*Real WTCR drivers, including King of WTCR Michelisz, take on simracing counterparts *Esports WTCR records fall as 5505 enter virtual competition *Professional online racers from top teams including FA (Fernando Alonso) Racing Esports, Red Bull Racing Esports and Williams Esports compete for honour *Thrilling races streamed live to fans staying safe at home amid coronavirus pandemic

Hungarian drivers Gergo Baldi and Zoltán Csuti shared the wins for M1RA Esports in two epic races as the pre-season Esports WTCR series began at a virtual Hungaroring on RaceRoom on Monday evening (6 April).

Baldi wins Race 1 from the front, Homola best WTCR driver
Baldi (Hyundai i30 N TCR) led from pole position to the chequered flag in Race 1 with Moritz Löhner (Williams Esports) a constant threat in a CUPRA TCR, the German setting the fastest lap on his way to second place, a mere 0.267s behind Baldi after 14 action-packed laps.

Poland’s Kuba Brzezinski (Williams Esports / Lynk & Co 03 TCR) – the Esports WTCR live final winner in Kuala Lumpur last December – took third, one place ahead of Slovakia-based Hungarian Bence Bánki (Red Bull Esports / Honda Civic Type R TCR), the 2018 Esports WTCR online champion. Briton Jack Keithley placed fifth for Williams Esports in an Audi RS 3 LMS as 11 seconds covered the first 18 finishers, such was the intensity of the racing.

Slovakia’s Mato Homola (Hyundai i30 N TCR) was the best of the real-life WTCR racers in P18, followed by Argentine Esteban Guerrieri (Honda Civic Type R TCR) and Dutchman Niels Langeveld (Audi RS 3 LMS). Hungary’s original gamer-turned-racer and 2019 WTCR title winner Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai i30 N TCR) and Portugal’s Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic Type R TCR) were next to finish.

Csuti profits as rivals collide in Race 2, Ehrlacher wins WTCR battle
Hungarian Zoltán Csuti made the most of a late clash between Germany’s long-time leader Tim Heinemann and Poland’s Nikodem Wisniewski (Williams Esports / Hyundai i30 N TCR) to win Race 2 ahead of German Alexander Dornieden (FA Racing Esports / Lynk & Co).

Heinemann, who started from the reverse-grid pole after finishing P10 in Race 1 and had resisted intense pressure from Wisniewski, salvaged third with Hungary’s Adam Pinczes (Williams JIM Esports / CUPRA TCR) fourth. Wisniewski took fifth following further contact with Heinemann. Race 1 winner Baldi finished eighth and holds a five-point championship lead over fellow M1RA Esports driver Csuti.

Frenchman Yann Ehrlacher (Lynk & Co 03 TCR), who retired in Race 1, was the leading WTCR driver in P17 as Mato Homola recovered from early contact to finish P19. Spain’s Mikel Azcona (CUPRA TCR) was P20 with Italian Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR) P22 and Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic Type R TCR) P23. Esteban Guerrieri was eliminated in a multi-car collision on lap one.

WTCR drivers entertain fans, promotes #RaceAtHome message
The 11 WTCR drivers in action took part to entertain fans, while they wait the start of the 2020 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season, and promote the FIA’s #RaceAtHome campaign, which encourages people to stay safe at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

As none of the them have the opportunity to practice extensively like the leading professional simracers do, there was a difference in lap times. However, the WTCR drivers all succeeded in contributing to two high-action races supported by TrackTime, TAG Heuer and KW Suspensions.

Formula One flavour for pre-season Esports WTCR opener
Teams with a Formula One flavour were in action in the pre-season Esports WTCR opener. FA Racing Esports – the squad co-founded by two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso – Williams Esports and Red Bull Racing Esports all had drivers competing on RaceRoom’s top server.

First pre-season Esports WTCR event proves popular
A prelude to the full Esports WTCR online championship due to begin later this year, the event attracted 5505 entries, while the server one action was streamed live on the WTCR’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The live stream was also cross-posted on a number of Facebook pages.

Results and standings:

Missed the action?
Watch the replays here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZu47m-jOzc

What’s next?
Event: Slovakia Rin

Time attack started: 21h00 CET, 31 March
Qualifying ends: 21h00 CET, 14 April
Multiplayer race live: 19h30 CET, 20 April

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