Both the 2021 and 2020 finals of the eSports WRC series are set to take place over the next six weeks, with official rounds of the 2021 World Rally Championship playing host.
As with so many other things last year, the 2020 live final was postponed from its original date in October 2020, but it now has a new date and location. The ten finalists will head to Ypres in Belgium on August 14 for a live final at the Ypres Rally Belgium round of WRC.
It’s been a very long time since the finalists were decided, over the course of the 2020 eSports WRC season. However, it’s Lebanon’s Sami-Joe Abi Nakhle who heads into the final as the favorite having topped the leaderboards. He was only just ahead of defending champion Lohan Blanc, who won the title in both 2017 and 2019, with John Bebnowicz-Harris in third.
That will quickly be followed by the 2021 live final. The 2021 season is still ongoing, so the leaderboard is subject to change, but five of the eight places are already decided.
Once again, it’s Sami-Joe atop the leaderboard, having won ten consecutive rounds of the championship, with Blanc in second.
The final will take place on September 8 in the Athens Olympic Velodrome, at and during the recently reinstated Acropolis Rally Greece. There’s also a slight twist here in that the event is just under a week after the launch of WRC10, and the finals will use the new title rather than WRC9.
There is a rather spectacular prize on offer too. With Toyota acting as the lead sponsor of the championship, the winner of each title will take home a Toyota GR Yaris.
Toyota created the GR Yaris as a homologation special for its WRC entry. WRC requires manufacturers to base their rally cars on a road car which has sold at least 2,500 units, so Toyota and Gazoo Racing — the motorsports arm of the brand — had been campaigning a car based on the regular Yaris hatchback. Successfully too, as the car won three championships in three seasons.
However the car was a compromise, and Toyota wanted a more capable machine to use as a basis. With the knowledge it had gained from campaigning the regular Yaris, Toyota came up with the GR Yaris as a car it could both sell as a performance road car to satisfy homologation requirements and convert into a potent WRC vehicle.
Sadly, it looks as if the GR Yaris might never see rally competition, as postponements have washed out the seasons it was supposed to race, and a change of rules to require hybrid cars from 2022 means it has nowhere to race. However the 257hp, AWD road car works perfectly well and is very highly rated across the industry.
There’s no word yet on whether the events will be available on any streaming platforms, but we’ll bring you any scheduling information when we have it.