Jonathan Pailler won on his World Rallycross Esports debut as wet conditions caused chaos at Höljes.
The French rallycross racer steered clear of two major incidents to win ahead of real-life World RX champion Timmy Hansen.
Hell winner Tom Blomqvist started the rainy final from pole after topping qualifying and winning his semi-final. But then a collision early in the final between Blomqvist, Timmy and Kevin Hansen and Sievert Svardal gave Pailler the perfect opportunity to get his joker lap out of the way swiftly.
Timmy Hansen emerged with the race lead ahead of Svardal, but Pailler was right on the pair, ready to pounce when both eventually took the longer route.
Svardal took his joker on the third lap then Hansen did so on lap four, letting Pailler back to the front.
After emerging from the joker Svardal then applied pressure on Hansen, getting by him for second place at the final corner on the fourth lap, though Hansen immediately fought back. The battle would then set off a chain reaction that would again result in most of the field being collected.
Going into lap five Kevin Hansen joined the Svardal and Timmy Hansen battle for second place. But then the trio had a coming together, and were joined in it by the recovering Blomqvist – who had spent much of the race at the back after the lap one shunt.
The incident caused both Hansen brothers to stop on track, Timmy having hit a wall head on, while Blomqvist scraped through to briefly move up to second.
The mess played perfectly into leader Pailler’s hands who, by the race’s end, had an advantage of 4.2 seconds over runner-up Blomqvist. Blomqvist was however hit with a 10s penalty post race for corner cutting as a result of the two major incidents. This handed second to Timmy Hansen who finished nearly 9s adrift of Pailler.
Kevin Hansen recovered to place third, ahead of Blomqvist, while Svardal rounded out the five-car field.
Going into the final round in South Africa, Timmy Hansen now holds a nine-point lead over Blomqvist, while Kevin Hansen sits in third, just three points adrift of second.
After missing this round due to real-world commitments, early series leader Shane van Gisbergen has now dropped to fourth overall and is now all-but out of the running for the overall series.
Henrik Krogstad currently rounds out the top five in the series points. In Höljes he missed the final for the first time in the series after a dramatic roll in Q1. Then a further incident at the start of his semi-final put an end to his hopes of a third-straight final appearance.
In the Esports final Quentin Dall’olmo won for the second time in the series ahead of brother Killian Dall’olmo.
Quentin Dall’olmo made a poor start in the final, along with fellow Esports frontrunner Lukáš Mateja, but both, along with Killian Dall’olmo opted to take their joker lap straight away.
That allowed John Harris to build a lead out front, but second-place runner Daniel Johansson wasn’t so clear ahead and immediately fell into the clutches of the three joker-delayed drivers.
By the time Harris took the joker on lap three of the six-lap race, he fell only to third behind the Dall’olmo brothers, where he would remain.
Johansson finished fourth while, unlike the Dall’olmo brothers, Mateja couldn’t make the most of an early joker, eventually finishing in fifth.