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13 Apr 2021 ------

Williams show their class as JAESA produce an encouraging performance

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After narrowly missing out on the Season 1 title, Williams hit the ground running in Season 2.

After Group A got underway yesterday, it was Group B in the spotlight today as Season 1 runners-up Williams took on JAESA Team Suzuki.

Williams Esports is the favourite to top Group B and one of the teams mooted to win this season's championship. JAESA Suzuki meanwhile is aiming to qualify for the playoffs, and has a real habit of upsetting the odds.

Could JAESA Suzuki pull off a giant killing or would Williams get off to the start they were looking for?

Pit error proves extremely costly

JAESA Suzuki: Giovanni De Salvo, Kamil Pawlowski & Amos Laurito

Williams Esports: Martin Stefanko, Kuba Brzezinski & Nikodem Wisniewski

The first circuit chosen for this contest was the mighty Mugello in Italy. This is Mugello's V10 R-League debut, being one of two new tracks alongside Silverstone in the UK. Four laps of Mugello would decide the first relay contest of this tie.

Kamil Pawlowski started on pole for JAESA Suzuki but got a poor start and fell behind Kuba Brzezinski off the line. However, the slipstream is powerful going into Turn 1 and Pawlowski reclaimed the lead with a terrific move around the outside.

Brzezinski stuck on Pawlowski's tail throughout the back section of the track until the JAESA man pitted at the end of Lap 1. Brzezinski pitted at the end of the second lap, with Nikodem Wisniewski taking over the Williams wheel.

Wisniewski re-emerged just ahead of Giovanni De Salvo. The Pole had to get his elbows out to keep De Salvo behind, but it was now advantage Williams.

Amos Laurito made his JAESA Suzuki debut but had to overtake Martin Stefanko if he was to win his team a point. However, a slow pit-stop meant Laurito was over 16 seconds behind and the contest was over. First blood to Williams as they lead 1-0.

Williams reign supreme in Mugello

Five laps for the team race would allow JAESA Suzuki to have the opportunity to draw level. They'd have their work cut out for them though, as Williams occupied P1-3 on the grid. A perfect start for all three Williams drivers maintained their domination of the podium.

Pawlowski was the JAESA man who was closest to the top three but didn't have enough straight-line speed to overtake. A commanding win for Williams as they achieved a perfect score in the team race to lead the contest 2-0.

Thrilling tactical relay race goes down to the wire

The incredible Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps played host to the second part of this contest. It would be four laps again that would decide the relay race contest in Belgium.

Brzezinski started his Williams from pole and held P1 going through La Source. De Salvo though, had the slipstream going up Kemmel and powered past into the lead. Brzezinski kept close and decided to pit and change drivers at the end of Lap 1.

De Salvo powered on and dived into the pits at the end of Lap 2, with Pawlowski taking the Italian's place. Wisniewski also pitted at the end of Lap 2, so we had to wait to see which team had the advantage going into the final tour.

When Laurito re-joined the circuit at the start of the final lap, he was just behind Stefanko's Williams. Laurito had the draft though, and he used it to attack going into Les Combes.

The gap was just too big though and Laurito ran wide, costing him vital time and JAESA Suzuki a chance at their first point in Season 2. Williams led 3-0, could we see another clean sweep to start Season 2?

Les Combes classic

JAESA had to win the team race if they were to leave Round 1 with anything to write home about. It wouldn't be easy though, as Williams occupied P1-3 on the grid again. All six drivers got through Turn 1 unscathed, but Williams' Pawlowski was overtaken by De Salvo for P3.

De Salvo is a reserve driver for JAESA Suzuki and was brought in especially for this round. It's easy to see why as well, as the Italian flew past both Brzezinski and Stafanko into the lead going into Les Combes. It was a superb move that few would have the nerve to attempt.

Less than a second separated the entire field, this is one of the closest races we've seen so far! As it stood, the team race would be a tie and neither outfit would get a point.

Stefanko was all over the back of De Salvo for the lead on Lap 2. However, De Salvo defended perfectly up Kemmel, placing his car exactly where he had to, to keep the Czech driver behind.

A few minor errors by Stefanko allowed De Salvo to get some breathing room by Lap 3. It was a fine drive by De Salvo, but Laurito couldn't catch Wisniewski for P4.

It was all down to Stefanko, he had caught up to De Salvo on Lap 5, but he didn't have enough straight-line speed to pull alongside.

The on-track result would be overturned however, as De Salvo was deemed to have gained an advantage by leaving the track. A three-second penalty dropped him down to P4, and gave the final point to Williams.

A 4-0 clean-sweep doesn't tell the full story of this match-up, but it is certainly the result Williams was aiming for!

Next up in Round 1, Group A continues with Season 1 champions Team Redline against YAS Heat on Wednesday, 14 April.

You can catch all the action from that race on BT Sport!

How to watch

Viewers in the UK can watch all the action from the best matchup of the week on BT Sport every Monday, with the remaining matches shown throughout the week!

Fans in the Middle East and North Africa can get all the action through StarzPlay. ESPN will be showing the races to all those in the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Oceania.

Make sure to check local listings and video-on-demand services for exact times!

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