In the span of one week, István Puki went from being relatively unknown to a race winner in the top F1 22 league racing communities, defeating big-name F1 Esports drivers.
Image credit: F1 Esports
Drivers who compete in the F1 Esports Pro Championship, they are often left for the majority of the year looking for something else to do. Subsequently, the likes of Jarno Opmeer, Bari Boroumand and Thomas Ronhaar will compete in weekly F1 game league racing communities.
The two most prominent leagues are Premier Sim Gaming Leagues and World Online Racing, which provide F1 Esports fans with some fierce competition to view on Wednesday and Sunday evenings respectively. Both seasons are currently at their halfway points, and it’s Ronhaar who leads both championships.
But someone who has really raised their stock as a result of starring performances in both leagues is a driver by the name of István Puki. Despite being only on reserve duties in PSGL and WOR, he has delivered results to really upset the established running order.
Who is István Puki?
Puki is currently a driver for Parnell Racing, the team of Red Bull F1 Esports driver Liam Parnell. Prior to this year, perhaps his biggest claim to fame was a sixth place championship finish in F1 Esports Challengers on PC. Through this, he was eligible for selection in the 2020 Pro Draft. But even before that, he actually made quite a big impact.
He finished fifth in the 15th season of Apex Online Racing’s top PC tier, which was the most major F1 league at the time. Two-time F1 Esports champion Brendon Leigh dominated that season, with Marcel Kiefer and Dani Bereznay finishing second and third. Puki, though, finished ahead of 2017 F1 Esports runner-up Fabrizio Donoso.
Around that time, Puki also competed in an F1 Esports qualifying race and won it, beating now-known F1 Esports quantities Nicolas Longuet, Filip Prešnajder and Sebastian Job. So with those credentials, how come is it such a sudden surprise that he’s a race winner in the top F1 22 leagues?
Making An Impact
Puki told OverTake that he hasn’t been performing at his peak for many years. Aside from Challengers, he wasn’t taking many other competitions anywhere near as seriously. However, once he picked up F1 22, he upgraded his hardware and joined Parnell Racing. According to Puki, he decided after joining the team to “give it [his] all and see how it goes”. Evidently, his hard work has paid off.
On 26 February, it was WOR’s sixth round of Season 14 and the drivers were racing at a rainy Paul Ricard. In the dying laps, the leading battle consisted of Puki, Will Lewis, F1 Esports protégé Otis Lawrence and real world single seater racer Joseph Loake.
Initially, Puki looked to be out of the fight after incurring an automated in-game time penalty for track extending, but that was later lifted by the organisers. It was determined that he had been trying to avoid a spinning car in one of those instances.
Initially, Lawrence took the win on the road. But, after a report was filed for an incident involving Will Lewis, he was awarded a penalty which meant Puki was the winner. Riding that high, Puki then took part in PSGL’s seventh round. He completely aced it.
It was a mixed-condition race and many drivers found themselves on the wrong tyres, having to make multiple pit stops. Puki was the first one on the road to be on the right tyres and even with Bari Boroumand recovering from making too many stops, nobody could get within touching distance of Puki.
For the second time in the space of a couple of days, Puki took victory in one of the most competitive F1 22 leagues against many Pro Championship-calibre drivers.
Puki has qualified for the next season of F1 Esports Challengers, which, according to sources, looks set to begin in April. This is the official championship for Pro Championship prospects to compete in with the hopes of entering into the Pro Exhibition event. They will then have the chance to directly impress the teams in the hopes of getting signed.
In the meantime, expect to find Puki and the others competing in various F1 leagues, primarily PSGL and WOR. Who knows what the future holds for Puki. Perhaps he will end up in the Pro Championship later this year.
Which F1 league racers do you think will compete in the Pro Championship this year? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!