October 23rd, 2020 by Chris Leone
The iRacing Rallycross All-Star Invitational and World Championship presented by Yokohama make their only visit to Iowa Speedway of the 2020 season on Saturday, with an interesting mix of real-world pros set to take on the tricky layout before yielding the track to sim racing’s fastest drivers. Here’s what to watch out for from what may turn out to be a wild card round in this year’s championships:
ALL-STAR INVITATIONAL PREVIEW: Last week’s All-Star Invitational saw a return to form for Subaru Motorsports USA star Scott Speed, but former World Rally Championship driver Kristian Sohlberg took the checkered flag when all was said and done after Speed couldn’t claim the top spot in the Joker Lap. Fellow WRC veteran and rallycross standout Chris Atkinson completed the podium, as both Speed and Atkinson are within just a handful of points of incoming series leader Conner Martell.
Drivers expected to compete in Saturday’s All-Star Invitational include the following:
|09||Michael Leach||Loenbro Motorsports||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|11||Tanner Whitten||Whitten Racing||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|16||Kristian Sohlberg||Casino Friday||Subaru WRX STI|
|21||Conner Martell||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/VSC||Subaru WRX STI|
|22||Blake “Bilko” Williams||Team Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|23||Tyler Menninga||Heatwave||Subaru WRX STI|
|25||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||iRacing||Volkswagen Beetle|
|37||Mario Bonfante Jr.||Marwin Sports||Subaru WRX STI|
|39||Kevin Swindell||Swindell Speedlab||Subaru WRX STI|
|41||Scott Speed||Subaru Motorsports USA||Subaru WRX STI|
|55||Chris Atkinson||Team Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|64||Tim Stevens||Roadshow Autos||Subaru WRX STI|
|81||Bucky Lasek||Rockstar Energy/Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|180||Brandon Semenuk||Subaru Motorsports USA||Subaru WRX STI|
|199||Travis Pastrana||Subaru Motorsports USA||Subaru WRX STI|
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Three different winners have kicked off the first three races of the World Championship season, with Team Yokohama’s Jon Robertson joining CR22 Motorsports’ Ilari Lamminsivu and SET Esports’ Jonne Ollikainen as a first-time series winner last weekend at Atlanta. Robertson’s third podium in a row has given him an 18-point championship advantage going into the only Iowa round of the season.
Many drivers feel that Iowa is better suited to iRX’s shorter-wheelbase cars, but the current Subaru Motorsports USA duo of Mitchell deJong and Bobby Zalenski went 1-2 here in the WRX STI last season. One of iRX’s original four tracks, the circuit hosted two rounds in the series’ inaugural season, which were split by deJong and Loenbro Motorsports’ Garrett Lowe.
YOKOHAMA POLE AWARD: Last week’s Yokohama Pole Award stayed within the Yokohama family, as Jon Robertson brought home top honors in qualifying for the first time this season over teammate Yohann Harth. The driver who scores the most poles over the course of the season earns a custom trophy presented by Yokohama Tire.
DIRTFISH ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Ollikainen remains the top rookie driver in iRX points at second in the championship, nearly a full race’s worth of points clear of Lamminsivu, the next closest rookie in sixth. Tommi Makinen of CR22 Motorsports holds strong in seventh, while rookies Beau Albert of Andretti Autosport and Jake Robertson of Ed Carpenter Racing are tied for the final spot in the top 10. The DirtFish Rookie of the Year Award will go to the top point-scorer over the course of the season, and includes a free three-day course at DirtFish Rally School.
MARWIN SPORTS: Hansen Williams Esports’ Josh Fox and Andretti Autosport’s Beau Albert won the Marwin Sports Last Chance Qualifiers at Iowa, while Jon Robertson earned a race winner’s prize pack from Marwin Sports by virtue of taking the checkered flag.
iRX All-Star Invitational and World Championship presented by Yokohama action kicks off on Saturday, October 17 at 1PM ET (17:00 GMT) on the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages, as well as across a number of industry and competitor Facebook pages. A Finnish-language simulcast will air on YLE Areena and YLE E-urheilu.
All-Star Invitational image via Brian Campbell | @aldaw0lf