WRC - Nexl wins 2021 eSports WRC world final in Greece | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Nexl wins 2021 eSports WRC world final in Greece

09.09.21

Lohan ‘Nexl’ Blanc created history in Greece on Wednesday evening, claiming his third eSports WRC world championship title and earning the keys to a Toyota GR Yaris road car for his efforts.

The 2021 title comes on the back of his 2017 and 2019 final victories, making him the first player to win three titles. The 22-year-old Frenchman won by 13.231sec over 2020 champion Sami-Joe Abi-Nakhle, while Dylan Noel finished third on the podium for a second consecutive year.

Eight finalists arrived at Wednesday’s final in the Athens Olympic Velodrome via 13 regular season rounds which attracted more than 15,000 gamers. They were joined by Greek wildcard – Zeniou_04 – who won the Greek Championship earlier in the day.

Following two qualification sessions, the  nine were cut to four for the televised final, which consisted of four stages played out on the all-new WRC 10 – Elva Reverse from Estonia, a throwback to Acropolis Rally in 1987, Querol Reverse from Rally RACC - Rally de España and Kostanjevac Reverse from Croatia Rally.

Regular season MVP Abi Nakhle was the hot favourite to take home a second consecutive title but it was Nexl who was applying the early pressure, taking out the first two stages, with Abi Nakhle looking visibly rattled. But the Lebanon-native settled into his work on Querol Reverse, bringing the gap back to an incredible 0.396sec ahead of the deciding stage.

However, a big crash at the beginning of Kostanjevac Reverse saw him lose more than 20sec to Nexl and despite closing the gap as rain began to fall in the closing sections of the stage, the time lost proved too much to catch up.

“Like always, it is really cool,” expressed Nexl on winning his third title. “It was my objective to take revenge from a few weeks ago, so I am happy,” he continued, making reference to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic-delayed final, which took place in Ypres, Belgium, in August.

By finishing second, Abi Nakhle earned himself a simulator provided by WRC’s eSports partners - Fanatec, Playseat and BenQ/Mobiuz - while a TW Steel watch was awarded to the third-placed Noel.

The eSports WRC final was a pre-cursor to the real-life EKO Acropolis Rally Greece, round nine of the FIA World Rally Championship, which begins in Athens on Thursday afternoon.