October 13, 2022
McLaren Shadow driver Bari Boroumand took an exhilarating first win on Thursday evening, prevailing over Frede Rasmussen for victory at Spa.
Boroumand missed out on pole, but shared the front row with Rasmussen after another ultra-close qualifying battle earlier in the day. After 22 laps, Boroumand was nose-to-tail with his rival but crucially held on as the chequered flag fell.
The result makes it two first-time winners in a row, after Thomas Ronhaar broke his duck on Wednesday around the Red Bull Ring. Click here for the lowdown on that race.
Starting from pole for a third race in succession, Rasmussen was keen not to repeat his error from Austria. There were no such issues in Belgium, with the Dane keeping his lead off the line, with Boroumand and Josh Idowu nestled in behind.
The main protagonist in the first half of the race was Lucas Blakeley, the Scot having opted for the medium tyres, contrary to the rest of the field on the hards. Blakeley cleaved his way through those ahead, disposing of Idowu on Lap 3, getting let past team mate Boroumand on Lap 4, and finally getting Rasmussen down the Kemmel Straight on Lap 5.
This contra strategy relied heavily on stretching a lead on his compound advantage, and at the end of Lap 7, he dipped into the pit lane to switch to the hard tyres, emerging at the back.
For everyone else, it was a case of choosing when to ditch the hards for the mediums. For most, the answer to that question was around Lap 11-12. Boroumand had come out behind his team mate, but with the Iranian driver now holding the grippier tyres, he got past with ease to take the net lead of the race.
With the win slowly slipping from his grasp, it soon became a case of holding on to as many positions as possible the championship leader. Rasmussen made his move on Lap 17 to take second, setting his cross-hairs on Boroumand ahead.
And while the fight at the front was enticing, there was another battle raging on just behind, with Josh Idowu on a crusade for another podium. After dispatching his team mate Sebastian Job on Lap 18, he then got ahead of Blakeley on the next tour to put himself third for the second race in succession.
The final lap was perhaps the most intense of the season so far, Rasmussen bearing down on Boroumand. But it wasn’t enough, and F1 Esports’ newest winner materialised, just a day after Thomas Ronhaar achieved the same feat!
Blakeley came home fourth behind Boroumand, Rasmussen and Idowu, with Job fifth, and Jarno Opmeer sixth after recovering from an early Q2 knock-out in qualifying. Ronhaar wound up seventh, with Nicolas Longuet, David Tonizza and Simon Weigang compleing the points.
The result leaves Blakeley with a slender lead at the top of the standings, his 85 points just keeping him ahead of Rasmussen on 80. Ronhaar slots into third with 61 points, with Boroumand fourth on a tally of 52.
The third and final race of the second event gets going on Friday, with qualifying from Zandvoort commencing at 1430 UTC on Twitch and YouTube. Catch you there!
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