It was a gamer who made the running and took the chequered flag in the second round of the World RX Esports Invitation on the Montalegre circuit at the weekend with French racer Quentin Dall’olmo emerging victorius.
Britain’s Jon Armstrong and New Zealand’s Shane Van Gisbergen completed the podium.
The second ever World RX Esports Invitational – run on DiRT Rally 2.0 in partnership with Codemasters and Motorsport Games – attracted another mouth-watering grid of drivers, held in place of the second scheduled round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Portugal, which has been postponement due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
With a pair of fastest times in Qualifying, driving a Peugeot 208 on the challenging circuit, Dall’olmo took the TQ (top qualifier) position in the Intermediate Classification, won semi-final one from pole position and finished second on track in the final. But, when his younger brother Killian Dall’olmo was handed a 20-second penalty for jumping the start in the final, it was Quentin Dall’olmo who claimed the win.
“I’m really happy with this victory, it was a perfect day for me. Top qualifier, a semi-final win and the win in the final is awesome. I got my revenge after a bad result at Catalunya where I was Top Qualifier too but finished in last position in the semi-final after a crash in the first corner, so I’m really happy. It’s a shame about the jump start for my little brother [Killian] in the final because we could have made it a Dall’olmo one-two, but it’s still a great day for us. Thanks to everyone that put on this awesome event,” Dall’olmo said.
Rally driver Armstrong delivered a strong performance and came out on top in a number of on-track battles in qualifying to make the semi-finals with fourth in the Intermediate Classification. In the semis he survived a duel with Yellow Squad driver Henrik Krogstad to move into the final and was classified second.
Among the star performers in the event was one of the star guests, Australian Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen. In the thick of the action throughout qualifying, van Gisbergen shone on the loose surfaces as well as the asphalt and made it into the final on his rallycross debut. In the last race of the event, van Gisbergen and Esports Invitational – Catalunya Edition winner Mattias Adielsson, from Sweden, had a race long fight for position, but when penalties were applied to other drivers, it was van Gisbergen who took the last place on the podium.
Reigning DiRT 2.0 Rallycross World Series Champion Killian Dall’olmo set two quickest times in qualifying, but was also slowed by a puncture in Q3. He won semi-final two and led the final from start to finish, but was classified fourth when a 20-second penalty was applied for jumping the start. P5 went to Adielsson, who was given a 10-second penalty for contact during the race.
2019 FIA World Rallycross Drivers’ Champion Timmy Hansen battled for the lead in turn one of semi-final one but got caught in a battle that cost him time and places, then got overtaken by van Gisbergen during the race and finished fifth with a five-second penalty. Esports star, Czech Republic’s Lukas Mateja spun on the final lap and dropped to the back of the field but was classified third, as GC Kompetition’s Lithuanian driver, Rokas Baciuska, made his World RX Esports debut and was also involved the semi-final contest. Like Hansen he picked up a track limits penalty and was fourth.
Sweden’s Kevin Hansen had a battle with Adielsson in semi-final two but was classified fifth behind Krogstad after a five-second penalty. Russia’s Matvey Furahzkin was 11th in the Intermediate Classification and the first driver to miss out on the place in the semi-finals on his World RX Esports debut, followed by Britain’s Oliver Bennett, Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss, Germany’s Timo Scheider, Denmark’s World Endurance Championship driver Nicki Thiim and Britain’s “Fail Race”.
Former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, from Finland, joined the World RX Esports Invitational grid for the event in Montalegre, as did Formula E leader, Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa but despite racing in the midst of the competitive field, didn’t make the top 16. America’s Conner Martell also took part but suffered from technical problems and X Games star Blake “Bilko” Williams had connection issues from the outset and was unable to compete aboard Liam Doran’s 2019 Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1.
World RX Esports Invitational – Montalegre Edition, Sunday, May 3
RESULTS – Final
1. Quentin Dall’Olmo (FRA)
2. Jon Armstrong (GBR)
3. Shane Van Gisbergen (NZL)
4. Killian Dall’olmo (FRA)
5. Mattias Adielsson (SWE)
1. Quentin Dall’Olmo (FRA)
2. Shane Van Gisbergen (NZL)
3. Lukas Mateja (CZE)
4. Rokas Baciuska (LIT)
5. Timmy Hansen (SWE)
1. Killian Dall’Olmo (FRA)
2. Jon Armstrong (GBR)
3. Mattias Adielsson (SWE)
4. Henrik Krogstad (NOR)
5. Kevin Hansen (SWE)