Brendon Leigh crowned first ever Esports Series World Champion

Abu Dhabi – Brendon Leigh is the first-ever Formula 1 Esports Series World Champion. The British edriver won the Series final event, held tonight in the F1 paddock of the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Across the three races – Montreal, Spa Francorchamps and Yas Marina – Leigh collected a total of 74 points, six more than the 2nd, Chile’s Fabrizio Donoso Delgado, with German Sven Zurner 3rd with 64 points.

The 18-year-old kitchen manager from Reading in the UK, was one of four drivers who started Race 3 at Yas Marina Circuit knowing that a win would guarantee them the title. Donoso Delgado had one foot on the top step of the podium until the final lap, when Leigh swept past him to snatch away the race win and the championship.

Leigh led the standings overnight after his Montreal victory on Friday in Race 1, but a poor performance in qualifying saw him start from P15 for Race 2 earlier on Saturday. He recovered admirably at Spa- Francorchamps to finish in P8. The race was won impressively by Çem Bölükbasi.

Starting from P2 for Race 3 at Yas Marina Circuit, Leigh was quick off the start line, passing pole-sitter Donoso Delgado to take P1 just after lights out. Zurner joined the pair in a topsy-turvy battle for the lead, but just as it seemed that Donoso would prevail, Leigh’s dramatic last-gasp move shot him to the front and towards a place in the record books as our inaugural champion. Donoso Delgado (P2) and Zurner (P3) were all smiles as they joined him on the podium.

Brendon Leigh, Esports Series World Champion, said:

“I feel ecstatic. It’s one thing to get to the semifinals. Another to get to the finals. Another again is to win and beat 19 drivers. It’s unreal to have the luck and also the mindset to be able to keep calm in this situation. Winning here means a huge amount to me. I am the first one to do it. That is special. I am not sure how to celebrate. I don’t drink or anything: I think I might just go to bed.”

 

After the races, the top three drivers were presented with their trophies by former F1 driver, David Coulthard. Tomorrow at 1.45 pm, they will have a further ceremony when they will be feted by Formula 1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey during an official prize giving ceremony which will take place on the podium of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 

A special prize went to edriver Denmark’s Mads Soerensen, who set the fastest lap in Race 3: tomorrow, he  will present the DHL Fastest Lap Award to Lewis Hamilton, his favourite Formula 1 driver.

 

The event attracted not only the attention of the egame fans, who watched it on line through Facebook and Twitch and on TV thanks to the many broadcasters which showed it live. The two final races were also followed keenly by the F1 family here in Abu Dhabi, with many engineers, mechanics and guests who watched on the screens disseminated around the paddock. Among them, Fernando Alonso, who has recently presented his own esports teams and had in Çem Bölükbasi one his drivers. Çem was one of the great protagonists of the Finals, with his victory in Race 2, held on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

 

Sean Bratches, Commercial Director Formula 1 said:

“We are delighted to be holding the eSport Series Final here in Abu Dhabi. The finalists have been whittled down from the 60,000 original participants. After the London semifinals, we are now down to the 20 very best edrivers on the planet, here in the specially-designed garage in the F1 paddock. The attraction to a broad and committed younger generation of F1 and Esport fans is something that we are proud to support and nurture, and we look forward to establishing a season-long series in 2018.”

This is the final classification of the 2017 Esports Series: Brendon Leigh                  74 points

Fabrizio Donoso Delgado  68

Sven Zurner                              64

Patrik Holzmann                     45

Çem Bölükbasi                         35

Frederik Rasmussen           35

Allert Vanderwal                    33

Gianfranco Giglioli                 33

Harrison Jacks                          24

Joni Tormala                             16

Salih Saltunc                             12

Maximilian Benecke           11

Patryk Krutyi                            9

Mads Soerensen                     8

Alberto Foltran                        8

Cedric Thome                          7

Igor Fraga                                  6

Tiziano Brioni                           2

Sonuc Saltunc                          2

 

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Norman Howell, Director of Communications, Formula 1 E: nhowell@f1.com

M: +44 (0)7920 181 929

 

Formula 1 Press Office E: f1media@f1.com

 

Edelman Press Office

E: Formula1@edelman.com

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About Gfinity

Founded in 2012, Gfinity has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading esports companies. The London-based business enjoys strong relationships with game publishers, players and the wider esports community and has already built a solid reputation for delivering high quality competitions, both on-line at www.gfinityesports.com and off-line, in addition to producing industry leading esports broadcasts.

The Gfinity Esports Arena at Fulham Broadway, London is the home of UK esports showcasing regular tournaments across the full range of competitive games. Beyond its own tournaments Gfinity provides a full turnkey solution for any brand wanting to create their own esports tournaments and has staged premium esports events around the globe for leading publishers and brands including Microsoft, Activision, EA, Xbox, Gillette and HP.

 

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Esports (electronic sports) is watching or playing competitive video gaming. Leading titles include League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defence of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2), Call of Duty and Rocket League. The industry is growing rapidly, with new communities developing around more and more titles. The global esports market generated US$493 million of revenue in 2016 and is expected to make $1.5 billion by 2020. The global esports audience in 2017 was 191 million people, 80% under the age of 35 and 70% male (source: Newzoo). Online streaming channels Twitch and YouTube command the biggest audiences, although esports events are also now being broadcast on conventional TV. The 2015 League of Legends Championships finals in Berlin were watched by 36 million people, with a peak concurrent viewership of 14 million viewers, while at DotA 2’s flagship annual championship ‘The International 2016’ competitors from around the world competed for a prize pot of over $20 million.