September 27th, 2020 by Chris Leone
For the third year in a row, a first-time starter took the checkered flag in the main event of the iRacing Rallycross World Championship presented by Yokohama season opener. This time, it was Ilari Lamminsivu, who held off the field after saving his joker for the final lap in a hard-fought season opener from Hell Lankebanen, the newest rallycross course on iRacing.
“The race went well!” said Lamminsivu. “In practice, I had way better lap times, but after qualification, I just thought it was all or nothing. In European-style rallycross, it’s usually best if you take the joker on the last lap, so I just tried to hang on until the last lap and take the joker then. I just tried to focus on the driving—I didn’t focus on where the others were.”
A new-look 2020 iRX season featured new sponsors and an influx of new teams, with 14 Official Teams taking over the championship roster. The first official esports entries of real-world rallycross powerhouses Subaru Motorsports USA, Andretti Autosport, and Hansen Motorsport joined crossover teams led by IndyCar star Ed Carpenter, former Supercross champion Chad Reed, and NASCAR driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman as newcomers to the championship. The newcomers made some strong statements in both the driver free agency period and the early heat races, with a 1-2 finish for new Subaru drivers and longtime series stars Mitchell deJong and Bobby Zalenski kicking things off in the first heat.
The series’ signature door-to-door, full-contact rallycross action was on full display throughout the day, especially in a thrilling final that came down to the joker delta. deJong and Lamminsivu established themselves in first and second on the holeshot, but Lamminsivu got the inside line across the stripe to lead the first lap. deJong, the inaugural series champion, jokered immediately, but found himself stuck in traffic for much of the race as a result.
Both Lamminsivu and second place Beau Albert saved their jokers for the final lap, making contact as they completed the outside dirt corner. When the lanes merged again, deJong found himself alongside Albert, but as that duo made contact of their own, the Finnish rookie was able to pull away and score a debut victory for Reed’s CR22 Motorsports team. deJong and Team Yokohama’s Jon Robertson would complete the podium, with Lamminsivu’s teammate Tommi Makinen nipping Albert for fourth as the Andretti Autosport driver was sent wide in Turn 4.
Results from the iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama final from Hell Lankebanen were as follows:
iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama driver points after one race are as follows:
- Mitchell deJong, 26
- Ilari Lamminsivu, 23
- Jon Robertson, 22
- Tommi Makinen, 14
- Beau Albert, 13
- Yohann Harth, 13
- Otto Taskinen, 11
- Jonne Ollikainen, 10
- Garrett Lowe, 10
- Connor Parise, 9
iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama team points after one race are as follows:
- CR22 Motorsports, 37
- Team Yokohama, 35
- Subaru Motorsports USA, 34
- Andretti Autosport, 18
- Ed Carpenter Racing, 17
- Williams Esports, 15
- SET Esports, 14
- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 11
- Loenbro Motorsports, 10
- 2 teams tied, 7
The iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama resumes in two weeks’ time at Daytona International Speedway, with the reintroduction of All-Star Invitational competition featuring real-world motorsport stars joining the World Championship action. The stream kicks off on Saturday, October 10 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.