Beitske Visser became the inaugural W Series Esports League champion after a dominant display in Round Nine at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on iRacing.
The Dutch driver – runner-up in W Series’ maiden on-track season in 2019 – wrapped up the title with one Round to spare by winning two of the three races at the infamous German circuit. The 25-year-old also came from last to third in the reverse-grid race and set the fastest lap in two races for a total of 59 points.
Her closest W Series Esports League challenger, Marta Garcia, scored 11 fewer having finished the three races in second, fifth and second positions respectively, meaning Beitske leads the Spaniard by 68 points with a maximum of 63 available in the final round at Silverstone next Thursday.
The battle for third place in the W Series Esports League intensified as Nerea Marti outscored Irina Sidorkova by nine points to reduce the Russian’s lead over her to 27. Caitlin Wood is just two points behind fifth-placed Tasmin Pepper after the Australian’s podium finish in the final race.
Gabriela Jilkova became the seventh different W Series Esports League race-winner by coming from 13th on the grid to claim victory in the reverse-grid race. The 25-year-old Czech and Hannah Grisham returned to the grid for Round Nine following successful debuts a fortnight ago at Suzuka.
They were joined by a third guest driver in Germany, where Britain’s Charlie Martin, 38, finished the three races in 11th, eighth and 12th positions respectively. As guest drivers, the trio were not eligible to score W Series Esports League points.
The W Series Esports League table after Round Nine is as follows:
With @beitskevisser securing the #WSeriesEsportsLeague title, we now look to the rest of the leaderboard for the final round of the season. Anything could happen at Silverstone! pic.twitter.com/vs8iACvtgT
— W Series (@WSeriesRacing) August 6, 2020
Race 1: Beitske beat Marta to pole position by two seconds and the 10-minute, two-lap race got off to a clean start. The top eight retained their starting positions until four minutes in when Nerea passed Caitlin for third.
That put Caitlin under pressure from Gabriela, but the guest driver ran wide attempting to pass and was overtaken by Tasmin for fifth as a result. That sparked a prolonged wheel-to-wheel battle between the pair which ended with four minutes remaining when Tasmin spun to hand Gabriela the place back.
Beitske steadily built her advantage out front to take a comfortable victory by almost five seconds. Sarah Moore passed Naomi Schiff and Ayla Agren in the closing stages to finish eighth.
Race 2: Bruna Tomaselli took the lead from pole-sitter Vicky Piria at Turn One. Early errors by Jess Hawkins and Vicky were followed by a crash involving several of the midfield runners, promoting Beitske to ninth from last on the grid with less than two minutes gone, and she made further progress when Vicky ran wide from eighth place.
Naomi took the lead and Gabriela followed her past Bruna who then hit the wall – that and a mistake by Gosia Rdest putting Beitske up to sixth. With six minutes remaining, Gabriela passed Naomi for the lead of the race and Beitske went fourth thanks to Hannah’s error and an overtake on Irina.
Beitske took the final podium spot from Belen Garcia midway through the last lap and edged into second on the final straight, but Naomi fought back to secure a runner-up finish and her best W Series Esports League result.
Race 3: Marta ended Beitske’s run of seven straight W Series Esports League pole positions, but Beitske used the slipstream to pass Marta up the inside and take the lead with less than one minute gone. Marta ran wide while trying to fight back which let Caitlin through into second, but Marta regained the place by going later on the brakes at the end of lap one.
Just behind, Gabriela passed Nerea for fourth on the same straight, as Beitske crossed the line to start the second of three laps with an advantage of more than two seconds. Tasmin went from ninth to seventh in the space of a few corners when Hannah ran wide at Carousel and Naomi spun.
Marta risked everything on the final lap in an attempt to catch the leader and extend the title fight but, although she closed to within one second, Beitske held on to win the race and the W Series Esports League title.
The 10th and final Round is at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, United Kingdom, next Thursday, 13 August at 19:00 BST. Watch all the action on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and W Series’ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels.