Race of Champions

2023 Race of Champions: Lucas Blakeley wins eROC, runs it back with Opmeer in Nations Cup

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Credit: Race of Champions

In 2022, Lucas Blakeley fell to Jarno Opmeer in the eROC World Final before the two partnered up for the Race of Champions‘ Nations Cup as Team eROC. Fast forward a year and Blakeley returned the favour, and the pair will once again be team-mates as the top two in the Final.

The World Final pitted four sim racing stars against each other in both Assetto Corsa and real life around the snow/ice course. Blakeley, the reigning F1 Esports champion, and Opmeer advanced to the final round with nineteen and twenty points, respectively, ahead of Michael Romanidis‘ seventeen and Martin Palm‘s fourteen. The points were set based on a grading system that judges a driver’s awareness, car control, and pace.

Blakeley defeated Opmeer in the real-life final race with a time of 1:42.674, four seconds ahead. Although Opmeer led early in the simulator battle, Blakeley beat him again with 1:22.906 to Opmeer’s 1:25.358.

“I wasn’t sure why I was so slow,” commented Opmeer. “Maybe I wasn’t that good in jumping in the car. I think I struggled a little bit switching between the real car and the simulator. It is what it is.”

The Blakeley/Opmeer duo will hope to stun the scene a second time. Although they fell to Team Germany‘s Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in the 2022 Nations Cup, Blakeley managed to beat Vettel in one of the four races. Team eROC will begin the 2023 Nations Cup by taking on Team Finland’s Valtteri Bottas and Mika Häkkinen.

“I’m just super happy at the moment, but I think I’m really excited for tomorrow as well,” said Blakeley. “[…] It’s such an immense privilege to be here, not just the first but for the second Race of Champions. Just a big thanks to them for putting on this eROC, give those guys the opportunity to be amongst so many legends of the sport.”

The Nations Cup will take place on Saturday, 28 January.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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