IndyCar star Felix Rosenqvist broke clear to win heat one of The Race All-Star Esports Battle 2 as nearest rivals Daniel Juncadella and James Baldwin clashed on the penultimate lap.
Rosenqvist was under constant pressure from DTM racer Juncadella and World’s Fastest Gamer winner Baldwin for most of the 10-lap race around the Indianapolis road course using Indy Pro 2000 cars.
But as Baldwin went to pass Juncadella at the end of the back straight with a lap and a half to go, they banged wheels and both skittered over the grass.
They had enough of a gap behind to rejoin still in second and third, but their incident allowed Rosenqvist to triumph with a four-second cushion.
Baldwin and Juncadella’s battle continued right to the flag, with Baldwin making it through in a wheel-to-wheel tussle through the opening complex at the beginning of the last lap and then defending the place to the line.
Their incident allowed 2012 GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip and Aston Martin GT racer Ross Gunn to close right in on Baldwin and Juncadella as they completed the quintet qualifying directly for the final.
Those behind, headed by GT star Dries Vanthoor and Indy 500 regular James Davison, have another opportunity in the Last Chance Qualifier later in the evening.
Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen had to withdraw at the last minute, and was replaced by Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley.