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Joona Pankkonen wins the Volkswagen R DiRT World Championships

Joona Pankkonen wins the Volkswagen R DiRT World Championships

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The first ever Volkswagen R DiRT World Championships was hosted at the world famous Silverstone F1 Circuit in England.

Six of the best DiRT 4 racers of the world entered the competition after qualifying for the LIVE finals, out of 20,000 participants.

They were: Nicholas Steere (from South Africa), Robin Sieren (Germany), Anders Robin Jonsson (Sweden), Quentin Dall’omo (France), Alejandro Aroca Garcia (Spain) and Joona Pankkonen (Finland).

The players would earn points based in the position they would cross the finish line in each of the races; 1st place (earning 6 points), 2nd (5 points), 3rd (4 points) all the way until the 6th place (1 point).

Four dangerous tracks where selected to test the finalist skills; Snowy Sweden, Hell in Norway, Australia (at night) and Loheac, in France.

Joona Pankkonen was a heavy favourite to win the championship title since the very beginning, but that doesn’t mean he had an easy road to the top and an accident in the final race almost cost him the championship.

Let’s look back at how the action played out...

 

 

The Races

 

First race of the day was in Sweden, where snowy conditions made driving difficult. Finish player Joona kept his composure since the beginning and the pressure at bay, showing why he was the top player at the first track.

Joona took the lead in the table and was closely followed by Jonsson and Garcia, who would prove to be his toughest competition throughout the day.

In the second race, the competitors went to Hell. Not the hell you are thinking about, but Hell, Norway. Frenchman Dall’olmo managed to take the upper hand in this track and scored the first place, followed closely by Jonsson and Garcia taking once again the second and third. 

Joona scored a fourth spot, which meant he was tied in points now with Swedish player Jonsson in the two first spots of the leaderboard. Both were only one point away from third place Garcia.

Round 3 was in Australia, at night time, increasing even more the difficulty. Pankkonen was able to make the most of the dangerous conditions and finish in first again, followed once more by Jonsson, who scored his third straight second place.

Garcia fell to sixth in this race, which meant now there was clearly a top two and only one point separating them in the leaderboards.

Round four was clearly going to be a battle between Pankkonen and Jonsson, but no one could have predicted what followed next.

 

The Final Race

 

The decisive race took place in Loheac, in France.

Right at the beginning, a collision between the drivers allowed Garcia to take the lead and Pankkonen and Jonsson where left in 5th and 6th place.

The race was filled with contact between the drivers in more than one occasion and it became clear the stewards would have to re-watch the action once the race would be over. It finished with Garcia in first, Dall’omo in second and Pankkonen in third. Unfortunately for Jonsson, he ended up in last and his chances for the title were now over.

It was up to the stewards to review the race and decide who the champion would be. Garcia had also made a great race and was not involved in any accidents. After long minutes of waiting, it was decided that Pankkonen was the champion, as it became clear he was the most consistent racer since the beginning.

He becomes the first ever Volkswagen R DiRT World champ, and besides the trophy also wins the chance to drive an RX2 car in Sweden (even though he never drove in real life before).

Second place was taken by Jonsson and third by Garcia who also proved to be top level racers and high class opponents.

The Volkswagen R DiRT World Championships are finished for now, but with several young racers displaying their skills at this level, the future looks bright.

 

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