FIA Motorsport Games action kicks off with rallying and Esports


Qualifying stages for a trio of rally categories, Rally2, Rally4 and Historic Rally, kicked off the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games on Thursday at Circuit Paul Ricard

Team Italy got to a strong start in the early running at the French circuit, topping the timing screens in two categories in sessions that determine the running order for the actual competition.

Roberto Dapra and Luca Guglielmetti topped the qualifying Special Stage for Rally4 competitors. The Peugeot 208 duo only narrowly got the better of Team Turkey’s Ford Fiesta of Ali Turkkan and Ahmet Burak Erdener, who were 0.394s off the leaders. Just 0.7s covered the top three, with Team Spain’s Oscar Palomo Ortiz and Rodrigo Sanjuan (Peugeot 208) in third.

Italy also headed the way in the Historic Rally throughout the afternoon thanks to scorching speed from Andrea ‘Zippo’ Vivian in his mighty Audi Quattro, which left the Italians 7.9s in the lead. Second best were Czech Republic’s Vojtěch Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka in an Opel Kadett Coupe.

Rally2, for the most powerful rally cars taking part in the event, was also the closest of the rally categories, with less than four seconds covering the top five.

Team Estonia led the Special Stage with a sterling effort by Georg Linnamäe and James Michael Morgan in their Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 to pip Team Türkiye and the Skoda Fabia pairing of Orhan Avcioglu and Burcin Korkmaz by 0.889s.

Team Spain was a close third as José María “Pepe” López and Borja Rozada were just over a second adrift in their Hyundai i20 to make it three different cars in the top three.

Local ace Mathieu Arzeno, sharing a Skoda Fabio Evo with co-driver Romain Roche, ended up down in 11th owing to a 10s penalty for touching a chicane.

Rally competitors will be back in action on Friday, with Team Estonia first on the road, followed by Team Türkiye and Team Spain.

Sim racers competing in the hotly contested Fanatec Esports Cup, featuring a 55-strong entry, also had their first flavor of competition today. Igor Rodrigues of Brazil topped the qualifying session, with Netherland’s Chris Harteveld and UK’s James Baldwin rounding out the top three.

Competitors in the Auto Slalom also got their first taste of competition today with the sessions carrying into Friday.

2022 FIA Motorsport Games – Day 1 gallery