NGK & NTK Esports Cup: Round 5 Review – Rudskogen

March 8, 20247 min read

Round 5 Recap – Alexander Thiebe is in near full control of the series.

That is after his closest championship rival, Vince Peeters, had more penalties and crashes to deal with during the fifth round of the NGK & NTK Esports Cup at Rudskogen on March 1. Meanwhile, Thiebe scored his sixth race victory of the season in Norway during the round, likely scoring him the regular season title.

“I felt pretty good (about my) qualifying pace, but I hadn’t invested much time into long run practice. I was actually a bit struggling with the tires but everything was under control,” said Thiebe during RaceSpot TV’s post-race coverage.

In Race 1, despite Thiebe’s concerns over the tire wear for his Toyota GR86, the German driver had pulled away from the second place runner Patrik Thomsen by more than two seconds in less than 10 minutes. Thomsen was another second ahead of most of the other drivers at the time.

Part of that was because of Peeters.

While Thiebe pulled away from the pack, Peeters caught the field’s attention the wrong way by passing cars to the left of his starting line – the inside line – triggering an in-sim drive-through penalty to start the race. While the penalty is common on the oval racing side of iRacing due to the nature of rolling starts, it is rarely triggered on the road side. When Peeters served his penalty, it broke the pack up just enough for several drivers to lose the draft within the first few minutes of Race 1.

The other reason was because the pack was trying to find more cars. After Thomsen nearly spun his car in Turn 1, Daniel Muth, John Ehlen, and Yuanxi Lin passed by the Apex Racing Academy driver as he got back up to speed. The pack, which had five cars in it, was four seconds behind with about five laps to go.

By the final few laps, Thiebe’s tires had faded away.

“The track characteristic doesn’t fit low downforce cars well, so it’s really hard to be fast and keep the tires alive, It’s super easy to overshoot the corners and on the other hand, it’s pretty easy to oversteer in the middle of the corner. It’s really tricky to nail between these two extremes very well.”

Alexander Thiebe

However, despite Thiebe’s tires melting into the pavement, his early gap over the field helped carry him to his sixth race win in nine starts at that point. Muth, Lin, Thomsen, and Ehlen completed the first top five finishing order of the day. Luis Beilicke, who was also in the main pack most of the race, had a 10-second post-race penalty after being involved in two different incidents in as many laps early in the event.

Race 2 meanwhile had a much different tone set immediately.

As Harry Fox, Gary Lin, and Szymon Szczuczko led the field to green for the invert race, everyone who finished up front previously wanted to flip the field back immediately. Artur Gustems, Sophie Aeronwen, Artem Makarov, and many more crashed in Turn 1 after they and several others attempted to make passes while going five-wide into the braking zone.

Only one driver – Noor Hendricks – received mandatory repairs from the 10-car pileup. Peeters (10 seconds) and Tim Beilicke (20 seconds) however received time penalties from the incident during post-race review.

Moments later, Thiebe lost his chance to sweep the round after two drivers – Beilicke and Spanish motorcycle racer Tanguy De Cock – made contact in Sector 2. Beilicke had turned De Cock on corner exit, who was making his debut in the series. De Cock’s car then came back into Beilicke, sending Beilicke sliding back across the track, directly into Thiebe’s left rear tire.

“The car (Beilicke) just came to the inside line and I tried to avoid that and I just couldn’t. There was no space to avoid that and there was nothing I could do. Luckily I didn’t get a meatball flag … I got some damage, though. The whole side of my car was scratched and deformed. I also could feel it, especially in a few corners that my car wasn’t there (handling-wise).”

Alexander Thiebe

As chaos once again took control in the back, Fox maintained control of the lead for much of the race. That lasted until the final seven minutes when Bolivian driver Franco Sanchez Buckley, who was making his series debut, passed Fox. However, at the same time, Thomsen, Peeters, and Thiebe were all reeling in the leaders by a second a lap.

With four laps to go, Thomsen was the closest to Buckley to capitalize. After waiting two laps to make a move, Thomsen started upping the intensity of the main pack by trying to nudge Buckley out of the way coming to the white flag. As Buckley tried to aggressively defend Thomsen, the latter driver attempted to bump and run the leader out of the way several times. As the two traded paint, Fox remained within a second of the two, keeping distance just in case. However, despite the multiple bumps from Thiebe, Buckley held on to take his first win in the series.

Fox, Thiebe, and Ehlen rounded out the top five. While Thiebe filed multiple protests after the race in response to Buckley’s defensive moves, Buckley was given just a warning to leave more room when defending in the future.

Watch Race On Demand

The next round of the NGK & NTK Esports Cup will take place at the virtual Oulton Park on March 14, 2024. For sign-up details, go to https://www.racespot.tv/ngk-ntk/.

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Wil Vincent

I am the Editor in Chief of RaceSpot News, and one of the Co-Founders of RaceSpot TV & RaceSpot Live Events. I have been involved in Sim Racing Esports broadcasting since 2011 as a commentator, producer, project manager and journalist, covering some of the largest Sim Racing Esports events in the world.


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