Rally driver Adielsson beats top sim racers to win WRX Esports opener
Swedish rally driver Mattias Adielsson beat two of the top virtual rallycross drivers to win the first World Rallycross Esports Invitational at the Catalunya RX circuit.
In partnership with Motorsport Games, the series launched with a grid of 20 drivers for the opening round, including reigning real-life World RX champion Timmy Hansen and two-time champion Johan Kristoffersson. 28-year-old Adielsson, who is no stranger to sim racing, lined up in the five-driver final alongside DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series champion Killian Dall’olmo and another sim racer, Lukas Mateja.
They were joined by the fastest real-life World RX drivers Hansen and Kevin Abbring, who operates a business coaching professional drivers with the use of simulators.
Adielsson wrestled the race lead on the opening lap from Mateja with a forceful move in his Audi S1 and was able to maintain that position until the end of the six-lap race to win the first virtual World RX event. Mateja failed to make taking his joker lap earlier than Adielsson work and ended up losing second place to Dall’olmo on the final lap of the race.
Pre-event favourite Dall’olmo won his semi-final but ran fifth at the start of the final after contact with Hansen at Turn 1. Abbring beat Hansen, who dominated the second semi-final, to take fourth place as the highest-placed real-life World RX driver in the event.
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Dall’olmo’s brother Quentin was among the shock exits in the semi-finals, after he topped the qualification period. He spun on the opening lap of his semi-final and reversed into the path of Kevin Hansen, earning himself a 10-second penalty and ending Kevin’s chances of making the final.
Andreas Bakkerud was another big-name exit from the penultimate phase of the competition after he made door-to-door contact with Mateja on the final lap of the second semi-final and dropped to fifth place. Although Bakkerud believed he was “punted off” by Mateja, the stewards decided on no further action.
The contact between the pair promoted Adielsson into second and proved to be the critical factor in the Swedish rally driver making it to the final.
Kristoffersson’s World RX return proved to be a disaster with multiple technical issues meaning he had little chance of progressing past the qualifiers. Also plagued by internet issues was two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider.
The next World RX Esports Invitational event on Codemasters' DiRT Rally 2.0 is currently scheduled to take place on May 3 at the virtual Montalegre circuit in Portugal.
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