North Macedonian Erhan Jajovski fired off the mark in Formula E: Accelerate, sealing what he called an "unexpected" pole position as part of the final group of drivers to run in qualifying. He pipped Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler's Manuel Biancolilla, a runner-up in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, to top spot, whilst Graham Carroll (Envision Virgin Racing) produced a tidy lap to line-up third.
Race at Home Challenge winner Kevin Siggy (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) wound up in fourth and Frederik Rasmussen (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT), the Formula E: Accelerate qualifiers' pace-setter, could only manage 16th.
READ MORE: Erhan Jajovski off to a flyer with lights-to-flag victory in Formula E: Accelerate Round 1
From there, a fine start meant it was serene out-front for the esports pro - a racer his peers have nicknamed "the rFactor 2 GOAT" such is his prowess in Studio 397's simulation - despite the added challenge for this competition of ATTACK MODE and energy management to think about.
“I was nervous going into qualifying as it was my first time with a one-shot format and it went much better than I could have expected," said the 24-year-old. "My start was so good I’d call it a jump start! I couldn’t have expected a better one.
"I knew it’d be incredibly important for the race and I got away well but Manuel (Biancolilla) had a better one. We went side-by-side into the next couple of corners but I managed to hold on to my position which I’m really proud of – I’ve watched it back so many times and it looked amazing!
“ATTACK MODE and energy management are both key, interesting concepts that add a whole new dimension to the racing. I have some experience in endurance racing which really helped, so I didn’t find managing my energy consumption so difficult. Being in the lead helped, too.
“I then just tried to get a gap to the guys behind and they made my job a lot easier by fighting between themselves. From then, I just tried to manage my energy and there was no drama or anything.
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"I felt really relieved crossing the finish line and getting this first win whilst representing ROKiT Venturi Racing seriously means the world to me. I feel incredibly grateful they decided to choose me."
The field has been hard at work racking up the laps ahead of Round 2 around the virtual streets of Hong Kong Harbourfront and the World's Fastest Gamer finalist is expecting a tough test but won't get ahead of himself after victory in the opener. Just like his inspiration Lewis Hamilton, he's taking things one race at a time.
“Hong Kong is quite a challenging track with a lot of slow corners and it’s really narrow," adds Jajovski. "I expect that it will be extremely difficult to overtake and the race will be tough for everybody.
"The level of competition in the series is the toughest one I’ve been a part of so far. Having drivers from the world of F1 Esports is no joke and that makes my desire to prove myself even greater. Starting the way I did was the best possible start, and I’ll be pushing even harder in the next rounds, that’s for sure.
“I always try to take Hamilton's approach to the championship, going round by round and giving my best every time. Winning the championship would mean the world to me, especially getting the chance to drive the Gen2 Formula E car – I couldn’t wish for a better reward."
Jajovski will head into Round 2 on Thursday evening, 1900 UTC, atop the Drivers’ standings, with Venturi heading the way in the Teams’ running.