Victorian Matthew Bink established himself as the favourite for the inaugural Boost Mobile Supercars e-series with two wins from the opening three races on Tuesday night.
Following the success of the Harvey Norman Supercars Forza Challenge at Bathurst last year, Supercars e-sports has returned in 2018 as a six-week series.
Tuesday night featured four knockout heats at Bathurst to cut the initial crop of qualifiers down to a field of eight for the series, which then kicked off with its opening three races.
Six of the eight to make the cut were familiar names from last year’s Bathurst challenge, which used the same Forza Motorsport 7 gaming platform.
Bink, who competes under the name MadRacer38, finished sixth in the 2017 contest, but now leads this year’s standings with two wins and a second.
He was declared the winner of the opening heat at Laguna Seca, USA, having led when a technical issue brought a premature halt to proceedings.
Although only qualifying fifth, Bink made his intentions clear at the first corner, carving through to run second behind Andrew Dyson (Ssemper).
Dyson led until the positions were reversed in the pitstop cycle, and then fell to fourth with a mistake late in the going.
The 30-year-old Dyson, from north-west Melbourne, then responded with a dominant win in the second round at Spa-Francorchamps.
Bink finished second in that heat, before winning again when the drivers returned to the familiar ground of Bathurst.
He well and truly earned the victory, holding off a determined Adrian Yalpi (UltimateAge05) in the closing stages.
Yalpi, 23, challenged Bink on the final lap, but a touch at Forrest’s Elbow ruined the latter’s momentum onto Conrod Straight, giving Bink enough of a gap to get home.
"It was extremely tense," said the Newborough, Latrobe Valley-based Bink of the season's opening night.
“We had the eliminators (at Bathurst) to qualify for the top eight, and I think all of us were just focused on getting through that.
“Bathurst isn’t a track I’d tended to go well on before, and I’d qualified 11th, so to get into the top eight I knew I’d have to go better there.
“After that, the night really was about having a bit of fun and seeing how it went. There was good racing on all three tracks, it was awesome.”
Bink ended the night with 56 points, with Dyson second on 42 and Yalpi third on 40.
Last year’s winner Jacob Harvey (Har05) runs fourth on 34 points, with Matthew Collings (holden96), Mark Pretty (XE Mr Bucket), Zachariah Donaldson (Supraman162) and Jonathon Burrows (Tdi zools80) completing the order.
The e-sports action was the subject of a two-and-a-half hour live-stream across Supercars’ digital channels, recording over 80,000 views.
The season continues next Tuesday, October 23, with the European leg, consisting of races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Catalunya.