Eight players book their ticket for the Gran Turismo Sport World Finals. Meanwhile, Mitchell deJong suffers a defeat in the iRacing Rallycross World Championship.
Photo credit: Gran Turismo
The European, Middle Eastern and African regions had their joint regional finals in the FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020 Series on Sunday, November 22. Of the sixteen drivers taking part in the event, eight would advance to the upcoming world finals.
First of the three circuits was Lago Maggiore, where Nations Cup champion Valerio Gallo started on pole with his French rival Baptiste Beauvois alongside him. As the race unfolded it quickly became clear that Gallo was a cut above the rest of the field, comfortably leading the whole way. Behind him, Beauvois came home in second with 18-year-old sim racing prodigy Jose Serrano rounding out the top three.
Race two saw the drivers competing at the legendary temple of speed in Monza. Once again, it was Gallo who set the pace in qualifying, but this time it was Serrano in second. At the start Serrano got the jump on Gallo, taking first position before the first corner. However, by the end of the lap Gallo had reclaimed a lead which he would not relinquish for the remainder of the race. Serrano faded throughout the race, leaving Beauvois and the Hungarian talent Adam Tapai to scoop up second and third.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was the final destination for the sixteen drivers, with a longer race featuring double points and with every driver using a Red Bull X2019. Beauvois started on pole right ahead of Serrano, while Gallo languished down in tenth in qualifying.
Serrano started on soft tires, and quickly made his way past the Frenchman for the lead, before Beauvois dropped the car the very next lap, narrowly avoiding a spin. As the strategies played out, though, it was GT Sport Open champion Coque Lopez who made use of a brave four-stop strategy to claim a dominant win in the Ardennes. Hungarian Patrik Blaszan drove a solid race to second, while Serrano was able to claim third.
As a result of the double points system and Gallo’s poor final race, it was the Spaniard Lopez who took the overall win in the event, giving him a small points lead already for the upcoming world finals.
iRacing Rallycross World Championship
Round eight of the 2020 iRacing Rallycross World Championship began in dramatic fashion on Saturday, November 21, when all three of the main title contenders failed to land a spot in the top six drivers in the qualifying session, leaving each of them with significant work to do.
Especially favorite Mitchell deJong faced a bitter defeat, starting right at the back of the field for the first heat. This heat also featured Apex Racing Team’s Yohann Harth who lined up in third. The Frenchman rocketed off the line and held his own well in the race to secure himself a top two finish alongside Tommi Hallman from SET Esports. DeJong could only climb as high as third by the chequered flag.
18-year-old Jonne Ollikainen was the highest ranked driver in heat two, being fifth in the championship standings. The Finn was briefly challenged by Vicente Salas at the start. However, he saw off the threat and coasted to victory. Ollikainen advanced to the feature race alongside Marcos Matamoros, who did so for the first time in his iRX career.
The third heat featured none of the drivers who could mathematically challenge for the championship. It was won by Aleksi Heikkinen with Daniel Mitrani Fenollosa also qualifying.
Heat number four carried much more significance. Championship leader Jon Robertson lined up second on the grid, alongside Josh Fox. Robertson’s decision to take a late joker lap briefly put his qualification for the feature race in doubt. In the end, though, it proved to be the correct strategy as the British driver came home first with Fox behind in second.
DeJong has to admit defeat
Then it was on to the last chance qualifiers to find out which two drivers would be joining the others in the feature race. The first of these two races featured deJong starting from pole.
The Subaru Motorsports USA driver needed a clean race to keep his championship hopes alive. A terrible start for the American was compounded by contact and a spin in the first corner. DeJong failed to qualify, ending up fifth, while Adria Perez took the feature race spot. In the second LCQ, it was Vicente Salas who managed to advance.
Rounding off the event was the feature race. A SET Esports front row was followed by the Team Yokohama cars in third and fourth. Hallman and Ollikainen both got a good getaway and opted to take their joker laps straight away, with Harth joining them. Robertson went his own way, instead taking his joker on the third lap of the race. This proved to be an inspired decision, as the British driver came out just ahead of his teammate and championship rival Harth.
10 points behind Jon in the standings, 16 points ahead of P3 and P4— Yohann Harth (@Yohann_Harth) November 22, 2020
It’s gonna be hard but I guess we just have to send it 👊 https://t.co/fsao1raZvK
This is how the race finished, with Hallman and Ollikainen flying in formation at the front, Robertson third and Harth in fourth. As a result of this, Robertson has extended his lead over Harth ever so slightly. Elsewhere in the standings, Hallman pulled himself level with deJong for third, but both drivers are without any realistic hopes of the championship from this point.
Who do you think will take the iRacing Rallycross World Championship title in 2020? Tell us on Twitter at @overtake_gg!