September 23rd, 2021 by Chris Leone
SET Esports’ quest to reclaim the championship in the iRacing Rallycross World Championship presented by Yokohama started with a bang on Wednesday, as drivers Tommi Hallman and Jonne Ollikainen scored a dramatic 1-2 finish in the feature race from Daytona International Speedway. After saving his Joker Lap for the very final corner, Hallman nipped Ollikainen at the line by just .202 seconds in a finish that will surely set the tone for an ultra-competitive season ahead.
It marked the second straight year that Daytona saw the same three drivers on the podium, as Subaru Motorsports USA’s Jon Robertson was third in his debut with his new team. In fact, with Robertson’s teammate and defending champion Yohann Harth coming home fourth, the entire top four mirrored last year—with Hallman and Ollikainen flipping spots the only difference. eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff contender Vicente Salas, kicking off his second year in the series, completed the top five for Elliott Sadler eSports.
Yokohama Pole Award: Hallman was last year’s overall Yokohama Pole Award winner, but it was his teammate and last year’s Daytona winner Ollikainen nipping him by just .009 seconds for the top spot in qualifying. The top six drivers—Ollikainen, Hallman, Salas, Robertson, SET Esports Team GRX’s Killian Dall’olmo, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Kevin Ellis Jr.—were all within one tenth of a second of each other.
DirtFish Rookie of the Year: In one of the deepest rookie fields in recent memory, just two drivers in their first full season would make it to the main event. Hansen Williams Esports’ Jarno Leskinen secured his spot with a second-place finish in his heat, while Jim Beaver eSports’ Alex Bergeron ran away with his last chance qualifier as the field got into trouble behind him. Bergeron would finish eighth and Leskinen 10th in the main event, with the duo tying in points.
The 2021 DirtFish Rookie of the Year will receive a complimentary Three Day course from DirtFish, the Official Rallying School of iRacing Rallycross. To sign up and get behind the wheel yourself, visit drive.dirtfish.com.
Hard Charger Award: Team Yokohama’s Thomas Wangen was the biggest position gainer from qualifying, improving from the 27th fastest lap to finish third in his LCQ (13th overall) for a gain of 14 spots in the final order. Among drivers to make the feature, Bergeron was the biggest position gainer, adding 10 spots after qualifying 18th and finishing eighth in the final.
iRX All-Star Invitational: In a field that well and truly lived up to its name, a talented group of 17 real-world drivers, crossover sim racers from other iRacing pro series, and popular streamers set the scene for an exciting day of racing at Daytona. When all was said and done, it was ARCA Menards East Series driver Parker Retzlaff, a 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series hopeful, running away from the field in the 10-car, 10-lap feature after overcoming an LCQ appearance.
Craig Williams of Craig’s Setup Shop was second, with real-world rallycross champion Conner Martell completing the podium, as both got past Trevor “PuckVanek” Perry in the closing laps. Perry led the first lap of the race, taking advantage of the third starting spot in a fully inverted feature grid, before Retzlaff got past on Lap 2 and never looked back. The feature field also included two Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup regulars in Jamie Fluke and Zac Campbell, eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series star Malik Ray, esteemed sim racing journalist Justin Melillo, and top Twitch streamers Pablo “GoProLopez” López and Daniel Gray. Early eliminations included Tyson “Quirkitized” Meier, NHRA champion Ron Capps, and stock car racing pro Landon Huffman.
iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama feature results from Daytona International Speedway were as follows:
|8||10||15||Alex A Bergeron||Subaru||10||-10.071||0||39.465||8|
iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama driver standings through one round are as follows:
- Tommi Hallman, 28
- Jonne Ollikainen, 26
- Jon Robertson, 21
- Vicente Salas, 18
- Yohann Harth, 15
- Rasmus Tuominen, 11
- Josh Fox, 11
- Otto Taskinen, 9
- Alex Bergeron, 8
- Jarno Leskinen, 8
iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama team standings through one round are as follows:
- SET Esports, 54
- Subaru Motorsports USA, 36
- Elliott Sadler eSports, 20
- Hansen Williams Esports, 19
- SET Esports Team GRX, 18
- Nitro Circus, 12
- Jim Beaver eSports, 12
- Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 12
- Ed Carpenter Racing, 9
- 2 teams tied, 8
iRacing Rallycross presented by Yokohama continues next Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Jon Robertson scored his first career iRX victory last season. Coverage kicks off with the All-Star Invitational at 4PM ET and continues with the World Championship at 5PM ET, and will air across iRacing’s Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. iRX will also be covered in Finnish by the Finnish Sim Racing Association, in French by BenjxMotors, and in Norwegian by the Norwegian SimRacing Channel.
For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.
Images via Justin Melillo