After two completely unpredictable opening rounds to the season, the iRacing Rallycross World Championship presented by Yokohama rolls into Atlanta Motor Speedway, the site of last year’s season opener, with no clear-cut championship favorite yet in sight. Add in another round of All-Star Invitational action with a few new faces on the grid, and there’s plenty to watch for this weekend:
ALL-STAR INVITATIONAL PREVIEW: Sage Karam comes into the second round of the iRX All-Star Invitational presented by Yokohama coming off a win in Daytona, where he coasted to victory ahead of fellow series front-runners Mason Filippi and Conner Martell. Stars like Scott Speed, Travis Pastrana, Bucky Lasek, and Ed Carpenter will make their return, while Championship Off-Road standout Andrew Carlson, WRC veteran Kristian Sohlberg, and four-time Chili Bowl winner Kevin Swindell are among the new names on this week’s tentative entry list.
Drivers expected to compete in Saturday’s All-Star Invitational include the following:
|00||Steve Arpin||Loenbro Motorsports||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|09||Michael Leach||Loenbro Motorsports||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|15||Andrew Carlson||Carlson Motorsports||Subaru WRX STI|
|16||Kristian Sohlberg||Casino Friday||Subaru WRX STI|
|20||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Subaru WRX STI|
|21||Conner Martell||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/VSC||Subaru WRX STI|
|22||Blake “Bilko” Williams||Team Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|23||Tyler Menninga||Heatwave||Subaru WRX STI|
|24||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Subaru WRX STI|
|25||Arie Luyendyk Jr.||Ed Carpenter Racing||Volkswagen Beetle|
|37||Mario Bonfante Jr.||Marwin Sports||Subaru WRX STI|
|39||Kevin Swindell||Swindell Speedlab||Volkswagen Beetle|
|41||Scott Speed||Subaru Motorsports USA||Subaru WRX STI|
|55||Chris Atkinson||Team Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|55||Lane Vacala||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|64||Tim Stevens||Roadshow Autos||Subaru WRX STI|
|81||Bucky Lasek||Rockstar Energy/Yokohama||Subaru WRX STI|
|199||Travis Pastrana||Subaru Motorsports USA||Subaru WRX STI|
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Jonne Ollikainen avenged a disappointing start to his rookie iRX World Championship presented by Yokohama campaign at Hell Lankebanen by dominating last week at Daytona, but it’s Team Yokohama’s Jon Robertson who leads the championship coming into Atlanta by virtue of a pair of podiums. Between a new points structure and only two drivers making both of the first two finals of the year—and neither Sami-Matti Trogen nor Mitchell deJong, the series’ first two champions, on that list—where the season goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Last year’s season opener was on the long Atlanta layout, where Trogen established himself as a championship threat with a victory in his series debut over deJong and Tommi Hallman. Trogen also clinched the title in the finale from the short Atlanta layout by finishing second in last year’s finale, with deJong taking the win and Josh Fox in third.
YOKOHAMA POLE AWARD: Ollikainen kicked off a sweep of last week’s contingency awards by posting the top time in Daytona qualifying, scoring the Yokohama Pole Award by more than a tenth of a second over Rasmus Tuominen. The driver who scores the most poles over the course of the season earns a custom trophy presented by Yokohama Tire.
DIRTFISH ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Ollikainen’s victory also enabled him to take the DirtFish Rookie of the Year points lead from Hell Lankebanen winner Ilari Lamminsivu of CR22 Motorsports. Half of the top 10 drivers in the championship standings are eligible for the award, led by Ollikainen in second and Lamminsivu in fifth. Lamminsivu’s teammate Tommi Makinen sits seventh, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Jake Robertson is ninth, while Andretti Autosport’s Beau Albert completed the top 10. The DirtFish Rookie of the Year Award will go to the top point-scorer over the course of the season, and includes a free three-day course at DirtFish Rally School.
MARWIN SPORTS: Andretti Autosport’s Vicente Salas and Team Yokohama’s Yohann Harth won the Marwin Sports Last Chance Qualifiers at Daytona, while Ollikainen earned a race winner’s prize pack from Marwin Sports by virtue of taking the checkered flag.
iRX All-Star Invitational and World Championship presented by Yokohama action kicks off on Saturday, October 17 at 1PM ET (17:00 GMT) on the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages, as well as across a number of industry and competitor Facebook pages. A Finnish-language simulcast will air on YLE Areena and YLE E-urheilu.
Images via Dane Baird