Alfa Romeo’s Opmeer leads after first round of F1 Pro Series

FILE PHOTO: Esports - A look into Renault F1's esports facility
FILE PHOTO: Esports - Renault F1 Esports Facility Tour - Whiteways Technical Centre, Enstone, Britain - November 25, 2019. Jarno Opmeer, F1 Esports driver for Renault Sport Team smiles. Picture taken November 25, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

October 16, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Alfa Romeo’s Jarno Opmeer secured his second win in three virtual races to lead the 2020 F1 esports pro series on Thursday.

The Dutch gamer, a former Renault junior academy driver, won on the Chinese Grand Prix circuit to follow up his victory in Wednesday’s opener around the Bahrain layout.

Ferrari’s 2019 esports champion David Tonizza won the second race of the series, also on Wednesday, around a virtual Vietnam Grand Prix circuit but failed to score on Thursday.

Tonizza and team mate Enzo Bonito were disconnected early in the race, their cars then driven by the computer, and were classified 19th and 20th.

Opmeer leads the championship by 24 points after three podiums, with Marcel Kiefer second for Red Bull. Alfa Romeo led the team standings.

The next round of the pro series is on Nov 4-5 with races around the virtual Dutch, Austrian and Canadian Grand Prix circuits.

The fourth official Formula One Esports Series has a prize fund of $750,000 this year, up from $500,000 in 2019. Drivers representing the 10 real F1 teams are competing remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Richard Pullin)