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Eleven of the World Rally Championship’s best young drivers will fight for virtual rally glory when they face off in an eSports WRC Shootout starting tomorrow. The future stars from the championship’s talent-packed support series will #RaceAtHome in the three-night speedfest on WRC 8, the official video game of the WRC. Competitors from WRC 2, WRC 3 and the FIA Junior WRC will be pitted against each other on a selection of demanding gravel special stages from Rally Argentina. The real-life South American event was due to take place next week before being postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The cast is headlined by 2019 WRC 2 Pro champion Pierre-Louis Loubet, and current season WRC 2 manufacturer team drivers Adrien Fourmaux, Ole Christian Veiby and Rhys Yates. Also invited to compete are WRC 3 joint leader Marco Bulacia, fellow teenage star Oliver Solberg and Junior WRC challenger Raul Badiu. The 11 drivers firstly face a qualifying round. The fastest eight go forward to the quarter-final head-to-head shootout in the classic El Condór stage. The four duels will be streamed on the WRC Facebook page at 21.00 CET on Tuesday (April 21). The winners move into the semi-finals, to be decided on the famous Parque Tematico theme park stage on the edge of Villa Carlos Paz and streamed at 21.00 CET on Wednesday (April 22). The final will be fought out over two stages, returning to El Condór and also featuring Cuchilla Nevada. It is scheduled for the same time on Thursday (April 23). The eSports WRC Shootout follows last weekend’s successful Junior WRC trial event, which attracted tens of thousands of fans from across the world who followed the exciting action on Facebook. WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the eSports WRC Shootout was a great way to entertain fans and keep competitors in trim. “While the WRC is paused as the Coronavirus outbreak continues, we’ve turned the spotlight on the championship’s stars of the future for the eSports WRC Shootout,” he explained.

Great Britain's Rhys Yates is one of the young guns taking part.

“Of course, our drivers are missing real-life competition, we all are. But I’ve no doubt their competitive spirits and adrenaline will surge as much as ever behind the WRC 8 wheel on Rally Argentina’s tricky stages. “Virtual driving is a fast-growing part of motorsport and this shootout sits alongside our popular eSports WRC Championship, which continues through the WRC hiatus. I hope our fans will enjoy watching the Shootout from home before competing themselves in our eSports Championship.” The full list of invited entrants for the eSports WRC Shootout is: Raul Badiu (Romania): Lies fifth in the FIA Junior WRC after the opening round in Sweden. Won last weekend’s Junior WRC eSports trial event. Marco Bulacia (Bolivia): Joint leader of WRC 3 after winning the category at last month’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico. Elia de Guio (Italy): The only co-driver in the event and partner to Junior WRC challenger Enrico Oldrati. Second in the Junior WRC eSports trial. Adrien Fourmaux (France): Touted as a future WRC star after winning France’s renowned Rallye Jeunes talent-spotting scheme. Drives for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2. Pierre-Louis Loubet (France): Won WRC 2 Pro in 2019 and will step up to the headline World Rally Car category when the WRC resumes. Catie Munnings (Great Britain): Former children’s TV presenter and ex-European ladies rally champion. Now competing in the Junior WRC. Roland Poom (Estonia): Twice a Junior WRC podium finisher in 2019 and stepped up to WRC 3 in 2020. Yohan Rossel (France): French asphalt champion who competes in WRC 3 with support from Citroën Racing. Oliver Solberg (Sweden): Teenager competing in WRC 3 after becoming the youngest rally winner in European Championship history in 2019. Ole Christian Veiby (Norway): Represents Hyundai Motorsport N in WRC 2 and boasts plenty of experience in the WRC’s support categories. Rhys Yates (Great Britain): Switched from two wheels to four and lifted the English Championship in 2015. Drives for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2. The fifth round of the hugely popular eSports WRC Championship will also take place next week on Argentina’s speed tests. Scheduled on 23 - 26 April, this event is open to all players of the WRC 8 game. Watch the stages on the WRC Facebook page HERE.
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