After 3 exciting qualifying finals it comes down to semi-finals to select the 6 rallycross Grand Finalists. Using the same format as the qualifying rounds, 3 races will set the grid for the final where the top two will earn a place in the final. With some returning names from Season 1 as well as newbies to the grid, they were all keen to have an opportunity at the Grand Final.
The dry and dusty Killarney track in South Africa is what Xbox players were faced with. The challenging track with the fast final sector joker merge always provides action and it’s great to see the track featured in the competition.
The all French Xbox line up had started steady with the first race finishing in the order they started, all finding their feet and keen to get some solid points in. The second qualifying race had more action with turn 1 contact aplenty, and it was Enzo Noel Deslandes who put the best runs together scoring victory in Q2 and Q3 to start the final from pole.
The final started off terribly for Maxence Cosneau, seemingly turned around on the run to turn 1, but after checking competitor replays was put down to a connection problem. Leading the pack both Enzo and Lopez Ludovic dived to the joker, Enzo able to make the move around the right hander and take the position. But the smiles would not last long as on his own Enzo clipped the tyre barrier on the main straight chicane sending the car hard into the armco; his race supposedly over he quit after only 1 lap.
Amongst the carnage, Dorian Baptiste and Jeffery Page were left out front battling together, and it was Baptiste who pulled the trigger first taking the joker on lap 2. That gave Page the opportunity to push in clean air and build a gap.
After another crash and being lapped, Cosneau called it a day leaving a 3 car battle to the finish. By lap 4 Page had a 2.5 second buffer to Baptiste and a further 3 seconds to Ludovic.
Positions looked set going onto the last lap, however, Baptiste coming through the notorious main straight chicane touched the outside tyre barrier throwing his Mégane into a high-speed spin. Somehow he held on and had just enough of a gap to hold of Ludovic to the end, finishing just behind fellow finalist Page.
|1*||XBOX||AKRX jeff27||Jeffrey Page||French|
|3||XBOX||El Tioto||Lopez Ludovic||French|
|4||XBOX||VRX PRIMITY||Maxence Cosneau||French|
|5||XBOX||SenzoO113||Enzo Noel Deslandes||French|
For the first time in the competition, the drivers were challenged with the Estering circuit in Germany. The circuit hosted the German round of the World Rallycross Championship from 2014-2020 and saw more thrilling action from the Steam players.
The 3 qualifying races were typical of Estering. The infamous turn 1 shuffling the pack straight of the start line, and the tight and twisty joker often left to the last lap with a short run to the line. It was the Season 1 Champion Killian Dall’Olmo who set the qualifying pace, winning 2 races and 3rd in the final race awarding him pole for the final race. His nearest rivals Louis Lejeune and Lukáš Matěja would like up alongside.
Inevitably turn 1 for the final had all the competitors sideways in the rain, but it was Matěja who managed to straighten up the quickest on the inside had the slingshot onto the back straight. It was Killian Dall’Olmo who lost out the most going 3-wide down the straight he was trapped in between Lejeune on the left and Matěja on the left.
Aiming for the undercut Lejeune dived for the joker with Sulyvann Pelletier, but they both came out just behind Michael Karjalainen. This hurt Lejeune who couldn’t exploit his full pace, and on the next pass when Killian Jokered he came out a number of car laps behind.
It was now all down to Matěja to hold off the gaining pack. It did not take long for Killian to get on the tail, and by the last lap Lejeune had also joined the party, all 3 going bumper to bumper for the last time around. With nerves of steel, Matěja waited for the last possible opportunity to joker, but an incredible sequence of corners saw him cross the line still ahead of second place man Killian; both make it through to the Grand Final.
|2*||Steam||Killian DALL’OLMO||Killian Dall’olmo||French|
And so it came down to the PlayStation competitors to finish of a brilliant semi-final show and confirm the last two players through to the Grand Final. In dry conditions, they tackled the short and punchy Bikernieki track in Latvia.
After 3 super-competitive qualifying races, it was Quentin Dall’Olmo who came out on top with 2 wins, after what was arguable the move of the season in race 3, swooping round the outside from P5 into turn 1, coming out in 1st.
The final kicked off with a chaotic turn 1 with 3 of the cars speeding in far too deep and bouncing of the tyre barrier. But it was turn 3 which stung Geoffrey Bourlier after, what initially looked like, being pushed by Alexandre Hus. The incident would be investigated thoroughly by the stewards post- race with multiple onboards reviewed, but no further action was deemed necessary.
Later on lap 1 Dorian Martin attempted a move on Hus into turn 5 but caught himself on the barrier throwing the car into a half spin and losing time. It was Hus who decided to throw the dice on lap 1 and take the Joker lap early, in an attempt to mix it up with Dall’Olmo and Limou when they joker too.
Sensing the threat, Limou reacted immediately and Jokered on lap 2, coming out in front of Hus but not by much. This left Dall’Olmo in clean air and the opportunity to build the gap. And so he did, making up 3 seconds before he dived for the Joker on lap 5. However, it was the move for second on lap 5 which was the decided. Sensing there was a gap on the last corner, Hus snuck his Mégane’s nose down the inside, surprising Limou, and managed to make it stick into turn 1 being on the inside.
It was a fantastic move by Hus and ultimately secured his ticket to the Grand Final in 2nd place. He joins the winner Quentin Dall’Olmo who makes it two Dall’Olmo brothers in the final, competing against his brother Killian.
It has been a typical Rallycross competition with fierce and frantic racing from the beginning, and for now, the players will be focussing their efforts on the Grand Final in February. The event will take place exclusively on PC with a bespoke build to allow all 6 competitors to compete together. More details on the tracks and format will be revealed soon.