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F1 Esports Series Pro Championship: Ronhaar takes maiden win in thrilling Austria race

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Haas F1 Esports Team’s Thomas Ronhaar took a stunning first victory in F1 Esports on Wednesday evening, fending off series veteran Frede Rasmussen in fine style.

Poleman Rasmussen led off the line in soggy conditions, but relinquished the lead on the opening lap at Turn 3 by running wide. He and Ronhaar traded blows several times, with the lead swapping between them three times, but the Dutch rookie held on for a memorable win in only his fourth race.

Esports Series Pro Championship: Rasmussen claims first victory of 2022 at Silverstone

Behind the top two, Josh Idowu came home to secure his first F1 Esports podium, after an intense fight for third between himself and Nicolas Longuet.

Wednesday's action in detail

Kicking off the day with the customary ultra-close qualifying session, the top seven were separated by just 0.064s. Rasmussen took pole, just nine milliseconds ahead of Ronhaar, setting up an intense race in prospect.

The weather arrived for the race itself, with light rain and a drenched track greeting the cohort on the grid. While Rasmussen led initially, he made an uncharacteristic mistake on the first lap, running wide at Turn 3 and dropping back behind Ronhaar.

READ MORE: Lucas Blakeley doubles up with Imola win in Round 2 of the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship

He was not the only Haas car in the ascendency, with Matthijs van Erven in the sister VF-22 shooting up to P13, having started in last place. With the track drying and no points on the horizon, Van Erven was among the first to blink, bolting on dry tyres. However, a penalty put paid to his points aspirations.

The next lap, the leaders were in with most opting for the hard tyres, but most notably Longuet emerged shod in the mediums. With the whole field on slicks by Lap 15, the race could have fallen into a settled state, but the top two had other ideas.

Rasmussen looked to make amends for his opening lap mistake on Lap 18, diving up the inside at Turn 3. However, Ronhaar returned the favour on Lap 20 to return things to the status quo.

READ MORE: McLaren Shadow’s Blakeley claims victory in opening round of 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship at Sakhir

Jarno Opmeer had a resurgent race, after a mistake in qualifying saw him line up P8 on the grid. Battling past Bari Boroumand, Brendon Leigh, Lucas Blakeley and Nicolas Longuet, Opmeer dug deep to ensure he stayed in the top half of the points, keeping touch with the leaders.

Behind Ronhaar, Rasmussen and Idowu, Opmeer picked up P4, followed by Longuet, and McLaren Shadow pair Blakeley and Boroumand. Dani Moreno came home eighth, with Marcel Kiefer ninth, and Simon Weigang rounded out the points.

The action resumes on Thursday evening, so head to the official F1 Esports Series website to follow the action live.

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