• 4x F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel makes virtual racing debut in Torque Esports-created event
  • Juan Pablo Montoya takes points lead in Legends Trophy
  • Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports take early points Pro Cup lead with two wins
  • Jernej Simoncic takes narrow Sim Masters lead with opening win

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Saturday, May 2, 2020) – The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports team, two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and sim racing ace Jernej Simoncic lead the points in their respective classes after the opening race of series two of The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones UK.

While the three point leaders had impressive days, it was four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who stole the headlines with a late entry into today’s Legends Trophy event.

After being supplied with a simulator by Torque Esports company Allinsports, Vettel made his first appearance in esports competition doing battle with the likes of Montoya, race two winner Adrian Fernandez and fellow ex-Formula 1 World Champions Emerson Fittipaldi and Jenson Button.

Vettel may have only finished 15th and 12th, respectively, in the two races today, but the Ferrari ace was unlucky in both – getting caught up in incidents that were not his fault on the rFactor 2 virtual version of the former home of the Malaysian Grand Prix

Montoya finished the day as the Legends Trophy points leader. He led home Button and ex-24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro in race one while finishing fifth in the reverse grid race, which was won by Fernandez over factory Aston Martin Le Mans winner Darren Turner and Pirro.

The Colombian was able to avoid first-lap drama in the opening race to take the victory.

“It was insane at the start. The problem with these cars is that when you touch, the thing takes off everywhere, and you don’t know where you’re going to head out,” Montoya said.

“I just tried to stay out of everybody’s way, and the road kind of cleared for me.

“I was driving and sliding around, and I had a lead of seven seconds. You just think ‘don’t worry’ but even when you say ‘don’t worry’, you’re still about to fly off at the next corner.”

Montoya leads the Legends Trophy points on 84 from Pirro on 80 and Button on 74.

The newly-introduced Pro Cup Team’s Championship attracted entries from top international auto manufacturers and leading Formula 1 and Formula E race teams.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports team dominated the opening round by taking both victories – Esteban Gutierrez clinched the opening win after a last-lap pass on Bentley Motorsport’s Alex Buncombe while fellow Mercedes man Anthony Davidson won the reverse grid race ahead of BMW factory racer Bruno Spengler.

“From the start, I had an issue with the brakes. My brake balance adjuster went completely rearwards, and I didn’t realize until half of the lap, so I was really struggling the first few corners,” Gutierrez said.

“And then I managed to get the rhythm. It was a really tight fight until the end. It was tricky, especially at the end, when I had to avoid an incident.

“I had to go on the inside of the corner, and it was really slippery on the grass! So it was really tricky in the last two corners.”

Buncombe’s strong drive to fourth place in the reverse grid has given the Bentley racer the Pro Cup lead on 80 points from Gutierrez on 76 and Esteban Guerrieri on 70.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports leads the team’s title on 131 from Bentley Motorsport on 110, Aston Martin on 107, BMW on 78, Williams Esports on 45 and ROKiT Venturi Racing (which ran a single car in its race debut) on 17.

With each of the three classes – Legends Trophy, Pro Cup and Sim Masters – having their own race plus an additional reverse grid, it was Slovenian sim racer Jernej Simoncic who grabbed the points lead in a highly-competitive opening round.

Simoncic won the opening race but could only finish 14th in the reverse grid battle, which was won by Alen Terzic. The results, however, were enough for him to take the lead with 69 points ahead of Bono Huis (65) and Kuba Brzezinski and Michael Romanidis – both on 60.

Today’s event was the opening round of a five-race championship for the All-Star Series created by Torque Esports. The competition was established in March as the first esports racing event to fill the void created by the cancellation of motorsport events, including Formula 1, Formula E, INDYCAR, and more.

A total of 94 drivers competed around the world – all joined together via the internet to take part in the competition. The Race All-Star Esports Series powered by ROKiT Phones is shown live with partnerships with ESPN and Eurosport, plus shown via YouTube and Twitch. An additional massive global audience will get to enjoy the action with a 90-minute highlights package going out to 71 international networks, reaching more than 610 million homes.