The 2022 season for the World Rally Championship’s official esports series has begun, and it’s Kazuho Iwata, aka eR Kazunokota, who came out on top.
The first round of the season ran in the WRC 10 game between 4th-7th February, across two Monte Carlo stages – Agnières-en-Devoluy and La Bollène-Vésubie Reverse, totalling 28.53km.
With an asphalt base, the stages are strewn with sharp rock faces, narrow hairpins and slippery ice. Completing the stages is no mean feat, never mind setting a competitive time.
Iwata won the first round in surprise fashion, beating several series regulars.
However, the Japanese rally ace competing for ERally Drivers has shown strong virtual rally form in the past, making it to the final of the DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series.
Panagiotis Zeniou, aka TNG_Zeniou of Team #NoGrip, finished in second, the Cypriot driver building upon his 2021 WRC Esports World Final appearance.
Lebanese star Sami-Joe finished in third, a driver who won the 2020 WRC Esports championship, finished second in 2021 and managed to win 12 out of 13 qualifying rounds last season. He returns this year as an independent entry.
Last season’s champion, Lohan Blanc, aka Nexl, finished in fourth as the top Race Clutch entry just ahead of Williams Esports’ Marco Bottinelli.
The top six was rounded out by Izasmusing, who has written a guide on sim rally driving for Traxion. Surprisingly, Dylan Noël, who finished third overall last year, was down in 18th.
A record 23 racing esports teams entered for the year ahead, but of course, each round is open to anyone with WRC 10 on PC, PlayStation or Xbox so the opportunity is there for anyone to beat the professionals.
You can practice stages outside of the Esports game mode as many times as you like, but once you enter, you only have five attempts to set your best time.
The next round is open between 18th and 21st February 2022 within the game across the Swedish routes and your 10 best scores across the season will count towards the over standings.
WRC Esports 2022, Round 1, results
- eR Kazunokota
- RC LDLC OL Nexl
- Wil Botti Jr
- RC Izamusing
- RC Kriim