New Zealand teenager Jaden Ransley has won the inaugural the carsales ARG eSport Cup in thrilling fashion after a dramatic two-hour season finale at Mount Panorama.
Heading into the final round in second place behind Harley Haber, Ransley needed results to go his way if he was to be any chance of toppling the series leader who had been in red hot form in prior rounds.
Partnered up with Supercars driver and fellow Kiwi Andre Heimgartner, the duo put in a good performance to finish the race in fourth place – which ultimately proved to be enough as Haber and co-driver Fawzan El-Nabi faltered on multiple occasions.
A drive through penalty to Haber, and El-Nabi caught up in a tangle with a spinning Michael Clemente, along with a major off at The Esses after a safety car restart, all but sealed Haber’s fate as Ransley finished the season seven points ahead.
Despite the season’s final round narrative focused on the top two drivers, it was wildcard entries Josh Files and Cooper Webster who eventually won the endurance race ahead of carsales TCR Australia Series’ driver Dylan O’Keeffe and co-driver Jackson Souslin Harlow.
The battle for third also turned out to have a dramatic conclusion as reigning Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, who was paired up with Ben McMellan, pulled off a brilliant move to replace Heimgartner on the last lap and snap up the final step on the podium.
Rounding out the top five was National Trans Am Series star Aaron Seton and Ed Williams, who also secured a top 10 series placing as a result, while Dunlop Super2 Series and S5000 driver Thomas Randle and Lochie Hughes edged ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander to sixth place.
There was heartache for British Touring Car star Ash Sutton, who had been a contender all season long as he retired from the race after leading the 39-car field in the early stages.
While he and co-driver Jake Blackhall were unable to cross the chequered flag, Sutton still managed to end the season inside the top five, with O’Keefe and Jordan Cox finished third and fourth respectively.