Dorian Deslandes took the rallycross world by storm at Lohéac last weekend (3-5 September) in racing to victory on his debut in the FIA RX2e Championship, but if some were left wondering just where this teenage prodigy had come from, one man was not in the least bit surprised by such a sensational performance.
Deslandes arrived in RX2e with a strong pedigree in karting, rallycross and rallying in his native France – making history as the youngest driver ever to win a round of the French Rallycross Championship two years ago – but Lohéac was very much about the present rather than the past, as he made his first appearance not only in electric competition but also in four wheel-drive machinery.
To add to the challenge, the RX2e field at Lohéac included opposition of the calibre of World RX event-winner Reinis Nitišs, former World Championship drivers Cyril Raymond and Guillaume De Ridder, ‘Flying Finn’ Jesse Kallio and rising American star Conner Martell. Deslandes beat them all.
Fastest from the outset in Q1, the 18-year-old Cherbourg-born ace proved that his form was no flash in the pan by repeating the feat in Q2, going on to secure the top spot in the intermediate classification. From there, he confidently fended off Nitišs in both his semi-final and the final, celebrating on the roof of his car after taking the chequered flag first to cap a spectacular weekend.
The result brought tears of joy to the face of his mentor Raymond, no stranger himself to the adulation of Lohéac’s faithful French fans after clinching the RX2 Series crown at the track in 2017 and triumphing there again in Euro RX a year later.
“I love Dorian – he’s like my little brother,” acknowledged Raymond. “When I started out in rallycross, he was nine-years-old and his dad taught me. Now I’m teaching Dorian – maybe too much! I’m so happy to have been able to drive alongside him here. He’s the future. Remember this name – Dorian Deslandes.”
“What an amazing weekend!” echoed the event-winner. “It’s just a dream. It’s not easy to race at home, or to keep these guys [Nitišs and De Ridder] behind me, but I stayed strong in my head and got the job done. I was very disappointed not to be able to share the final with my friend Cyril, but overall I’m so, so happy. I want to thank all the FIA RX2e team and Olsbergs MSE for this amazing opportunity.”
Remember this name indeed. The past is in the past, the present has hinted at his potential. The future is Dorian Deslandes.