The first round of the Formula E: Accelerate 2021 series took place on January 28. The return of the Formula E series to their esports ways features some of esports racing's best drivers. Among the line-up are the current F1 Esports Pro Series 2020 champion Jarno Opmeer, F1 esports team champion Frede Rasmussen and real-world driver Kelvin van der Linde. But others were the ones to make the biggest noise. The established rFactor 2 driver Erhan Jajovski was 'driver of the day' made a clear statement that he can compete with the best of the best.
Jajovski on pole
The maiden round of Formula E: Accelerate took place on the virtual circuit of New York, which can prove tricky sometimes. A few tight corners and short squeezes can really make or break a lap, like the right hand hairpin at the end of the lap. Here, Formula E driver Sam Brid shows us how it's done:
.@SamBirdOfficial gets in the sim to show us what a lap of the New York track looks like!— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) January 28, 2021
Watch Formula E: Accelerate to see how the sim racers get on! 👉 https://t.co/24D5nCEPCZ#FEAccelerate pic.twitter.com/FunUenn2hZ
In Formula E: Accelerate, every driver only gets one lap to set a time. The field is split into groups of five drivers who are on track at the same time. It proved to be an airtight qualifying as the drivers took to the track. A strong showing by F1 esports prospect Manuel Biancolilla seemed to earn him pole position until the North-Macedonian Erhan Jajovski found a hair's width of time and snatched the top starting position by nine thousands of a second.
Driver of the 2021 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, Graham Carroll slotted in behind in P3 with a strong showing as well. He was only 0.019 seconds off the leader's pace.
King of New York
The anticipation for the race was immense. The top ten drivers were separated by a mere by 0.3 seconds in qualifying and that promised nothing short of excitement for the race. When the lights turned green, the start went as follows:
As the race developed, leader Jajovski managed to build a sizable lead to his competitors behind him. While the former World's Fastest Gamer participant was en route to a dominant victory, the battle for the podium places was as close as ever until the clock struck zero.
In the end, a time penalty booted Graham Carroll from the podium places. But the story of the day was a fantastic start-to-finish performance by Erhan Jajvoski. The North-Macedonian racer seemed to have the best grip on track and work exceptionally well with the new 'attack mode' feature implemented in this year's series. The system is very much like ERS in Formula 1 - it provides a boost when you press a button.
Mediocre results for F1 champ
The expectation for some racers was left unanswered after round one of Formula E: Accelerate. F1 esports champion Jarno Opmeer only managed 7th place, while Frederik Rasmussen finished in 10th. Opmeer, who recently announced his move to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team from Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen Esports shared his thoughts on Twitter, saying he's still happy with his performance.
Struggled for pace being in the first qualifying group but still happy with my performance in my first Formula E race.🤟 https://t.co/mRkquowt49— Jarno Opmeer (@jarno_opmeer) January 28, 2021
Rasmussen explained that his midfield finish was down to a small misunderstanding of the rules.
p10 in first #FEAccelerate race, i misunderstood some rules and didnt know what to do in qualifying+track state was alot slower for me since i was in group 1 so i started p16😂should be alot better next time#ABBFormulaE— Frederik Rasmussen (@G2Frede) January 28, 2021
The next race will be on February 4 at 8 pm CET at a yet to be announced circuit. Watch out in the next few days for updates.
What did you think of the first round of Formula E: Accelerate? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg!