By Kyran Gibbons May 7, 2018 Autosport
The final two members of the Fernando Alonso-affiliated G2 eSports team were among this week’s qualifiers to progress to the Pro Draft stage of Formula 1’s virtual series.
In what was the final week of qualification, all three races were completed on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.
The top three drivers from each race progressed to the Pro Draft phase, where they will compete to be chosen by one of nine real-life F1 teams to represent them in the next stage of the series.
G2’s Price claimed victory in an incident-packed Xbox race. After starting third on the grid, he made contact with second-placed Chris Holstein while trying to pass on the inside at Mirabeau on the opening lap.
Holstein was pitched into the outside wall and had to make an early pitstop for a new front wing.
After undercutting his way to the lead during the pitstop phase, Price – who was a finalist in McLaren’s ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ series – dominated the remainder of the race to claim victory.
Only five of the 10 cars reached the chequered flag. Olli Pahkala climbed from ninth on the grid to finish second. Kyle Mitchell qualified for the Pro Draft by finishing third.
After further contact at Mirabeau later in the race necessitated another pitstop, Holstein eventually recovered to fourth place with consecutive fast laps in the closing stages.
“Those were tricky incidents to judge,” said Holstein of the two incidents at Mirabeau. “I had my part [to play], as well as the other drivers to try to avoid them.”
Regarding his lap one contact with Holstein, Price told Autosport; “I did everything I could to avoid him but sadly he overcorrected and hit the wall.”
On the PC platform, Martin Stefanko controlled the race to claim a comfortable victory from pole.
Price’s G2 eSports team-mate Nestor Garcia finished second, despite suffering front wing damage on lap four of 20.
Garcia’s qualification means that all-six G2 eSports drivers have qualified for the Pro Draft phase of the competition.
Aleski Korsman ended up third. He crossed the line in fourth but was promoted after Aurelien Talmon – who put significant pressure on Garcia in the closing stages – was penalized for track limits infringements.
Less than a second covered the top three for the majority of the PS4 race, with this lead group building a comfortable margin over the rest of the field.
Guillem Machacon Lobato converted pole position into victory. He was followed home by David Tonizza, who jumped third-placed Lucas Blakeley by making his pitstop one lap earlier.
Nico Fiore disconnected from the race while running in third place on the second lap.
Prospective wildcard entries to the next round of the competition will be assessed between June 11-17, with four drivers to be added to the 36 already qualified. The Pro Draft will take place on July 9.