|PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.|
On his virtual rallycross debut in Portugal last time out, van Gisbergen claimed a podium finish despite multiple spins and incidents including a collision with Mattias Adielsson on the opening lap of the final.
“It was definitely fun to do my first World RX Esports race in Portugal, I always watch World Rallycross on TV so it was pretty cool to be a part of it racing all those guys and I went a lot better than what I thought I would,” he said. “My goal was to make the semis but I didn’t think that would be possible given how fast everyone was, but I had some good luck in the races and had a couple of qualifying wins which really helped me.”
The New Zealander has previous experience of racing at the Abu Dhabi circuit when the Australian V8 Supercars last raced at Yas Marina in 2012.
Whilst he might have experience around the Yas Marina circuit; the purpose-built 1.2-kilometer rallycross circuit poses its own unique challenges with long straights and tight turns that aren’t forgiving.
Van Gisbergen has already begun testing for the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship Esport Invitational Series.
“I did some laps at Abu Dhabi a couple of days ago actually, it’s a pretty long track, quite tough and technical,” Van Gisbergen said. “I actually raced there a couple of times a few years ago in V8 Supercars, so it’s quite cool to be racing on the rallycross version, so it should be a bit of fun. I had a really good response from the rallycross (Esports event in Portugal) so hopefully, everyone enjoyed watching it and this weekend hopefully we can do the same again.”
The driver line-up has been confirmed for the first event include FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen, World RX racers, and esports regulars Oliver Bennett, Timo Scheider and Kevin Hansen along with rising star Rokas Baciuska. Former Ferrari F1 driver Mika Salo and Supercars Star Shane Van Gisbergen returns for there second rallycross outing.
A host of new entrants will make their virtual rallycross debut this Sunday, namely: drifting and stunt driver Tessa Whittock, RX2 racer Fraser McConnell, the 2019 GT Masters Champion Kelvin van der Linde, Australian Supercars driver Scott Pye, GT star Tom Blomqvist and WTCR racer Esteban Guerrieri.