A German race driver has faced a wave of condemnation after being caught using an imposter to compete on his behalf, during a virtual event.
Daniel Abt was disqualified from a virtual FormulaE race on Sunday after admitting that he used a professional gamer to take his place at the console.
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Abt was also ordered to make a "compulsory donation" of 10,000 euros to charity and stripped of his third place finish.
Pro esports gamer Lorenz Hoerzing, 18, had replaced Abt in the 'sim' for the race around Berlin-Tempelhof.
The 27-year-old Abt raised suspicions because his video camera was switched off during an interview.
The face of the driver was also obscured by an object at another stage.
"I'd like to apologise to Formula E, all the fans, my team and my driver colleagues for calling in outside help during Saturday's race," the German said in a statement on Sunday.
"I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. I'm aware that my offence has left a bitter after taste, but it was never meant in bad faith."
“I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention.
“Of course, I accept the disqualification from the race. In addition, I will donate 10,000 Euros to a charitable project.”
Abt qualified second and led the race for a period, sparking suspicions from rival drivers that he wasn't actually behind the controls.
His best previous result in qualifying was ninth and his best finish was 15th so alarm bells were sounding over his significant improvement in the latest race.
He eventually finished third behind race winner Oliver Rowland and runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne, who was adamant that Abt wasn't really racing himself.
“I don’t believe Daniel… for sure someone else is driving for Daniel," Vandoorne said.
Cheating driver faces angry backlash on social media
The driver was slammed on social media over his shocking display of dishonesty.
You are a DISGRACE.— Graham (@graham7wn) May 24, 2020
Not really. This sort of thing has happened in big Esports events in other games over the years. It's cheating plain and simple and these drivers should be taking it more seriously.— Ehrgeiz (@EhrgeizTV) May 24, 2020
Daniel Abt. Extraordinary.— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) May 24, 2020
It's a disgraceful lack of respect to the E-series - 'just a game', maybe, but there is the little thing called 'sportsmanship' in the mix.— Jonathan Stout (@JP_Stout) May 24, 2020