Jaden Ransley secures inaugural carsales ARG eSport Cup
New Zealander Jaden Ransley has been awarded the carsales ARG eSport Cup after a thrilling two hour touring car endurance race at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.
Ransley and Supercars star Andre Heimgartner finished a fine fourth, edging season-long leader Harley Haber by just seven points after Haber and team-mate Fawzan El-Nabi had a night they’d rather forget.
After two hours of entertaining racing, it was wildcard entrants Josh Files and Cooper Webster who emerged on top in a thrilling finish, edging out the GRM entry of Dylan O’Keeffe and team-mate Jackson Souslin Harlow.
The first leg of the race was dominated by title rival protagonists Haber and Ash Sutton, while polesitter Dylan O’Keefe and Files ran not far behind in the top five.
A Safety Car around the mid-race mark shook up the order at the front, leaving Brett Holdsworth leading from Will Brown, Souslin Harlow, and Webster, who had taken over from Files.
At the restart, Webster quickly dispatched Souslin Harlow, took advantage of Brown’s troubles to move up to second, and then passed Holdsworth to assume the lead.
The order at the front remained the same until a second Safety Car was deployed later in the race, setting up a 18-minute dash to the flag.
Webster and Souslin Harlow traded positions multiple times as they checked out from the rest of the field.
At Hell Corner on the final lap, Webster made a successful lunge on Souslin Harlow and immediately built a buffer, doing just enough to secure victory.
Souslin Harlow finished 0.88s behind, while Scott McLaughlin, paired with Ben McMellan, pulled off a last-lap move on Supercars rival Heimgartner to steal the final spot on the podium.
Fourth place, however, was enough for Heimgartner’s teamp-mate Ransley to wrap up the ARG eSport title on a day his title rivals Haber and Sutton faltered.
Haber was hit with a drive through penalty early on in the race and his team-mate El-Nabi was unlucky when Michael Clemente spun in front of him at Skyline. El-Nabi made a dangerous move tring to get back into the race, causing more carnage and sealing Haber’s title fate.
Sutton led the race early on but was shuffled down the order at the first pitstop, and his team-mate Jake Blackhall later was later punted off the track. The two eventually retired from the race.
Meanwhile, Aaron Seton and Ed Williams finished fifth ahead of Thomas Randle and Lochie Hughes, while real-life Supercars enduro team-mates Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander were classified seventh after running as high as third at the final Safety Car period.