Thursday 2nd of April 2020

The inaugural World RX Esports invitational series will begin on Sunday April 19 with the Barcelona RX Esports Invitational.

The event will be played out on the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit using Codemasters’ Dirt 2.0, the official game of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, a venue which has hosted drama-filled World RX events since 2015.

In this World RX Thursday Throwback, we look throw back to Barcelona RX in 2018. Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom, Norway’s Petter Solberg and Sweden’s Timmy Hansen took the quickest times in qualifying, and fastest in Q2 and Q3 it was PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Solberg who took the TQ (top qualifier) position in the Intermediate Classification.

Timmy Hansen was P2, but as Hansen finished P6 in semi-final one with a technical problem from the lead, Solberg won semi-final one and started on pole for the final.

It was in the final where things really got spicy. Semi-final two winner Ekstrom started next to Solberg on row one of the grid, and in the run to turn one, Ekstrom shut the door on Solberg, forcing the Volkswagen driver into the tyre wall on the inside head-on.

Ekstrom took the lead with Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson surviving contact from France’s Sebastien Loeb’s Peugeot 208 in the braking zone for turn one to lie second. Loeb had only made it into the semi-finals after Peugeot withdrew Kevin Hansen from P12 in the Intermediate Classicisation and he took his joker on lap one from P4. He would overtake Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud during the race with that joker tactic.

When all the joker laps had played out, Ekstrom took the win on the track in front of Kristoffersson and Loeb on the podium, but the EKS Audi driver was later disqualified from the final for the first corner incident with Solberg, giving Kristoffersson the win. Loeb was second, Bakkerud third and Finland’s Niclas Gronholm took a career best result up to that point with the GRX Taneco team.

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