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Alpine Esports Series: Dennis Schöniger takes 2023 championship crown

Due to its short calendar, the 2023 edition of the Alpine Esports Series – similar to previous years – would eventually fall into a short horse race. Before the finale on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo as part of Assetto Corsa Competizione, Dennis Schöniger had a very vulnerable lead of eight points over Tino van der Velde.

Reigning champion James Baldwin was another twelve points behind; lurks in the shadows alongside Dominik Blajer and Vojtech Fiala. Realistically, it was a duel between the top two who would find it much easier to score points, also thanks to the reduced starting grid that night.

Sprint qualification

A small miracle was needed for Baldwin from now on. He at least secured pole position for the sprint, although Schöniger would be breathing down his neck and would join him on the front row. That was bad news for van der Velde, who only managed fifth place.

Between the Dutchman and his goals lay Fiala and a particularly strong Lukas Mateja, who was not yet on the podium in 2023.

sprint race

Van der Velde played audience from the start until Mateja and Fiala first exchanged color via Aspar. All prayers for spins went unanswered, although the Czechs ended up swapping places through Doohan.

With no clear overtaking opportunities, the midfield did its best to put on a show. Kamil Pawlowski was right in the thick of it, battling with Isaac Gillissen en route to the points. Eventually, an altercation with Charlie Crossland saw the Pole hit the inside wall of Turn 13 squarely.

In the last embers of a somewhat more cordial event at the front, van der Velde finally made headway. Mateja was demoted to fifth place by Nico Terol but was able to fight back to fourth place by the checkered flag. It was an average result for Tinko at a time when he had to beat the man who is now three positions ahead.

Now all Schöniger had to do was finish ahead of van der Velde and the championship would be his.

Alpine Esports 2023 Round 3 Sprint Race Results

  1. James Baldwin – 10 rounds
  2. Dennis Schoniger – +0.449
  3. Vojtech Fiala – +0.852
  4. Luke Mateja – +4.392
  5. Tinko van der Velde – +4,868
  6. Luke Whitehead – +5.467
  7. Geert Fischer – +5,594
  8. Dominik Blajer – +7.227
  9. Isaac Gilissen – +12,768
  10. Mariusz Twerzydło – +14.008

functional qualification

The deficit was twelve points, it couldn’t have been more. But somehow it found a way, because Schöniger was one step better than in the sprint and secured pole position.

Baldwin had to settle for the second row as an incredible round from Marko Pejic set him up for a chance at victory. Meanwhile, Van der Velde had also experienced a drop in performance in qualifying. He would start seventh behind Dominik Blajer, Mateja and Fiala. Then there is no pressure.

Feature Race

Pejic threw the kitchen sink at Schöniger after the first few corners. Had it not been for an equally stubborn defense, it could well have resulted in the first domino falling in van der Velde’s favour. Unfortunately, the German held out.

Further back, Mateja and Fiala continued their rivalry with another early position change. This time Mateja was one step closer to a podium. Van der Velde went in the other direction and Geert Fischer rubbed salt in an ever-growing wound, but his luck was soon to change. Dominik Blajer and the aforementioned Fischer tripped over each other at Turn 11. The Dutchman had a free ride to sixth place, but it was given away.

Alpine Esports 2023 final, race start

Mateja was the next to feel heartache in the rapidly developing first lap. It was a mistake on his own that allowed Fiala to return to fourth place, although worse was to come; a time penalty of five seconds for not following the course limits.

After five minutes it was Baldwin’s turn. Pejic, a teammate at Mercedes-AMG, was happy to let the Brit pass despite there being no chance of a comeback in the standings. Not that Schöniger would have bothered. His lead at this point was already more than one and a half seconds.

Van der Velde would gain two more places due to Mateja hitting Fiala off the road, but that would be all that’s written for the 2023 Alpine Esports Series.

Dennis Schoeniger wins 2023 Alpine Esports Series

Schöniger had traveled to Balduin’s realm and proved to be a talent revolution. There was to be one last classy performance from the outgoing champion, though – allowing Pejic to reclaim second place.

Schöniger triumphantly took the title and is now due for a real Alpine GT4 test session.

Alpine Esports 2023 Round 3 Feature Race Results

  1. Dennis Schoeniger – 16 laps
  2. Marko Pejic +4.443
  3. James Baldwin +4,830
  4. Tinko van der Velde +8.124
  5. Vojtech Fiala +8.641
  6. Maciej Malinowski +12.137
  7. Luke Whitehead +12.293
  8. Lukas Mateja +12.293
  9. Isaac Gillissen +13.074
  10. Jaroslav Honzik +16.057

Ranking of the Alpine Esports 2023 Championship

  1. Dennis Schoeniger – 91pts
  2. Tinko van der Velde – 66 points
  3. James Baldwin – 63 points
  4. Vojtech Fiala – 51 points
  5. Dominik Blajer – 39 points
  6. Marko Pejic – 26 points
  7. Luke Whitehead – 24 points
  8. Lukas Mateja – 15 pts
  9. Maciej Malinowski – 14 points
  10. Mateusz Tyskiewicz – 11 points

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