The iRacing Rallycross World Championship Presented by Yokohama saw a fourth different winner on the season at Phoenix Raceway Rallycross. Yohann Harth became the first multi-time winner in series history in the desert as he collected his second win at the venue, and the fifth of his career.
It’s been a long season for the 2020 iRX champ. Despite his best efforts all season long, it wasn’t until Wednesday where Harth was able to score his first victory on the year. It won’t be enough, however, as his Subaru Motorsports USA teammate Jon Robertson scored just enough points to eliminate him from title contention.
Robertson crossed the line in second, but was relegated to last in the main feature as he was awarded a ten-second penalty for jumping the start of the race. Championship rivals at SET Esports, both Jonne Ollikainen and Tommi Hallman rounded out the podium when it was settled. Only Robertson, Ollikainen and Hallman have a shot to become the next champion as only two races remain in the championship battle.
QUALIFYING AND HEATS
Robertson started off the evening with nothing unusual, just another pole position won. It was only by two hundredths over Hallman, who entered the race on a two-race winning streak. Harth, Kevin Ellis Jr, Killian Dall’olmo and Ollikainen rounded out the points paying positions as the event transitioned into heat races.
Robertson had a bit of a struggle in the first heat. As Dall’olmo laid on the pressure early, taking the Joker lap early on, it looked as if he could pull off the upset. Robertson got his head back into the game and took the Joker coming to the white flag, barely squeezing back into the lead to take the victory.
Heat two was pure chaos, as Ollikainen found himself in the midst of an ongoing feud between Garrett Manes and Beau Albert. The trio took to the Joker on lap 1, and all three would find trouble at the slow section of it. This allowed Hallman and Jake Robertson to scoot away and take the two transfer spots.
Things settled back down in the final two heats. In the third, no incident points were handed out to any of the six drivers. Harth and Luis Núñez stole the show as they pulled away, advancing to the feature.
The final heat wasn’t as clean, but still, the two fastest drivers were able to advance. Ellis Jr held on for the heat victory while Rasmus Tuominen returned after a week off to find himself in the main event once again.
C-MAIN AND B-MAIN LCQ’S
As it always turns out, the LCQ main races were not the best in terms of clean racing, but likely the best drivers still made their way through and into the main event.
In the C-Main, Jarno Leskinen was able to escape the chaos to take the victory. The rest of the field wrecked behind him, but Aatu Hakalehto made it through to keep him honest. Hakalehto hasn’t made it through to a feature yet, but he’ll have two more chances at Sonoma and Charlotte.
Championship contender Ollikainen found himself in a precarious situation for the second week in a row, relegated back to the B-Main LCQ once again.
While the other drivers roughed each other up, Ollikainen made it look easy as he took the tenth and final spot in the feature race.
Most of the time, the feature races are decided in the opening lap. This time, an unlikely penalty threw a wrench into equation for both the race win and the championship battle. Moments before the lights went out, Jon Robertson jumped a few feet forward. The ensuing penalty would be ten seconds added on to the total time. At a track like Phoenix, it’s essentially a death sentence.
Even into the first corner, contact got the points leader sideways, losing him valuable time. Hallman and Harth were able to pull away, but Robertson and Ollikainen were not out of it yet. If Robertson could utilize the Joker to his favor and pass his teammate Harth, he could potentially open up a large enough gap to prevent a last place finish.
Unfortunately for him, Harth maintained control and led his teammate across the line. Ollikainen moved up from last to finish second and Hallman took third.
With only two races to go, 13 points separate the Top 3 in the points. Robertson was only able to take home 15 points at Phoenix as Hallman took the most points in the battle, 23. Ollikainen scored 19 points, and the SET Esports teammates lead the overall team standings by 26 over the Subaru duo.
PHOENIX MAIN EVENT RESULTS
- 90 Yohann Harth – Subaru Motorsports USA – 10 LAPS
- 44 Jonne Ollikainen – SET Esports +0:02.174 sec
- 87 Tommi Hallman – SET Esports +0:02.675 sec
- 22 Rasmus Tuominen – SET Esports Team GRX +0:03.859 sec
- 52 Jarno Leskinen – Hansen Williams Esports +0:05.007 sec
- 18 Killian Dall’olmo – SET Esports Team GRX +0:06.137 sec
- 14 Luis Núñez – Logitech G Altus Esports +0:06.879 sec
- 45 Jake Robertson – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Esports +0:08.347 sec
- 30 Kevin Ellis Jr – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Esports +0:10.069 sec
- 86 Jon Robertson – Subaru Motorsports USA +0:12.448 sec
POINTS FOLLOWING RACE #7 – PHOENIX
- Jon Robertson – 160 points | 2 wins
- Jonne Ollikainen – 148 points | 1 win
- Tommi Hallman – 147 points | 3 wins
- Yohann Harth – 109 points | 1 win
- Kevin Ellis Jr – 89 points
- Killian Dall’olmo – 76 points
- Jarno Leskinen – 71 points
- Vicente Salas – 69 points
- Luis Núñez – 56 points
- Jake Robertson – 54 points
Note: Two drivers, Vicente Salas and Josh Fox, were suspended this week for reaching the designated incident limit over the course of the entire season.
iRX ALL STARS
It was a small field for the All Stars again this week, but two Traxion drivers were in it and ready to dance. Aero made the main event while I struggled to find pace once again.
In the feature, Michael Cosey Jr survived the fracas at first, but was caught and passed by eNASCAR champ Nick Ottinger with a few laps to go. Ottinger went on to win as Cosey took a turtle too hard and flipped end-over-end before the close of the race.
The iRacing Rallycross World Championship Presented by Yokohama heads to Sonoma Raceway next week for the penultimate race of the 2021 season.
The Sonoma Rallycross 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) and 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!