Dorian Deslandes was an 11th-hour addition to the high-quality FIA RX2e Championship field at Lohéac last weekend (3-5 September), but the teenage French prodigy starred from the outset on his maiden appearance in the all-electric single-make series, stunning his more experienced rivals to win the first two qualifiers and top the intermediate classification.
From there, Deslandes produced a peerless performance in both the semi-final and final, converting pole position into victory on both occasions to cement a stunning success on his four wheel-drive debut – defeating a number of former World Championship stars in the process.
Two of them joined the 18-year-old on the podium. On his return to the paddock, Reinis Nitišs – the youngest World RX event-winner in history – went from strength-to-strength over the course of the weekend, leading the way in Q3 and ultimately going on to overhaul championship leader Guillaume De Ridder in the final for the runner-up spoils. The Belgian’s chief title rival Jesse Kallio finished fourth, ahead of American Conner Martell and Sweden’s Isak Sjökvist.
Cyril Raymond – who clinched the RX2 Series crown at Lohéac in 2017 – similarly showed sufficient speed to reach the final on his RX2e bow, but several wheel-banging duels at the semi-final stage saw him narrowly miss out.
“I’m dreaming – what an amazing weekend it has been, right from the start,” reflected an emotional Deslandes. “I only drove the RX2e car for the first time during free practice on Friday. To win at home like this, in front of so many fans, I honestly have no words – it’s a dream come true and I could never even have hoped for this kind of result. It’s just crazy.
“Thank you to everyone for such an incredible opportunity, particularly my good friend and coach Cyril [Raymond]. I’m only sad that he couldn’t join me in the final. He’s taught me so much and this win is for him as well.”