The first two rounds of the newly-founded Alpine eSports Series took place on the 15th of May and were broadcast last evening, which means we're clear off the embargo to report the spectacular endeavours of Victor Nicolae. He booked his place by being one of the fastest 24 sim racers out of more than 1100 that attempted the Silverstone time trials in Assetto Corsa Competizione.
The championship started with two heats at Monza - first there was a sprint race of 15 minutes for which Nicolae claimed a stunning pole position ahead of Jaroslaw Honzik (better know as Jardier), Fabien Jeanblanc and Paul Baty. The slipstreaming duel was frantic, with Nicolae and Honzik alternating several times in the lead. In the end, Jeanblanc got in the mix and relegated Nicolae to the third step of the podium.
The 25-minute main race at Monza saw Victor start down in 13th, which meant mid-pack trouble on lap one. He started his recovery from 19th and rose up to 12th, when a second incident with Baty further derailed his progress towards the points. He ended P16 overall and P14 in the PRO category in a race won by Gregor Schill (G2 eSports).
Next up there was Spa-Francorchamps with a mix of wet and dry running. The sprint race took place in the rain, with Nicolae missing out on his sole flying lap. From 31st, he blitzed the lower half of the field in just three minutes (in an onboard cut that you have to see!) then went on to follow Jeanblanc for the rest of the race in a spirited recovery drive. It was unrewarded as the Racing League Romania double champion was right below the line - P9 in PRO is the unlucky position of the first one not to score points. Fabien Piffet claimed the victory.
The main race at Spa saw Nicolae back on a good starting position, third on the grid. Unfortunately, the first passage through La Source saw him spun around by Honzik in a move that was labelled as "a rookie mistake" by the commentators. From 13th, Victor fought hard to recover in a pack with Jeanblanc, Doricott and Dimitrov. He crossed the line 6th in PRO to add three more points to his tally. Florian Bonjour made it four different winners in four races.
The final round of the Alpine eSports Series will be broadcast live on the 1st of June. It will take place at Paul Ricard, where Victor Nicolae aims to avoid trouble and score massively to get into the top five.