Opmeer on top of the world: Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports driver is crowned World Champion
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports driver, Jarno Opmeer, claimed his first drivers’ world title in the F1 Esports series, bringing the trophy to Hinwil for the first time in the team’s history. Going into the final race in Interlagos with a 16-point advantage over Red Bull’s Frede Rasmussen, the Dutchman coolly brought it home in P7 to claim the crown, also cementing Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN second place in the constructors’ standings.
Races in Suzuka, Mexico and Brazil brought the season to an end, and they were three spectacular events that saw both championships go down to the wire. A cagey affair in Japan saw Jarno finish just off the podium in P4, with team-mate Daniel Bereznay nursing quickly-degrading tyres to come home ninth. A win by Rasmussen reduced Jarno’s advantage in the standings, but the comeback was to be delivered in the penultimate round in Mexico City.
The two championship rivals started on the front row, with Jarno, second, following the Red Bull into the opening stages of the race. Starting on soft tyres, both Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN drivers were able to stretch their stints a couple of laps longer than their rivals, avoiding much of the traffic and relying on fresher tyres in the final part of the race. Jarno made his advantage count with a few laps to spare, overtaking Rasmussen to win the race and extending his standings lead. Daniel finished fourth, another good comeback for the Hungarian that kept the team in contention for the constructors’ title.
The final race of the season was a tense affair, with all at stake. On the grid in P5 and P7 with Daniel and Jarno respectively, the start provided a heart-stopping moment as the Dutchman was hit from behind, almost resulting in damage and allowing Rasmussen to slip through. Jarno stretched his tyres until late in the race, rejoining just behind his championship rival, safe in the knowledge the standings gap could not be bridged. Daniel claimed the final podium of the season, crossing the line in P3, and Jarno’s P7 was enough for the celebrations to start.
It has been an incredible season for the team, but success won’t mean we’ll be sitting on our laurels: the objective remains to bring home both championships in 2021, a target we have shown to be within our reach. The challenge is on.
Jamie MacLaurin, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports Team Principal: “Winning the drivers’ title is an incredible achievement and one we should all be very proud of. The championship has been unbelievably competitive, and Jarno has been sensational from start to finish. Finishing runners-up in the constructors is frustrating but at this level it’s still something we will look back on with pride.”
James Doherty, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Esports Team Manager: “I couldn’t be prouder of this team. When I first joined there was a huge expectation to deliver titles and managing to do this in the drivers’ championship while fighting until the very end for the constructors’ puts a smile on my face. We have learnt a lot and will carry this into next season, as we want ours to become the benchmark team for many years to come.”
Daniel Bereznay: “The field is super competitive so I do not feel like I should be ashamed of P5, but it still feels bad as I am here to win. I am on the same level as Jarno in most our practice sessions, racing from home I was more nervous than ever, but I see this as a lesson and I know we will do our best to work on and improve. It’s racing: sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down – but with hard work you can significantly increase your chances of great opportunities out there.”
Jarno Opmeer: “Calling myself the reigning F1 Esports champion is the best feeling of my life. I cannot be disappointed with my performances throughout this season: I gave it my all and there were some moments that could have been better, but that’s how a championship goes. We have the tools and have learnt a lot from this season, as next year we will be fighting for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s first team championship: that has to be the next goal.”