Hansen and title rival Tom Blomqvist were evenly matched on pace, with both running impressive qualifying times, though Blomqvist secured the point for Top Qualifier. Each driver won their semi-final, but a clash in the final saw both drop down the order. In the end, Hansen’s fourth place was enough to take the title by four points, with Blomqvist third.
Just ahead of the championship battle was David Perel. The South African Ferrari GT3 driver, usually associated in the virtual world with circuit racing in Assetto Corsa and Gran Turismo, was one of several guest drivers, and proved he had pace on dirt too.
In fact Shane van Gisbergen, who missed the previous event due to real-world motorsport, took the event win – his second in four events. That saw him finish third in the table, ahead of Kevin Hansen.
WorldRX ran a series alongside the main event for sim racers, and the title for that went to Killian Dall’olmo. Dall’olmo, the 2020 DiRT World Series Rallycross Champion back in January, won his third event of the campaign to take the title ahead of his older brother Quentin. Between them, the Dall’olmo brothers won all four rounds, but Killian secured the title as Quentin was unable to make the final in South Africa.
Yann Ehrlacher extended his lead in the penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Esports Championship, as Macau proved its real world reputation extends to the virtual.
Ehrlacher ran a solid first race, starting and finishing second in his Lynk & Co 03, behind pole-sitter Mikel Azcona’s Cupra. Title rival Norbert Michelisz – also a driver who started his career in sim-racing – was caught up in an early incident that left him well outside the points, however a very eventful second race would see things close up again.
Michelisz quickly got his Hyundai i30N past Thed Bjork in the other Cyan Racing Lynk, before the chaos unfolded behind. In attempting to keep up his own title challenge, Esteban Guerreri made contact with the barrier at the Police corner. A pile-up ensured which took care of much of the field – including Ehrlacher – allowing Michelisz and Bjork to get ten seconds clear.
The racing action moves on to Sepang next weekend for the final round, with Ehrlacher nine points ahead of Michelisz, and Azcona a further eight points behind.
Fernando Alonso was back in virtual action this weekend, after announcing his return to Formula One with Renault next season. Alonso teamed up with Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan, and sim-racers including Olli Pakhala in the iRacing 24 Hours of Spa. Driving a Ferrari 488 GT3, the team won its “split” – a category for drivers and teams of broadly equal talent in esports – by more than a lap of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The overall winners were the VRS Coanda Simsport McLaren car of Mack Bakkum, Jeremy Bouteloup, Josh Rogers, and Joni Takanen.