Images via Brian Campbell | @aldaw0lf
World Rally Championship veteran Kristian Sohlberg had a successful debut in the iRacing Rallycross All-Star Invitational presented by Yokohama on Saturday, taking the checkered flag in his first race in the series after holding off Subaru Motorsports USA star Scott Speed at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Fellow WRC veteran Chris Atkinson scored third place, setting up a tight championship battle among the leaders as the season continues.
Sohlberg was one of numerous drivers making their season debuts on Saturday, and two others—CNET Roadshow editor Tim Stevens and four-time Chili Bowl winner Kevin Swindell—joined him in the top five of the final. Both Sohlberg and Stevens advanced through the heats, while Swindell used a late Joker Lap in the last chance qualifier to jump into second and knock Championship Off-Road’s Andrew Carlson out of the feature.
A fully inverted final grid gave 20-time X Games medalist Bucky Lasek the inside of the front row after he claimed the final LCQ spot, but contact in the first corner knocked both him and three-time Indianapolis 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter off track. Rallycross up-and-comer Michael Leach inherited the lead through the carnage, but Sohlberg paved the way for much of the field to get past him on the second lap and immediately dove into the Joker Lap after making the pass. Speed got past Leach as well on the main lap and saved his Joker until Lap 7, but made contact with Atkinson on the exit that proved decisive to Sohlberg’s victory.
“There was mayhem in the first corner, and I just tried to find my way through without hitting someone,” Sohlberg explained. “I went second place into the jump and just tried to follow (Leach). He made a small mistake on Lap 2, so I managed to pass him and decided to take the Joker. Then I just tried to go as fast as I could, because I knew Scott would get close after the Joker.”
Results from the iRacing Rallycross All-Star Invitational presented by Yokohama final at Atlanta Motor Speedway were as follows:
|9||1||81||Bucky Lasek||Subaru||9||-1 L||0||46.343||2|
|10||9||23||Tyler Menninga||Subaru||5||-5 L||0||45.983||1|
iRacing Rallycross All-Star Invitational presented by Yokohama driver points are as follows:
- Conner Martell, 38
- Chris Atkinson, 37
- Scott Speed, 36
- Sage Karam, 28
- Tyler Menninga, 25
- Kristian Sohlberg, 23
- Mason Filippi, 21
- Michael Leach, 17
- Tim Stevens, 15
- Kevin Swindell, 14
iRacing Rallycross All-Star Invitational and World Championship action presented by Yokohama resumes on Saturday at Iowa Speedway. The stream kicks off on Saturday, October 24 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.