The FIA’s work is done. Rally Star has served its purpose. The next Tommi Mäkinen has been found.
Virtually flying Finn Tommi Mäkinen (the second) won the latest Rally At Home Challenge last week.
Having gone through the first 12 rounds of the RallyAtHome challenges, a further five have been added. Determined to bring talent from across the globe, the FIA has widened the brief for its Rally Star.
Those first 12 RallyAtHome Challenges – which feature home-based competition across a secret stage on the official WRC9 game – have all been won by a European gamer. Keen to see drivers from outside Europe progressing to the continental finals, FIA Rally Star project leader Jérôme Roussel instigated change to bring in competitors from the North America, South America, Middle East and North Africa, Africa and Asia Pacific regions.
The tweak to the regulations means the fastest driver from each of the six regions will qualify, providing they are classified in the top 100 fastest times.
The first of those five further RallyAtHome challenges finished on Sunday with European success for Mäkinen. He was joined by South African Ryan Berrington-Smith, Nicolas Orihuela (Peru), Dror Gal (Israel), Australia’s Sam Thornton and Mexico’s Juan Octavio Garcia Velazquez.
Roussel said: “We have been overwhelmed by the interest in RallyAtHome Challenge – it’s been incredible and we have 12 very strong winners. But FIA Rally Star is a global talent search and, clearly, we want candidates encouraged, competing and potentially winning from all regions – this is why the decision has been taken to make this small change to the rules.
“We have seen some really strong competition coming from all around the world and I’m sure the next five challenges will deliver drivers from all four corners of the earth to their respective FIA Rally Star continental finals early next year.
“It’s an exciting development and one we hope all drivers will take full advantage of.
“And yes, of course, it’s exciting to see we have already found the next Tommi Mäkinen!”
The remaining RallyAtHome Challenges are October 16-24, November 13-21, December 4-12 and December 18-26.
For details of how to get involved, head to fiarallystar.com.