Van Gisbergen Gives World RX Masterclass, as Alonso Wins Four in a Row – FOS Future Lab
World Rallycross started its own pro invitational esports championship this weekend, and Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen was the surprise winner in the first round.
Sunday’s action took place at a course laid out in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, with a host of big names running a series of race heats. That included current World RX champion Timmy Hansen and his brother Kevin, who also races for the Hansen team. One surprise guest driver was Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, making his rallycross debut – albeit virtually.
However it was New Zealander van Gisbergen that proved the man to beat, only missing out on a perfect score by a single point, courtesy of a second place in his semi-final behind GT racer Tom Blomqvist. Indeed van Gisbergen’s final race time was almost a full second faster than the sim racers managed in their category.
The SRO Esports GT series moved to Barcelona for its fourth round. This event has an unusual feature where it keeps the pro drivers, sim racers, and online qualifiers apart in three separate races, with a unified grid at a season-ending grand final later in the summer.
Louis Deletraz led the way for the Pros, taking victory at the Catalunya circuit after coming so close last time out at the Nürburgring. The Swiss racer was unstoppable, starting from pole position and taking a lights-to-flag victory despite late attention from Lorenzo Marcucci. There’s only one race of the regular pro season left, and as the only driver with points finishes in every race so far, Deletraz has jumped into top spot, 10 points ahead of Marcucci.
Over in the All Stars Legends Trophy, Fernando Alonso set a remarkable record. After a slightly disappointing first attempt at esports, the Spanish F1 world champion managed an unlikely double-win at Indianapolis last time out. Impressively he repeated the feat at Silverstone in the final race of the series, winning race one from pole positions and scything through the reverse-grid race to win yet again.
That makes it four-in-a-row for Alonso, but this late run of stellar form couldn’t alter the destination of the title. With all rounds run, it’s ex-McLaren team-mate Jenson Button who claimed the overall championship. The Pro Cup sister series saw Nicki Thiim and Aston Martin clinch the titles in a dramatic finale when rival Esteban Gutierrez suffered a disconnection – the virtual racing equivalent of mechanical failure.
However the Belgian sprang off the line in New York and was never seriously challenged. That win puts Vandoorne at the top of the standings from Pascal Wehrlein heading into the final round next weekend.
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