Redline wins virtual Le Mans, Verstappen crashes out of lead - The Race
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Redline wins virtual Le Mans, Verstappen crashes out of lead

Jan 16 2022
By Nathan Quinn

Inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual winners Williams Esports, running in this year’s race as Rebellion GPX Esports, were beaten to the win in the 2022 edition by Realteam Hydrogen Redline.

Behind the wheel of the winning team were Formula E’s Oliver Rowland and Formula 2 driver Felipe Drugovich along with simracers Jeffrey Rietveld and Michal Smidl.

In qualifying it was Rietveld who took pole position for the team, beating Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen in the sister Team Redline car by 0.002s.

Verstappen also started the race for the #123 car and took the lead of the race on the opening lap just after exiting the Dunlop chicane.

From there the Dutchman pulled out a gap over the cars behind until just over seven hours into the race where he lost control of the car entering the Ford chicane and crashed into the tyre barrier.

The hit was enough to take the rear left tyre off the car and force the team to retire.

Le Mans Virtual Realteam Hydrogen Redline Pic 2

They weren’t the first frontrunning LMP team to retire as Mercedes suffered a blown engine less than three hours into the race due to a double downshift by sometime DTM race winner Dani Juncadella.

Another team that was in contention for a place on the podium was Veloce Esports whose four-driver lineup includes World’s Fastest Gamer winner James Baldwin. The crew was running in third place with three hours to go until they ran out of fuel.

Ultimately it was Floyd ByKolles-Burst rounding out the podium one lap down the winners, its crew featuring Tom Dillmann, Jernej Simoncic and Jesper Pedersen, who all finished second overall in the previous 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, along with Bent Viscaal.

In the GTE category it was a familiar battle out at the front with Team Redline and Coanda Simsport fighting between themselves for the class win.

One of Coanda’s entries, the #92 car, was taken out of the race with nine and a half hours to go after contact with one of the LMP cars. Tommy Ostgaard was driving the Porsche Esports Team-branded Coanda entry at the time and he was hit by Nicolas Varrone in the Panis Racing car, which sent Ostgaard into the tyre barrier at high speed. Varrone was given a drive-through penalty for the contact.

BMW Team Redline, featuring Rudy van Buren, Lorenzo Colombo, Enzo Bonito and Kevin Siggy, ultimately won in the GTE category and beat the #91 Porsche Esports Team by 34 seconds.

The Le Mans 24 Hours Virtual was the final race in the Le Mans Virtual Series, which had a $250,000 prize pool. Half of the prize pool was awarded according to the results of this season-ending race, with the other half being distributed according to the championship points standings.

Wins for Realteam Hydrogen Redline and BMW Team Redline means both teams have won their respective championships. In the LMP standings Realteam Hydrogen Redline beat the team that entered the final race as the points leaders, Floyd ByKolles-Burst.

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