NGK & NTK Esports Cup: Round 4 Review – Hockenheimring

February 19, 202410 min read

Penalties, penalties, and more penalties.

Crashes and the time penalties associated with them made headlines after a crash-filled round of the NGK & NTK Esports Cup. Alexander Thiebe (Race 1) and Kagan Spark (Race 2) took checkered flags at iRacing’s virtual Hockenheimring on Feb. 16, but several championship contenders, including Vince Peeters and John Ehlen, had at least 15 seconds of penalties combined in their races. In total five drivers received time penalties from Race Control, and after at least half the field crashed in Race 2, no drivers elected to take part in post-race media discussions with RaceSpot TV’s broadcast teams.

Race 1 Recap

On a brighter note, Race 1 was a thriller for drivers and spectators. Apex Racing Academy’s Patrik Thomsen made his series debut in standout fashion by setting the pole at the National A layout by 0.096 seconds over Peeters. Alexander Thiebe, Nikolas Nolde, and Yuanxi Lin rounded out the top five starting spots.

As those five drivers looked to pull away on the opening lap, the incidents started quickly. As drivers charged into Turn 6, Tamas Simon made door-to-door contact with Ehlen in the battle for sixth place. Simon bobbled and wiggled his wheel for several seconds before turning across Ehlen’s front nose. Ehlen responded by finishing Simon’s spin by sending him into the wall. Simon immediately left the virtual paddock and did not take part in the rest of the round.

With the crash behind them splitting the field, Thomsen, Thiebe, Peeters, and Nolde ran away from the rest of the field by more than two seconds. Those four drivers were averaging lap times half a second quicker than everyone else by the midway point of the race. Then, with 12 minutes to go, Thiebe went into full send mode.

Thiebe, who was shuffled to fourth place, lunged his Toyota GR86 to the inside of Nikolas Nolde into Turn 6. The move also opened the door for Peeters to move into third place. This all allowed Thomsen to break away from the rest of the leaders by a couple seconds, but that large lead did not last long. Within three minutes, Thiebe reeled in Thomsen. As Thiebe tried to drive side-by-side for the lead, Peeters and Nolde both pushed Thomsen down the straightaways.

A few moments later, Thomsen tried to fight back by bouncing off Thiebe’s right-side door in Turn 6. The move caused Thomsen’s car to slide off the corner exit, giving Thiebe the lead with two minutes to go. Thiebe would go on to beat Thomsen and Nolde by nearly two seconds, with Peeters and Alessio Bender completing the top five.

Of note, Peeters had a five-second time penalty in Race 1 after making contact with Nolde on the final lap. That placed him just two-tenths of a second ahead of Bender in the official race results.

Race 2 Recap

Race 2 was even more wild.

Spark, who had been disqualified from Race 1 within five laps, started on the pole for the final sprint race of the day alongside Marcus Hudson This is due to the inverted grid system that is used for the series, where at present, even disqualified drivers form part of the reverse grid process.

It took all of five seconds for the race leaders from the previous 25-minute sprint to crash. After being sent into a three-wide battle in the back, Michael Haflidason was spun around straight into the path of Nolde. Then, on the next lap, Thiebe crashed out after Mario Vehlgut was slammed out of the way by Peeters. Vehlgut then spun in a circle exiting Turn 1, leaving Thiebe no place to go but into his door.

Thiebe, along with Artur Gustems, were out of the race within the first five minutes.

“Vince, you were using everyone as blue shells. Jeez,” said Thomsen in the official Discord server in response to Peeters’s apologies to the field.

When asked if that quote could be used for this recap (and Thomsen’s encouragement), Peeters responded by posting a SpongeBob SquarePants meme that asked “want to see me do it again?” In the same discussion thread, Thiebe posted a simple gif of a crash test dummy celebrating having a successful test to describe his Race 2:

This proves important, and should prove to be a reminder to The Rock / Cody Rhodes / Roman Reigns and the WWE. To make something big happen, you don’t need a shiny press conference and slapping people in the face, you just need a good old fashioned GIF war.

Meanwhile, up front, Spark was trying to hold onto his lead. Harry Fox, along with Naz Addati, Mergim Aliu, Peeters, Ehlen, and Thomsen, started to work together to chip away the gap to Spark. They got to within two seconds of the leader with six minutes on the clock. With time now being very urgent, Peeters went back into launch mode, passing both Addati and Aliu in one corner to move into second place on track with a lap to go.

Peeters closed the gap to under a car length at the line as Spark pulled off the upset victory. However, Peeters had accrued 10 seconds worth of time penalties in Race 2 from the (alleged) Blue Shell moments, moving him officially to eighth place in the results. This means that officially, Addati, Aliu, Bender, and Mike Barber closed out the day in the top five.

The Official Penalty Sheet (TL;DR, a lot of them)

NFA: Car #81 (Michael Haflidason)

Race Control reviewed Michael Haflidason’s qualifying run after noting an off-track in Sector 3.

“The stewards determined that Car #81 did not gain a lasting advantage by going off track.”

Time Penalty (Race 1): Car #22 (Vince Peeters)

Vince Peeters has been given a five-second time penalty for Race 1 after an incident on Lap 16, Turn 6.

“Car #22 failed to maintain the inside line into Corner 6, resulting in minor contact with Car #12 (Nikolas Nolde).”

Time Penalties (Race 2): Car #5 (John Ehlen)

After three different drivers protested John Ehlen, he has been given a combined 20 seconds in time penalties for Race 2. The first incident happened on Lap 15 with Car #15 (Harry Fox). Two different drivers filed protests for the incident. Ehlen was given a 10-second penalty for that contact. Earlier in Race 2, Ehlen also had contact with Car #882 (Szymon Szczuczko), which also led to a 10-second time penalty.

“Car #5 did not establish enough overlap to claim the inside line into Turn 11, leading to a collision with the rear of Car #15.”

“At the exit of Corner 7, car #5 hit the back of Car #882, causing Car #882 to spin. Stewards deemed Car #5 at fault for the rear contact.”

Time Penalty (Race 2): Car #22 (Vince Peeters) & Car #29 (Patrik Thomsen)

After an incident on Lap 1 of Race 2, Vince Peeters has been given a 10-second penalty, moving out of the top five of the official results.

“Car #22 hit the back of Car #11 (Alessio Bender) in the braking zone approaching the apex, causing Car #11 to be unbalanced and forcing Car #29 (Patrik Thomsen) to take avoiding action.”

However… Race Control has also issued a Management Review penalty due to Thomsen’s re-join in the Peeters-Bender incident. Thomsen also has been issued a 10-second time penalty for Race 2 as a result.

“Stewards determined that Car #29 rejoined the circuit in an unsafe manner, resulting in a collision with Car #11 (Bender), causing the latter to spin.”

Got that all? We just about did!

Watch Race On Demand

The next round of the NGK & NTK Esports Cup will take place at the virtual Rudskogen on March 3, 2024. For sign-up details, go to https://www.racespot.tv/ngk-ntk/.

Upvote / Downvote This Article.

9 People voted this article. 9 Upvotes - 0 Downvotes.

What's Your Reaction To This Article?

Justin Prince

Justin Prince

My name is Justin Prince. Since 2018, I have been broadcasting races with RaceSpot TV. I also have experience calling several iRacing World Championship Series over the past seven years. However, I also have more than 10 years of freelance reporting/journalism experience with various groups and companies.


What do you think?

Show comments / Leave a comment

Leave a reply