RLR Abruzzi eSports took the LMP2 victory in the top split of The Majors Series 24 Hours of Le Mans (12-13 June) following a stunning team performance from Markus Dec, Maciej Mlynek, Daniel Bucher, Jakub Wyderka and Arkadiusz Neumann.
The 2021 edition of the prestigious ‘Majors 24’ attracted a bumper entry of 408 top-level eSports teams from across the world, with 62 cars in LMP1, 190 in LMP2 and 156 in GTE.
RLR MSport’s squad of sim racers took on all three classes and each qualified in the top split, seeing off the likes of Williams Esports to take a momentous victory in the highly competitive LMP2 division.
Starting in the lower reaches of the top ten, Dec avoided start line carnage and swept through the Dunlop Chicane in fifth place before breaching the podium places further around Circuit de la Sarthe’s 13.6km lap.
From there, Mlynek, Bucher, Wyderka and Neumann each contributed solid and consistent stints, maintaining high levels of concentration and precision and driving intelligently to consolidate third position during the hours of darkness and as the sun rose on Sunday morning.
However, a caution not only kept the squad on the lead lap but placed them in the fight for victory, which intensified when Williams made a couple of unforced errors.
RLR eSports was soon in the net race lead and the Digital Motorsports-backed team’s sim racers simply paced themselves against their nearest challengers on their way to a sensational LMP2 victory in the top split of The Majors Series 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Markus Dec (#72 RLR Abruzzi eSports Dallara P217 LMP2): “Since it became clear that the official iRacing 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual wouldn’t take place in its original form, the ‘Majors 24’ took its place as the most prestigious sim race of the year. Our preparations were thorough and professional, as they were before our Daytona 24 Hours victory, and so we’ve won the top split of The Majors Series 24 Hours of Le Mans! The result speaks for itself, and I can’t really describe how it feels. I’m incredibly proud of the whole RLR Abruzzi eSports team and it’s amazing when you think we were up against Williams Esports, SIMMSA eSports, Impulse Racing and Red Bull Racing drivers. I am just so incredibly happy and proud, and I don’t know how we could possibly top this.”
Maciej Mlynek (#72 RLR Abruzzi eSports Dallara P217 LMP2): “I’m very happy for myself and the whole RLR Abruzzi eSports team that we managed to put everything together and cross the line first in such a prestigious race – it is definitely my best achievement since joining the team. During my stints, I kept up good pace, trying to match the fastest on-track. A morning caution saved us from being lapped and put us on terms with Williams Esports, and I handed the car over to Arkadiusz (Neumann) in the net race lead. Williams made a couple of mistakes, which put us in contention for victory, and all I had to do was hold the gap to everyone behind and bring the car home for the win.”
Daniel Bucher (#72 RLR Abruzzi eSports Dallara P217 LMP2): “I’m super happy to have won The Majors Series 24 Hours of Le Mans! I was screaming when we crossed the finish line because, while I thought a podium was achievable, I never thought we could win against so many other top-level teams, including Williams eSports. This race is all about making the fewest mistakes and being precise because it’s very easy to pick up damage that will compromise your lap times. Williams’ pace was impressive, but we walked the fine line between safety and speed perfectly, not picking up any damage and taking the chequered flag with an almost pristine car. This is a huge achievement and I’m proud of the whole team.”
Jakub Wyderka (#72 RLR Abruzzi eSports Dallara P217 LMP2): “Pre-qualifying sessions went well for us, so we were confident in our pace entering the race. We managed to keep away from incidents throughout and benefited from Safety Cars and Full Course Yellows, which enabled us to catch the leaders. Each driver had great speed in every single stint, so it was a real team effort. I’m really happy about the way the race panned out and I’m already looking forward to the next one.”
Arkadiusz Neumann (#72 RLR Abruzzi eSports Dallara P217 LMP2): “We knew we had a fast car but qualified seventh and the start of the race was stressful. Nevertheless, Markus (Dec) and Maciej (Mlynek) did an awesome job during the opening stints. We took the lead on Sunday morning and, while I had a couple of scary moments, we managed to increase our gap to the end. The entire RLR Abruzzi eSports team did a great job keeping the car clean during the race. This is my first 24 Hours of Le Mans win and I’m very happy.”
In GTE, Hugo Valentin, Lewis Woods and Jakub Szelerski dragged the RLR eSports Porsche 911 RSR up from 22nd to seventh in the top split classification.
A frenetic first lap resulted in a loss of positions but starting driver Szelerski and Woods kept cool heads and eased their way into the top ten before passing control to Valentin, who found himself in the thick of a tense battle with the similar Buttler-Pal Motorsport Porsche RSR after a Full Course Yellow.
As night fell and fatigue set in, teams began to falter, but RLR eSports kept its nose clean and rose to fourth in the early hours of Sunday morning, before a slight strategic error cost time and track position and resigned the squad to a highly respectable seventh-place finish in class.