The start of the 2021 iRacing Rallycross World Championship presented by Yokohama has now seen two finishes decided by a last lap pass utilizing the Joker. This week, it was Jon Robertson who was victorious as he scooted around Vicente Salas just before the final corner, saving the Joker lap for the last time around.
As Salas battled it out with the defending champion Yohann Harth in the closing laps, the racing got physical. The two opted to use the Joker early to distance themselves from the rest of the field, but the reality was that it gave Jon Robertson plenty of time on a relatively clean track to gain the time he needed to win.
Jon Robertson picked up his second career victory in the series, both of which come at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s long course. The win also propels him to the top of the points after two races this season.
QUALIFYING AND HEATS
With points on the line from the start of qualifying, the race was on to see who could score the first six points of the night. Jon Robertson, who swept the entirety of the event last year, was able to score yet another pole position. He out qualified Jarno Leskinen, Jake Robertson, Jonne Ollikainen, Harth and Salas, the Top 6 when it was over.
In the first heat, due to the way they qualified, both Subaru Motorsports USA teammates wound up in the same race at the front of the field. While Robertson had the quicker pace in qualifying, Harth was able to get by and score the heat win. Both would advance onward.
The second heat saw chaos from the get go. As Leskinen and Salas led the field into the turn before the jump, both Josh Fox and Alex Bergeron dove it deep inside, taking the fight for the lead four wide. After the dust settled and the cars got back going in the right direction, Salas managed to take over control. It looked like Bergeron would take the second transfer, but a perfect Joker by Luke Crouse put Crouse in and Bergeron into a LCQ.
Heat #3 was much calmer in comparison. The drivers raced properly and kept their fenders to themselves. The Rahal Letterman Lanagan Esports duo of Jake Robertson and Kevin Jr managed to play the cards right to transfer both of their cars into the main show. This locked out last week’s winner Tommi Hallman.
In the final heat, there were some elbows thrown wide again on the initial start. Jonne Ollikainen and Beau Albert made contact, upsetting the Logitech G Altus Esports machine as they rounded the corner before the jump. As Albert saved it, Rasmus Tuominen became an innocent victim as he was whipped across the track in the opposite direction. Ollikainen and Albert held on to advance.
C-MAIN AND B-MAIN LCQ’S
With only two more spots remaining in the main event, the final two LCQ’s would not be calm, cool, or collected.
The C-Main LCQ saw a desperation move from Hallman on the final lap that changed the outcome of the results. As Hallman rocketed out of the Joker, he met the rear bumper of Killian Dallolmo. Dallolmo knew he had to block the run in order to keep the lead, but Hallman never lifted, and the two went wrecking on the last lap before the final turn. Toni Lähteenmäki was in the prime position to capitalize and went on to make the main event.
The final chance, the B-Main LCQ, had a battle for the ages between youth and experience. The younger Leskinen went to task with the veteran Bergeron. While the two were evenly matched, it all came down to the final corner of the final lap. Most passes came on the Joker, but as they both had already used theirs up, Leskinen would need to do something that others weren’t able to do up until this point – make a pass cleanly on the final corner.
It got physical, but the contact was fair. Leskinen moved Bergeron out of the groove just enough to take a half dirt, half grass pass to the lead just before the jump and the checkered flag to move on to the main event.
The field set by finishing positions in the heats, Harth took the field from the lights down into the final corner to start the main event. Whether it was luck, skill or both, Salas managed to slide his way in front to take the green.
As both Harth and Salas used up their Jokers early to distance themselves from the rest, it proved to be both of their downfalls. The two contenders got rough towards the end. Harth showed better pace through the midsection of the race, but Salas knew he couldn’t let him through. A few taps before the jump coming to two laps to go put Harth in front, but as they navigated the asphalt esses, Salas evened the score to get back to the top.
The resulting contact cost them both just enough time for Jon Robertson to pull off a spectacular Joker lap on the final lap to take the win away.
ATLANTA MAIN EVENT RESULTS
- 86 Jon Robertson – Subaru Motorsports USA – 10 LAPS
- 55 Vicente Salas – Elliott Sadler Esports +0:00.398 sec
- 90 Yohann Harth – Subaru Motorsports USA +0:00.859 sec
- 44 Jonne Ollikainen – SET Esports +0:01.387 sec
- 30 Kevin Ellis Jr – Rahal Letterman Lanagan Esports +0:01.957 sec
- 52 Jarno Leskinen – Hansen Williams Esports +0:02.992 sec
- 92 Toni Lähteenmäki – Jim Beaver Esports +0:04.665 sec
- 45 Jake Robertson – Rahal Letterman Lanagan Esports +0:05.020 sec
- 34 Luke Crouse – Nitro Circus +0:06.723 sec
- 06 Beau Albert – Logitech G Altus Esports +0:10.073 sec
POINTS FOLLOWING RACE #2 – ATLANTA
- Jon Robertson – 49 points
- Jonne Ollikainen – 45 points
- Vicente Salas – 39 points
- Yohann Harth – 35 points
- Tommi Hallman – 34 points
- Jarno Leskinen – 23 points
- Kevin Ellis Jr – 20 points
- Jake Robertson – 20 points
- Rasmus Tuominen – 15 points
- Josh Fox – 15 points
The iRacing Rallycross World Championship Presented by Yokohama heads to the Iowa Speedway’s Rallycross configuration next week. As always, the iRacing Rallycross All-Stars will take the field first, usually showing off what not to do in these types of racing situations. We have fun, though.
While Luke Knupp won the All-Star main race at Atlanta, Traxion’s own Keenan Kusan (Aero) won his heat and finished sixth overall. That other Traxion scrub in the field didn’t even make the main event this time.
The Iowa broadcast next week will be available with multiple options for different languages. The main feed in English will go off on the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages. The Finnish feed can be viewed on Finnish Sim Racing Association (FISRA) A French version will be on BenjxMotors while a Norwegian cast can be found on the Norwegian SimRacing Channel.
Tune in at 4:00 pm ET, 9:00 pm BST to catch the action!