Mitchell deJong keeps winning the battles, but Sami-Matti Trogen has all but won the war.
deJong scored his fourth win of the 2019 Thrustmaster iRacing Rallycross World Championship on Saturday from Daytona International Speedway, overcoming a second place starting spot in the first heat to score the win and pole position from the final. From there, the former X Games gold medalist and real-world rallycross champion drove a clean race to lock up the victory, as he remains the only driver to win multiple races in the 2019 season—and the only driver to win an iRX race at Daytona.
“I’m stoked!” said deJong, after finding out that he kept his championship hopes alive. “Qualifying didn’t go well at all. On the first and second lap the jump kind of sent me for a ride, so the third lap I just kind of took it easy. But if I had to qualify anywhere except for pole, that would be the place to be. I knew that if I kind of nailed it, I had a chance at getting Josh (Fox). We just tried not to make mistakes in the main. It feels great to get another win, no complaints!”
deJong’s Coanda Simsport teammate Bobby Zalenski came home third to score his third podium in as many weeks, but Trogen split the two of them in second place after avoiding contact in front of him on the first lap that sent Otto Taskinen on his roof. While that meant the SET Esports driver was unable to clinch the championship before next week’s season finale in Atlanta, it did put him in a prime position to do so. With an 82-point advantage over deJong, Trogen needs to score just three points in qualifying or the heats to mathematically clinch the title before the final even grids.
“I saw cars crash in front of me going into the first corner, and I just stayed calm,” said Trogen. “I tried to really push in the first two laps, but I made one mistake, so it was just an okay race. I was good at Atlanta last time, so I’m confident I can take the championship in qualifying. I know I’m fast there, so we’ll see what happens.”
This year’s race winners take up five of the top six spots in the series standings, with Zalenski the lone exception in fifth. Joni Heikkinen sits 23 points behind deJong in third, while Yohann Harth, Zalenski, and Taskinen are separated by just 16 points in the battle for the final two spots in the top five. In addition to the close points battles up front, the series saw its 23rd different driver make a main event on Saturday, as Phil Diaz finally cracked the 10-car final after a number of close calls throughout the season.
Thrustmaster iRacing Rallycross World Championship standings through eight rounds are as follows:
- Sami-Matti Trogen, 559
- Mitchell deJong, 477
- Joni Heikkinen, 454
- Yohann Harth, 434
- Bobby Zalenski, 431
- Otto Taskinen, 418
- Josh Fox, 358
- Jon Robertson, 309
- Tommi Hallman, 303
- Garrett Lowe, 276
The 2019 Thrustmaster iRacing Rallycross World Championship season wraps up next Saturday with a visit to the short layout at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The season finale will mark the series’ first visit to Atlanta since this year’s opener, and the first time the short layout has ever been used in the iRX World Championship. As always, the race can be streamed live at 1PM ET/10AM PT on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.