The start of the 2020 RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires might have been delayed by the developing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, but fans will still be able to enjoy their fix of high-octane entertainment this weekend, as Henrik Krogstad and Oliver Eriksson go wheel-to-wheel with some of the biggest names in the sport in the inaugural World RX ESports Invitational Series event.
A joint initiative between World Rallycross Championship promoter IMG, racing game developer Codemasters and ESports specialist Motorsport Games, the one-off World RX ESports Invitational Series is set to rev into life this Sunday (19 April) using DiRT Rally 2.0 on PC via Steam and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in lieu of the season-curtain raiser that had been due to take place at the Spanish track.
In addition to two-time RX2 Champion Eriksson and series returnee Krogstad, the ‘Catalunya Edition’ will pit World RX superstars Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy and Kevin Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud and Timo Scheider against high-profile guest entries from other motorsport disciplines – including current FIA World Endurance Championship LMGTE Pro pace-setter and former Le Mans 24 Hours class-winner Nicki Thiim – as well as leading online racers, chief amongst whom will be reigning DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Champion, Killian Dall’Olmo.
Eriksson proved himself to be the class of the field in RX2 over the past two seasons, tallying eight victories and ten podium finishes from 14 starts for Olsbergs MSE on his way to back-to-back title successes – but the Swede is well aware that this weekend will throw up an altogether different kind of challenge.
“It’ll be good to go racing again, and whilst it’s obviously not in real life, this is definitely the next best thing!” the 21-year-old enthused. “I’m lacking a bit of seat time in the sim because I’ve been so busy working, but when I get the opportunity, I do as much as I can for training or just for fun. I certainly won’t be the most experienced sim racer on the grid on Sunday, but I’ll do my best and I’m sure it’ll be a blast!
“Saying that, we’re all naturally competitive people and we’re all going to want to win – at the end of the day, a race is still a race – and there’s no question that it’s a really tough field. I’ll try to get some more practice in before the weekend so I’m as prepared as I can be…”
Krogstad stunned during his maiden full campaign in the official World RX feeder series in 2018 as he reached the rostrum on three separate occasions and placed third in the final standings. He has also demonstrated his skills in the virtual sphere, recently ranking as high as second in the world in iRacing RX.
“I only bought my simulator a few months ago, which turned out to be perfect timing given the delay to the season!” joked the Norwegian, who will return to the track with #YellowSquad in 2020 following a year away from the cockpit.
“I’ve done a lot of iRacing since then, but DiRT is very different so I will need to adapt to that and I’ve been practising as much as I can. I’ve also obviously not driven the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for real so I’m on the back foot slightly there compared to some of the other guys – although overall, I think the regular sim racers will be the ones we all need to beat.
“I’m not going into the event with any set goals or expectations, so we’ll see where we sit after Q1. What I do anticipate is a lot of sideways action and entertainment, and one thing is for sure – having waited so long to compete again, I am so ready to go racing right now!”
The inaugural World RX ESports Invitational Series ‘Catalunya Edition’ showpiece will be livestreamed on both the RX2 and World RX Facebook pages as well as on Motorsport.TV this Sunday (19 April), beginning at 15h00 CET.