Monday 4 May 2020

Faultless Quentin Dall'olmo claims World RX Esports victory.

Quentin Dall'olmo leading his younger brother Killian in the World RX Esports Invitational final.
CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross
DiRT Rally 2.0 Esports star Quentin Dall'olmo won the second edition of the World Rallycross Esports Invitational at Montalegre, as Jon Armstrong and Supercars star Shane Van Gisbergen completed the podium. 

The Montalegre grid featured several drivers who had competed at the inaugural Esports Invitational, while three new stars joined the line-up, Australian Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen, FMX motorcycle rider Blake 'Bilko" Williams and Former F1 driver Mika Salo. 

While the inaugural Esport Invitational saw Swedish rally driver Mattias Adielsson claiming top honors, the Montalegre round saw domination from brothers, and this time it was not the Hansen brothers, but another pair of siblings, the Dall'olmo brothers. 

The Dall'olmo brothers lead the charge in the qualifying heats both claiming two Qualifying session wins apiece, but with the fastest times in Qualifying in changeable conditions, Quentin Dall'olmo took the top qualifiers spot in the Intermediate Classification. Killian Dall'olmo and older brother Quentin went on to win their respective semi-finals punching their tickets into the final. 

The final was full of action seeing Killian Dall'olmo jumping the start and opting for an immediate joker lap. While Shane van Gisbergen and Mattias Adielsson made contact exiting the joker lap costing them valuable time to the leaders. But despite starting in pole position, Quentin crossed the line in second place behind his younger brother Killian, but due to the jump start, he was handed a 20-second time penalty dropping him to fourth overall. 

Quentin was declared the race winner with Jon Armstrong in second and Shane van Gisbergen in third. 

"I'm really happy with this victory, it was a perfect day for me. Top qualifier, a semi-final win, and the win in the final is awesome," Dall'olmo said. 

"I felt a little bit of pressure because I didn't want to make the same mistakes that I did at Barcelona-Catalunya (I was leading the overall standings and then I crashed in the semi-final)," he said. "But it was good I knew that I have the best pace alongside my brother, we had the same speed each time. So, I had to be careful with the start and contact with others, and then use my pace to win. I drove safely each time and I'm really happy with my management of the races it was better than the first round."

For the final, the Dall'olmo brothers opted for different strategies with their sights firmly set on a one-two finish, but that was not to be with Killian's jump-start.

"For the final, I was on a different strategy to my brother to make a Dall'olmo one-two so there was less pressure on because we won't crash into each other, but it was important to make a good start because all the drivers in the final were very fast," Quentin adds. "Sadly he jumped the start so I knew that he got 20 seconds of penalty so I drove safely to take the win it was useless to attack Killian, especially in the wet conditions when it's really hard to keep the grip."

"Playing against such great drivers in real life is awesome and different, so it's really cool! I am looking forward to the next event. It's awesome for us Esports drivers to play against theses famous professional drivers!"

Junior WRC driver and DiRT Rally 2.0 development driver Jon Armstrong delivered a strong performance to make the semi-finals with fourth in the Intermediate Classification. In the semi-finals, he survived a duel with Henrik Krogstad to book himself a place in the final and was classified second.

The stand-out performance came from Australian Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen who claimed two qualifying heat wins. In the thick of the action throughout qualifying, van Gisbergen shone on the gravel surfaces as well as the asphalt and made it into the final on his rallycross debut.
Shane Van Gisbergen crossing the finish line on two wheels.
CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross.

In the final, van Gisbergen and Mattias Adielsson (Catalunya race winner), had a race-long fight for position, but when penalties were applied, it was van Gisbergen who took the last place on the podium.

Reigning DiRT 2.0 Rallycross World Series Champion Killian Dall’olmo faced a few setbacks including a puncture in Q3. He won semi-final two and led the final from start to finish, but was classified fourth after a jump start (20-second penalty). Adielsson was handed a 10-second penalty for contact with van Gisbergen and he would finish at the tail end of the field in fifth-place. 

The 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen was denied a place in the final by van Gisbergen who pulled off a bold move on the inside of Hansen when he slid wide at Turn 1's right-hand hairpin in the semi-final 1.

Timmy slipped further back after being handed a five-second penalty and was eliminated along with Czech Esports star Lukas Mateja and GC Kompetition's Rokas Baciuska, who picked up a penalty for track limits. 

In the second semi-final, Henrik Krogstad and Kevin Hansen were eliminated. The latter received a five-second penalty. Adielsson progressed to the final as the fastest third-placed driver after the semi-finals. 

Among those eliminated in the qualifiers were World RX drivers Matvey Furzahkin, Oliver Bennett, Renis Nitiss, and Timo Scheider. Including current Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa, who loved his World RX Esport debut, saying: "This is carnage, but I love it!"

Former F1 driver Mika Salo was also eliminated along with World Endurance Championship driver Nicki Thiim, Fail Race, Conner Martell, and X Games star Blake "Bilko" Williams who was unable to compete due to connection issues.

The next World RX Esports Invitational will be announced in due course.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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