival Ellis Jr just behind – the pair were almost inseparable.
As the leaders entered their final lap something had to give under mounting pressure, in his bid to pass Job it was Ellis Jr who found himself under attack when Carroll gained a run on him – the two drove side-by-side in a battle that was too close to call, ultimately it was resolved in favour of Carroll making the order at the flag: Job, Carroll and Ellis Jr. Berryman would cross the line in fourth with Robertson fifth and Fluke in the all-important sixth spot – giving him reverse grid pole position for race two.
After the race the contact between Emery and Williamson resulted in 10 secs being added to the race time of Emery.
The grid for the second race was determined by reversing the top six finishing positions from race one. Fluke was joined by Robertson on the front row with Berryman and Ellis Jr on row two, Carroll and Job on row three. It was another neat and tidy start with the cars filing into the first corner without incident, Fluke led Robertson from Ellis Jr. In their scrap for position Carroll and Berryman went side-by-side, Berryman ran slightly wide and incurred a slow down penalty as a result dropping him down the order to P14. Another close fight for seventh soon emerged this time between Price, Mann, Moone and Williamson – Mann would come out on top.
Keen to advance up the order as fast as possible, Job made a successful challenge on Robertson for third place up the inside at Stowe. In his attempt to follow Job through, Carroll made contact with Robertson at Village, the latter spinning out, both drivers continued their races but Robertson was quickly involved in a separate incident further down the order. Emery was another driver seen spinning out of contention shortly afterwards. The order at the front was now Fluke from Ellis Jr and Job.
With 15 minutes of racing remaining Ellis Jr took the lead from Fluke, Job soon passed Fluke too leaving the championship rivals in first and second positions with a race to the flag ahead. Job gained a run on Ellis Jr out of The Loop which saw the pair run side-by-side down Hanger Straight, through Stowe and into Club – Job just edging ahead. The defensive battle for the race lead allowed Fluke and Sedgwick to gain ground making it a four car fight for victory. In the final five minutes of the race Ellis Jr was crawling all over Job trying everything he could to pass as they ran nose-to-tail in a nail-biting duel.
On the final lap off the race Ellis Jr went to the inside of Job at Vale giving his rival the inside line at Club, Ellis rounded the final corner of the final lap on the outside line pitching him into a 360-degree spin – he would cross the line spinning yet maintain his position – behind Fluke and Sedgwick were forced to take avoiding action. Job’s victory is his eighth of the season and sees him regain the championship lead ahead of the final weekend at Brands Hatch.
Following the race the incident between Berryman and Carroll on the opening lap –which saw Berryman run wide – resulted in Carroll having five secs added to his race time. Carroll received a further 10 sec time penalty for his incident with Robertson on lap five. For an incident between Emery and Miroslaw Nastalczyk on lap six, 10 secs was added to the race time of Nastalczyk. Carroll and Nastalczyk have now surpassed an accumulated penalty time of 30 seconds and will not be permitted to participate in qualifying for round 14 – as a result they will start from the back of the field.
The finale of the 2021 Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB championship takes place on Sunday 7 March for rounds 14 and 15 on the challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Job and Ellis Jr are now split by 11 points and will finalise their season-long battle for a share of the championship’s £14,000 prize pot (£7,000 for first, £5,000 for second and £2,500 for third place finishers) – fans will be able to follow the action live via broadcasts on the Porsche Twitch channel.
1st Sebastian Job 285
2nd Kevin Ellis Jr 274
3rd Graham Carroll 210