Friday | 07 Aug 2020

Neste Rally Finland eChallenge: Everything you need to know

History will be created in Jyväskylä, Finland this weekend when, for the first time ever, WRC drivers will come up against the best protagonists of the online version of the World Rally Championship in official competition. 

With real rallying off the cards this weekend in Jyväskylä due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, rally organisers, the AKK, have come up with a novel solution which will guarantee some rallying will still take place – the Neste Rally Finland eChallenge. Here is a rundown of how Saturday’s event will unfold.

What is the Neste Rally Finland eChallenge?
The Neste Rally Finland eChallenge pits real-world rally drivers against four of Finland’s leading eSports WRC drivers, on WRC the Game.

Format
Drivers will be separated into three semi-final heats, each consisting of two stages. Combining the times from the two stages, the two fastest drivers from each heat will qualify for the final. The final will require drivers to set the quickest time over three stages, in order to be crowned Neste Rally Finland eChallenge champion. Additionally, the champion will earn a wildcard ticket to the eSports WRC Grand Final.

Who is competing?
From the real world of rallying, WRC drivers Takamoto Katsuta, Esapekka Lappi, Kalle Rovanperä and Teemu Suninen will be joined by WRC 3 driver Roland Poom and FIA Junior WRC drivers Lauri Joona and Sami Pajari. Also competing, with a foot set firmly in both the real and online rallying worlds, is Finnish youngster Sami-Matti Trogen, as well as AKK 'wildcard' Aleksi Lampi.

Representing the online community is Mika “Mihalo” Laitenen, Jukka “jhtl85” Lehtinen, Marko “staatinen_fi” Räisänen and Teemu “FledTeme” Rantanen. Mihalo, jhtl85 and staatinen_fi will in particular be no strangers to eSports WRC fans, having all last season competed in the eSports WRC Grand Final.

Where can I watch?
The third semi-final heat, which will consist of the four WRC drivers and Roland Poom, as well as the final, will be streamed live on facebook.com/WRC beginning at 18:00 CET, as well as on YLE for those tuning in from Finland (19:00 local time).

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