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Esports

Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team unlucky to lose V10-R League final

In a dramatic finale, the V10-R League went down to the last race of the season as Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team slipped to a narrow 2-1 defeat to BMW Sim Racing Team. 

V10-R League

Lucas Blakeley, Daniele Haddad and Shanaka Clay entered the final in strong form after defeating Formula One rivals Williams and McLaren in the playoffs.

The run ensured Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team progressed further in the competition than any other Formula One outfit, following a regular season in which the team finished second in Group A.  

In a change to the usual format, it was V10-R League themselves who selected the circuits for the final, opting for Silverstone and Yas Marina. 

With one Team and one Relay race across each track, it was all to play for as both sides went in search of the title, starting with the Relay Race at Silverstone. 

BMW had taken pole for the Silverstone opener, but it counted for little as Daniele rapid launch helped him overhaul Kevin Siggy heading into the first corner.

Daniele would lead until his pitstop to hand over to Lucas Blakeley, but, unfortunately, the Scot left the pits 0.001s too early, incurring a costly three-second penalty.

Despite the best efforts of Lucas and Shanaka, the team could only finish 1.7s clear of BMW at the flag, handing the German manufacturer a 1-0 lead.

There was an immediate setback in the Team Race as the six drivers went head-to-head. BMW locked out the front row, but Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team made the stronger start.

Lucas went around the outside of the BMW polesitter and was set to claim the lead, but contact then dropped him and Shanaka down to the rear of the field.

BMW’s Siggy retained the lead but Alen Terzic then rear-ended Daniele on entry into Brooklands, ruining the Italian’s race in a tricky start to the Team Race.

Shanaka would avoid the chaos and climb to third, with Lucas following in fourth. Terzic would earn a five-second time penalty for the incident with Daniele, promoting the Italian to fifth, but it wasn’t enough to allow Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team to pull level going into the Yas Marina races.

Track limits proved to be the decider in the Relay Race and kept the stewards busy post-race, but it was still a dramatic encounter throughout.

Polesitter Daniele ran side-by-side with Siggy into Turn One before having to back out and take second place. He kept in pursuit of Siggy throughout the lap, keeping the deficit below one second, before Lucas took over for the second stint.

Lucas would make a move around the outside on the brakes, only for Terzic to make contact and run wide as he kept his place in front of the Scot. At the second attempt, Lucas powered past Terzic and defended resolutely to hold fifth until the end.  

Fourteen track limit violations earned BMW a five-second time penalty, while seven such infringements cost Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team three seconds.

Having lost the race by 1.3 seconds on the track, the post-race decisions were enough to give Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team the win, keeping the title fight alive into the final race.

It all came down to the deciding Team Race at the Yas Marina Circuit as Lucas, Daniele and Shanaka went head-to-head with their BMW rivals.

Our season in numbers
3.5000000000000004
Number of matches
2
Match wins
4.5
Regular season team points
49
Regular season driver points

The fight for the title took a bitter twist at the first corner. Daniele’s start proved difficult, allowing Lucas past into second place – but fourth-placed Romanidis tapped the rear of Daniele, forcing him into a spin that also collected his team-mate.

Shanaka would pick up the baton in third, as Daniele and Lucas re-joined in fourth and sixth, and moved into second after pouncing on a Terzic error.

Daniele would hound Terzic across the remainder of the race as both he and Lucas battled valiantly to take the victory that would help turn the title fight in their favour.

The Italian would get past Terzic on the third lap of five as Lucas became the fastest man on track in the hunt to move fifth.

Lucas would make a move around the outside on the brakes, only for Terzic to make contact and run wide, keeping the place over the Scot. At the second attempt, Lucas powered past Terzic and defended resolutely to hold fifth until the end.

Shanaka would fight for the lead throughout the last lap, relentlessly pressing Siggy into the final corners, but he was unable to make the move that would have helped seal the title.

BMW, therefore, took the victory to win the title 2-1, despite a post-race penalty for Romanidis’s error at the race start, which ultimately proved pivotal to the match.

Quater final

Victory over Williams

Semi final victory

Defeating McLaren