Formula Pro Series: Huis cruises to the Drivers’ Championship at home race

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports driver Bono Huis claimed the inaugural Formula Pro Series title in emphatic style at Zandvoort, but the teams' title is still up for grabs.

Formula Pro Series: Huis cruises to the Drivers’ Championship at home race

“The house always wins” is an Ocean’s Eleven quote that is becoming further cemented as the subtitle to this inaugural season of the Formula Pro Series.

Even in spite of a rare error last time out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bono Huis looked dead set to claim the Drivers’ title at his home round at Zandvoort.

 

Qualifying

The recently resurfaced track, lovingly recreated in rFactor 2, is a treat to watch cars fly around as we all found out at the first Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix for almost 30 years earlier this month.

It was truly no surprise that Mercedes-AMG’s shining star was fastest yet again although three other drivers found themselves within a single tenth of Huis. The hugely impressive Marcell Csincsik claimed second with Erhan Jajovski and Jeffrey Rietveld in close pursuit.

Particular intrigue surrounded the teams’ championship which remained wide open. The often mercurial Marko Pejic did well to slot in ahead of Kevin Siggy in fifth and sixth respectively.

Race

With overtaking opportunities expected to mirror reality by being hard to come by, the start was understandably tense in nature. Siggy was the big winner through jumping Pejic in the order whilst the only major incident of note lay in the mid-pack as Ibraheem Khan tangled with Jan Granqvist. The ensuing carnage would also collect Alex Siebel.

It wasn’t just the top end of the teams’ standings that was in focus at this point in the season of course. Relegation looms for the outfits finishing last and second to last, with Formula Challenge their destination underneath the trap door. Musto GD Esports was in desperate need of points sitting rock bottom of affairs and, initially, Manuel Biancolilla looked to give them a positive day with a top 10 place on the grid.

Sadly, the Italian jumped the start leading to a slam dunk drivethrough penalty; ending any hopes of a top 10 points finish. Jean Alesi Esports Academy wasn’t fairing much better as the gap to safety surely looked larger than it had ever done for either set of drivers. The other Musto GD Esports driver, Giordano Valeriano, wasn’t keeping out of trouble either, getting swept up in the lead battle under blue flag conditions. The result would see Rietveld passing Jajovski for third.

 

Over the next few laps, evidence was building to label Csincsik as the cork in a very volatile bottle of drivers. After some assistance with Jajovski, Rietveld went about pressuring the Varga pilot and successfully passed – albeit with scary contact – through the first few turns with 48 minutes left. The racing that ensued thereafter was frenetic as a recovering Csincsik, feisty Jajovski and eager Siggy wowed the audience despite no further positional changes.

All good things must come to an end however and this fantastic scrap did so in explosive fashion. A Csincsik mistake through Turn 10 just five minutes later was the catalyst for a slow Jajovski exit. Siggy, ever the natural predator, tried to catch the North Macedonian napping into Turn 11 but looked to steam down the inside too hot. Round went Jajovski, which caught Pejic and Toman lost a front wing to complete the company of misery.

Csincsik escaped unscathed whilst Burst Esports were jumping for joy as both drivers were promoted into the top six along with Risto Kappet. Of the frontrunners, the Estonian would be the first to pit and kick off the strategy game. Seizing the moment didn’t exactly work out for the now only R8G runner as battling with Michi Hoyer limited his overall pace. Dennis Jordan overcut Kappet before the other German then made his way through at Turn 10.

The group of Risto back would rage on until the very end of the race. Gianmarco Fiduci would lose position to a hugely impressive Siebel recovery drive whilst brake pedal issues for the terribly unfortunate Kappet would see him concede three places.

 

The top three were wholly unchallenged following the Siggy incident though. With Rietveld and Csincsik on the podium, Huis would win his fifth consecutive race, and with it, the first-ever Formula Pro Series drivers’ title.

The championship moves to Monza, Italy in two weeks' time. On 27th September we will see whether Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports can hold their slender advantage or if Team Redline can rally for one final push.

Formula Pro Series 2021, Round 5, Circuit Zandvoort, Race Results

  1. Bono Huis – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports – 50 laps
  2. Jeffrey Rietveld – Team Redline
  3. Marcell Csincsik – Varga Sim Racing
  4. Jernej Simončič – Burst Esports
  5. Dennis Jordan – Red Bull Racing Esports
  6. Michi Hoyer – Burst Esports
  7. Alex Siebel – Red Bull Racing Esports
  8. Gianmarco Fiduci – Team Fordzilla
  9. Martin Stefanko – Williams Esports
  10. Risto Kappet – R8G Esports
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